Kelsea Ballerini, 23, just released the first single off her sophomore album, “Legends,” and if you’re obsessing over it like we are, we have good news — you won’t have to wait long to hear more! “I have the rest of the album almost done,” Kelsea dished to HollywoodLife.com EXCLUSIVELY at Colgate Optic White’s Legendary Night Out with Kelsea Ballerini on June 22. “It’s going to come out in two phases. We’ll have the first phase in August and then the rest of the album later this year. Songwriting is my favorite part of what I do — I wrote, like, 214 songs for this record. I want it to be, like, my story for the last two years, but I had to figure out what that was first. That was the hardest part. Now I’m just finishing my vocals and I’m done. I’m ready!”
It’s been a whirlwind two years for Kelsea, who burst on the scene with her first hit, “Love Me Like You Mean It,” in 2015 and quickly rose to become one of the most powerful women in country music. Along the way, she’s picked up a whole bunch of famous friends, most notably, Taylor Swift, 27, who she’s also named as a career influence. “To have people like Taylor who really blazed the trail for any new artist ever to come into country music…she is the reason it’s happening…to be able to ask her questions and ask her opinion and all that, but also look to her and see how she’s done it and done it so well — she’s just classy,” the 23-year-old gushed. “It’s very important to have those people to look up to. Having role models [in country music] in general is so important, but they’re my friends, too.”
This year, Kelsea’s partnered with Colgate Optic White to help bring smiles to her fans and people everywhere, which is something that’s very important for her. “I always try to make everything I do about empowerment and happiness and joy, and I feel like the best way you can show that is through smiling, obviously,” she explained. “We’re just celebrating happiness.”
Check out the rest of our Q&A here:
How do you always stay happy, upbeat and with a smile on your face when you’re so busy and always on the go? I just can’t believe I get to do this. I think that even when you get tired or worn out or whatever, I have to remind myself that I get to make music and I get to sing it — people know it now. That’s what I’ve always wanted my whole life. So I think just realizing what that is and how rare it is, that’s how I think about it.
Any plans to crossover to pop music after recent collaborations you’ve done at award shows? It’s no secret that I love pop music. I always have and I grew up on it! But I also grew up on a farm in East Tennessee, so I feel like my music really is this blend of pop and country, and we’ve always really embraced that and country radio has embraced that. If it ever spills over I’m not mad about it — I think that’s amazing.
What’s the story behind “Legends”? The song is such a chameleon, which is why we chose it as a single. Two years ago, I wrote this song and I was going through a breakup. I was devastated and heartbroken and I wanted to write a song about not dwelling on the hate and the bitterness that you can have from a breakup. I wanted to look at the relationship fondly, so “Legends” is like me trying to find the good in that relationship. Now, fast forward two years, my life is very different [Kelsea is engaged to Morgan Evans]. I was listening to the song and it’s kind of a love song, and I didn’t write it as that, but now I kind of sing it from the perspective of someone who’s super in love. And it’s a song about my fans! It’s kind of all these different things, but I actually wrote it about heartbreak.
HollywoodLifers, are you excited for Kelsea’s new album?