(February 17, 2023) - Multiple GRAMMY nominee, Country Music Association award winner, author and songwriter/vocalist Kelsea Ballerini is slated to make her Saturday Night Live debut as musical guest on March 4th alongside host Travis Kelce. The announcement comes on the heels of a career-defining week for Ballerini who is fresh off the surprise release of her intimate six-song EP Rolling Up the Welcome Mat (Black River) on February 14th. The EP, along with an accompanying short film written and directed by Ballerini, marks the multi-platinum star’s most intimate and honest work to date. The project became an instant hit with fans and debuted to universal acclaim from everyone from The New York Times to Variety to Rolling Stone and more.
The New York Times praised Ballerini’s newest collection writing, “With her strikingly candid new EP ‘Rolling Up the Welcome Mat,’ the country star Kelsea Ballerini joins the recent ranks of peers like Kacey Musgraves and Adele.” Rolling Stone described the EP as, “Moving and intimate,” while American Songwriter called it “A brutal, beautiful telling of how Ballerini got to where she is now.” Taste of Country noted the work as “some of the most cuttingly honest, specific and true-to-life songwriting that Ballerini has ever released” as Jezebel proclaimed “[I] love it so much that it’s all I can play.”
In addition to the widespread critical acclaim, Rolling Up the Welcome Mat hit #1 all genre on iTunes immediately upon release. The EP also landed a spot on Spotify’s coveted New Music Friday playlist in multiple international territories, and has found itself on billboards, digital playlist covers, and key playlists across Spotify, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, Apple Music, Pandora and TIDAL. In addition, the 20-minute accompanying short-film, written and directed by Ballerini, made its commercial-free broadcast premiere this week on CMT.
Following a sold-out tour of the UK, this March, Kelsea Ballerini will launch the second US leg of her exclusive HEARTFIRST Tour, as her new single “IF YOU GO DOWN (I’M GOIN’ DOWN TOO)” continues to climb at Country radio. She recently announced nine new headline shows will take place across North America. The tour kicks off on March 6 at History in Toronto, ON, and will visit cities throughout the Midwest and East Coast, closing out on March 18 at Stage AE in Pittsburgh, PA. The HEARTFIRST Tour will be a prime opportunity to catch Kelsea’s full headline set—following a handful of dates on The Judds: The Final Tour and a sold-out jaunt in the UK throughout February. Meanwhile, she’ll spend the rest of the Spring on Kenny Chesney’s I Go Back Tour.
ABOUT KELSEA BALLERINI
Kelsea Ballerini has consistently made history. With the release of her debut album The First Time (Black River), she became the “only female country artist to hit #1 with the first three consecutive singles from a debut album.”This history-making feat helped earn the honeyed alto a Best New Artist GRAMMY nomination. She has logged five back-to-back Top 10 entries on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, including the platinum-selling The First Time , gold-selling Unapologetically , gold-selling kelsea , ballerini , and SUBJECT TO CHANGE . With seven #1 singles and 31 certifications from the RIAA to date, her catalog boasts a string of essential smashes such as the double-platinum “Miss Me More” and “Peter Pan,” platinum-selling “half of my hometown” feat. Kenny Chesney and “hole in the bottle” with Shania Twain, and gold-selling “I Quit Drinking” with LANY. Among dozens of accolades thus far, she has garnered three GRAMMY® Award nominations, won two ACM Awards, picked up two CMA Awards, took home the iHeartRadio Music Awards honor for “Best New Artist,” and received multiple career nominations from the ACM Awards, American Music Awards, CMA Awards, CMT Awards, and People’s Choice Awards. She concluded 2021 as the “#3 most-played female artist on country radio” and CMT “Artist of the Year” in addition to picking up “Musical Event of the Year” and “Video of the Year” at the CMA Awards for “half of my hometown.” Kelsea scored a nomination in the category of “Single of the Year” at the 2022 CMA Awards for “half of my hometown,” and she notched a People’s Choice Awards nomination for “Country Artist of 2022.” Kelsea led the field for 2022 CMT Music Awards nominations with three nominations for “Video of The Year,” “Collaborative Video of The Year” and “CMT Performance of The Year.” Not to mention, she snagged a nomination for “Music Event of the Year” for the 2022 ACM Awards as both artist and producer of “half of my hometown.” This marked Kelsea’s first ACM nomination as a producer. Expanding her sphere of influence, she authored her first original book of poetry Feel Your Way Through, and Dolly Parton tapped her to star in the audiobook of Run, Rose, Run. In April 2022, Kelsea co-hosted the CMT Awards on CBS nationwide. On top of this, the multi-platinum country superstar was named the newest face of COVERGIRL. She has joined the brand in a multi-year partnership and is set to launch a cosmetic collaboration with the brand in 2023. She was inducted as a member of the famed Grand Ole Opry in 2019. At the time, she notably became the Opry’s youngest member in its nearly 100-year history since being founded in 1925. With these accolades, it is no wonder NPR proclaimed, “Kelsea Ballerini is definitely one of the most influential women in country right now… she’s defining the sound of the genre.” Kelsea’s fourth album, SUBJECT TO CHANGE, arrived on September 23, 2022. The first single “HEARTFIRST,” quickly took over airwaves as the “most added song at country radio” the week of its release and was recently certified gold by the RIAA. Most recently, Kelsea earned a GRAMMY® nomination for “Best Country Solo Performance” for “HEARTFIRST.” Kelsea Ballerini is ready to continue making history in 2023 and beyond.