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Kelsea Ballerini

Kelsea Ballerini

A country-pop singer/songwriter out of Knoxville, Tennessee, Kelsea Ballerini started writing songs when she was 13 years old, learned guitar a year later, and moved to Nashville at 15 to pursue her dream of being a professional singer and songwriter. Four years later, when she was 19, Ballerini signed a publishing deal with Black River Publishing and a recording deal with Black River Entertainment later that same year. A debut single, "Love Me Like You Mean It," appeared from the label in 2014; the song slowly became a big hit, reaching number five on the Billboard country singles charts and number one on its country airplay charts. An eponymous digital EP was released in November 2014, and as word about Ballerini spread, she was named one of 2014's Next Women of Country by CMT and appeared on the Grand Ole Opry for the first time on February 13, 2015.

In May 2015, Black River released Ballerini's first full-length album, The First Time; it debuted at four on Billboard's U.S. country charts and 31 on the Billboard Top 200, eventually going gold. The following year, she was nominated in the Best New Artist category for the 59th Annual Grammy Awards. In June 2017, Ballerini released "Legends," the first single from her sophomore album, Unapologetically, which appeared in November. The LP peaked at number seven on the Billboard 200 chart and later earned her a Grammy nomination for Best Country Album. The following year saw Ballerini issue a deluxe version of the album that added four new tracks, including the single "Fun & Games." In 2019, she guested on Thomas Rhett's single "Center Point Road" and released the track "Homecoming Queen?," which was the lead single from her third LP. Titled Kelsea, the album appeared in March 2020, debuting at number two on Billboard's Country Chart and number 12 on its Top 200. ~ Steve Leggett

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