NASHVILLE, TENN. (April 14, 2023) -- Multiple Grammy nominee and Country Music Association Award winner Kelsea Ballerini picked up two nominations for this year’s Academy of Country Music Awards to be livestreamed from Texas on Amazon Prime Video. The young woman who won the ACM’s Top New Female and Gene Weed Milestone Award is nominated for a much-deserved Female Artist and the Visual Media Award for“Heartfirst,” the video rendering from her most recent album.
Always looking to push the envelope, the Academy’s recognition caps a year that’s seen the likable songwriter from East Tennessee write, co-produce, record and release the intimate Rolling Up The Welcome Mat, create a small film to tie the Welcome Mat songs together and make her “Saturday NightLive” debut. On the road, she’s been selling out major market venues, with demand so great that she added another leg to her HEARTFIRST Tour following her role as direct – and sole -- support on Kenny Chesney’s I Go Back 2023 tour, which focuses on the markets where the 8-time Entertainer of the Year built his own touring juggernaut.
“You get so busy creating and making music, you sort of forget about awards and this kind of thing,” says Ballerini, who just released the nostalgia forward “If You Go Down (I’m Goin’ Down, Too)” video. “And then you get a call or a text telling you you’re nominated, and it’s like the first time all over again!”
“Even more than winning, just the idea of being recognized by your peers and the industry, all the other people who know how much of your life and soul go into this is the best feeling. You create for you – and the fans – of course. But anyone who says they don’t care what the songwriters and musicians, radio, touring, and record company think would be lying.”
Having just been the subject of a major New York Times profile, the realer-than-real vocalist and writer appreciates her peers responding to her records and creative risks. Never one to play it safe, she’s run a gauntlet of collaborators and co-writers to emerge as one of the freshest voices in music. Country at its heart, Ballerini really delivers the heart of American music to young people coming into their own across the nation.
Hailed by media from Rolling Stone to Good Housekeeping, People to The Washington Post and American Songwriter, the Black River Entertainment artist continues pushing herself forward. Drawing from her own life and those of the people she works with, The New York Times assessed, “The country singer and songwriter has long tested Nashville’s boundaries while revealing herself to her listeners” and writes, “she’s finding new heights.”
“Like ‘half of my hometown’ says: I’ll always be Knoxville, Tennessee,” Ballerini offers. “I have very big dreams, but that doesn’t change the woman I am, or the girl who’s still inside me. Yes, I want crazy things, but I never want to lose myself. I think between the surprise of how much people have liked Rolling Up The Welcome Mat and the fans who come out for the shows, they remind me how special that is.
And a moment like this, being nominated for an award I’ve always dreamed of winning, and another for something so creative? Well, that tells me the people I respect and think so much of think I’m on the right track.”
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. Most recently, Kelsea earned a nomination for “Female Artist of the Year” for the 2023 ACM Awards and the video for her hit single “HEARTFIRST” received a nomination for “Visual Media Of The Year.” 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 surprised fans with the release of her intimate six-song EP Rolling Up the Welcome Mat (Black River) on February 14, 2023. 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 critics including The New York Times, Variety, Rolling Stone and more. On the heels of the EP’s success, Kelsea made her Saturday Night Live debut on March 4, 2023. She recently wrapped the second leg of her sold-out headlining HEARTFIRST Tour and she’ll spend the rest of the Spring in arenas across the country as she joins Kenny Chesney on his I Go Back 2023 Tour.
Kelsea Ballerini is ready to continue making history in 2023 and beyond.