Knoxville native Kelsea Ballerini comes full circle at CMA awards


KNOXVILLE (WATE) – It has been a year since Kelsea Ballerini first walked the red carpet at the Country Music Awards, but a lot has happened since then.

A Central High School graduate, Ballerini says her family still lives in Knoxville and she sneaks back to town now and again. At 23, she continues to smash through the charts of country music. She was nominated for best new artist and female vocalist of the year alongside some of the biggest names in the business.

“As for female [artist of the year], listen, I wouldn’t even know what it looks like to be a female in country music if I didn’t have Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood to look up to. I think Kacey Musgraves is the most brilliant songwriter I’ve ever heard and I think Maren Morris is taking us all to church. I am just stoked to be in that category,” said Ballerini.

In addition to being nominated, Ballerini is also going to perform. She says fans should expect to see something really special.

“I’m singing my song “Peter Pan,” said Ballerini. “We’re trying to make the performance a surprise, but it’s an idea we’ve had for months and months. We’ve just been waiting for the right moment, but it’s going to be beautiful. I’m really excited.”

With three consecutive number one hit songs under her belt, Ballerini said she’s working on promoting her fourth single album “Yeah Boy” and writing and recording her next album in the studio.

“The last two years have been full circle moments,” said Ballerini. “You know I stood in line to meet someone and now we’re friends. Or I saved up to go see Rascal Flatts in concert in Knoxville and then I was just on tour with them all summer.”

Ballerini goes on her first ever headlining tour this fall. One of the stops is Knoxville.

“I wanted to wait until I could sell out the Tennessee Theatre to come home and I’m doing it,” said Ballerini. “It’s sold out, so I just can’t wait. I know I’m going to be so emotional. I just can’t wait to come home and play.”

The concert is Friday, November 11. Ballerini says after that she will go on tour with Thomas Rhett.

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