NASHVILLE, TENN. (February 14, 2023) -- Multiple Grammy nominee, Country Music Association award winner, author and songwriter/vocalist Kelsea Ballerini once again follows one of contemporary music’s most in-the-moment muses and releases Rolling Up The Welcome Mat. Listen HERE. The intimate six song EP, available from Black River Entertainment/The Orchard today, is a handful of postcards and polaroids from the life of the young woman who’s captivated music lovers since the chart-topping “Love Me Like You Mean It.” To accompany the music, Ballerini wrote and directed, alongside co-director Patrick Tracy, a short film that creates a deeper tableau and sense of the emotions that went into Rolling Up The Welcome Mat. Filmed in a white, minimalist environment, the film which debuts on YouTube at midnight with a commercial-free broadcast premiere on CMT during that 8 a.m. Eastern hour, leaves room for viewers to see their own lives, even as it provides an even deeper look into the songwriter’s own emotional journey. Watch HERE.
“I wasn’t worried about anything other than presenting the songs as honestly as possible,” says the multiplatinum country songstress. “Most of them started with me and my guitar.”
Easily her most intimate work yet, Ballerini delivers a very lean, vocal forward set of songs that measures the most personal aspects of her last few years. Working with frequent collaborator Alysa Vanderheym, the pair co-produced and co-wrote three songs on Rolling Up The Welcome Mat. Ballerini wrote the other three songs on her own, committed to sorting through her life completely on her own terms.
“I was writing by myself for most of the project, and it was nice to trust myself again,” offers the woman who has come to embody the reality of growing up and into oneself for a new generation. “The only way I’ve been able to handle my life since I was 12 was to write about it. Ironically, I started writing music because my parents got divorced; that was my therapy. Rolling Up The Welcome Mat was how I processed everything. It’s the way I got my feelings out of my body and heart and put them to music, which is the purest way I could’ve handled it.”
Even more than handle it, she creates a place of self-compassion for everyone. From the echoing opening chords of the moody “Mountain With A View,” a whispery self-examination of doubt, letting go and a moment of recognition one can’t turn back from, Ballerini unpacks her hopes, the promises, and recriminations of “happily ever after” over a low impact sonic template. The string and layered backing vocal track strewn with all the little details of “Just Married” beckons as she considers reality, chasing a dream and what follows.
“I lived in a penthouse,” she says of “Penthouse’s” inspiration. “The concept of a penthouse seems so glamorous, but it stopped feeling that way. I lost track of what was good in how I got there, and suddenly, I realized what you think isn’t always what there actually is.”
And just like that, over a few gently falling piano chords, Ballerini faces truth, pivots, then creates the best possible outcome. In that moment, amidst the tears and regrets, she packs up, moves on, moves into the house that she truly wanted. So simple, but it also refracts the reality of so many people who face what they were told they wanted turning out not to be what they truly desired.
The voice memo-feeling “Interlude,” churning, dense and stream-of-conscious, stumbles forward. Cataloguing fall-out, misogyny, and gossip, she walks through the dizzying morass to freedom.
Whether the churning “Blindsided” which ladles up how life actually is over an 808 track and a tumble of realities the public never sees, or the acoustic guitar nakedness of “Leave Me Again,” which serves as a loving good-bye to someone she’s loved and a warm reminder to herself to never lose herself in what someone else, even society, expects. These songs are the best of what makes Ballerini a voice for Gen Z and Gen Alpha: clear-eyed, more engaged, more life-affirming. Generous, engaging, Rolling Up The Welcome Mat is a tour du force for a life lived in real time, created for bigger dreams and willing to face the facts and pay the price to make it happen.
Following a sold-out tour of the UK, this March, Kelsea Ballerini will launch the second US leg of her exclusive HEARTFIRST Tour. 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.