(Los Angeles): Kelsea Ballerini, the songwriter/performer/producer/director/supernova rising, is having quite the year! Beyond three sold-out legs of her own headlining tour and being sole and direct support to Kenny Chesney, she has released a mainstream country album including “IF YOU GO DOWN (I’M GOIN' DOWN TOO),” her Top 20 and rising single, released a deeply personal and critically acclaimed in-the-moment Rolling Up The Welcome Mat, performed on Saturday Night Live, was profiled in The New York Times and lived life at the supersonic speed of Kelsea. And she’s taken her fans along for every triumph, bump and laugh along the way.
Looking at where she was last year and where she’s heading, the triple-GRAMMY nominee knew the only way to close the door on Welcome Mat was to write the final chapter and resolve the reality of a marriage dissolving with the solidity of moving on. Rather than a talk show or a podcast, the East Tennessee creator expanded Welcome Mat, updated a few songs, added a new one -- and announced it all at her first intimate fan gathering at the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles.
“Having shared everything with my fans, I knew I wanted to tell them first – and I wanted to tell them,” says the painfully honest writer. “I wanted to be in an intimate space, with them, walking through everything that happened, explaining some of the artistic decisions and letting them know how much their reaction to this music has meant to me.”
Ballerini’s first intimate evening was built around a conversation with noted director Julie Anne Robinson, known for “Bridgerton,” but also “Orange Is the New Black,” “Nurse Jackie,” “Masters of Sex,” “The Good Place,” “Parks & Recreation” and the feature films “One for the Money” and “The Last Song.” The British-born, UK- and American-based filmmaker was on-hand to do a deep dive into the writing, process and reckoning that drove “Rolling Up The Welcome Mat (A Short Film).”
As a double BAFTA and Golden Globe nominee, Robinson created a conversation that offered a strong sense of how life translates into art, the risks and rewards of exposing one’s most faltering and vulnerable moments and the power of creativity to move the healing process along. It was a brisk talk, that also included questions from the audience and Ballerini’s announcement of Rolling Up The Welcome Mat (For Good).
“I wasn’t worried about anything other than presenting the songs as honestly as possible,” the multi-platinum country songstress explained upon release. “Most started with me and my guitar.”
Though originally written and recorded with long-time collaborator Alysa Vanderheym, Ballerini created a place of (self)compassion for everyone. In that spirit, she didn’t want to leave the story in a place where so much was at stake and so little resolved. Beyond announcing the August 11 release of Rolling Up The Welcome Mat (For Good), designed to put this conversation to bed forever, the Black River artist treated the audience to the new “full” version of “Interlude" and performed “Penthouse (Healed Version)” for the full house.
To mark the occasion, Ballerini created very special, limited-edition t-shirts that are available in each market that reveal a new lyric from “Interlude.” As she says of the singular surprise, “Some people wear their hearts on their sleeve, this is a way to wear something that says you grew and came even more into your own on your chest. It’s a wonderful way to tell your truth without saying a word.”