I recently read Waking Up In Nashville, a book published in 2002 by British travel writer Stephen Foehr. He came to Nashville and navigated the scene from an outsider’s perspective and expertly delved into the idea of ‘what is country music.’ This was in the early 2000s, so the traditional country fan’s anger was directed at pop-country stars like Shania Twain and Faith Hill. But the overwhelming consensus from the dozens of people he interviewed is that country music isn’t pretty. It isn’t happy endings and perfect nights. It’s real life. At the time that Foehr wrote this book, Alan Jackson had recently released his song “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning,” a song about the horrors of the September 11 attacks. Country music tackled this issue in a way no other genre did and that’s what country music always does. Country music goes into the gritty details of real life like no other genre, and that’s the reason that so many people love the genre so much. But when a ‘country’ artist releases album that has very little real life and a lot of picture-perfect high school life, it’s hard to connect that record with the heart and soul of country music. Kelsea Ballerini’s debut record The First Time doesn’t really match up to the roots of country music, but did blow up the country music scene in 2015.
10 albums, 45 tracks
Kelsea Ballerini just got invited to be a member of the Grand Ole Opry. For those of you outside of the country music bubble that I seem to constantly inhabit, the general consensus is that this is the biggest honour in the genre. Becoming a member of the Opry means that this artist has the opportunity to play the Opry whenever they want, as well as being on a list of Opry Members that includes greats such as Alan Jackson and Reba McEntire. Many deserving artists have yet to receive this honour. But last month, the Opry chose to grant membership to a pretty new artist in country music, one that has constantly received criticism for not being a truly country artist. But in a twist that few people saw coming, she’s now been accepted by the pinnacle of the country music community. The only way to come to terms with this, and to figure out why an artist so constantly criticized has been deemed legitimate by such an honour is to delve into her most recent record, Unapologetically, Ballerini’s sophomore record that came out in 2017.
Though she probably hates the comparison many have suggested over the years, Kelsea Ballerini is one of the last holdovers of the more traditional feminine voice of Country Pop music, staying true to the more innocent, old-fashioned viewpoints on teenage relationships whilst advocating for better standards of living for women throughout the genre. Taylor Swift once held our attention in these circles of thought, providing endless jams with a lighthearted spirit & a youthful exuberance, but as she & other heavy-hitters like Kacey Musgraves & Lauren Alaina have tried to push their sounds in a much stronger, often delightfully-feminist direction, the more underappreciated aspects of Teen Pop within Country have fallen to the wayside, leaving younger audiences without that bouncy, willfully-ignorant sound they need to keep their formative years bright & jolly like it used to be – With Unapologetically, Kelsea Ballerini turns the tables, capturing that exuberant spirit we love & creating an album full of nothing but catchy road-trip bangers you’ll happily sing along to when no one’s around.
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- Jun 12, 2019A ‘progressive twist’: Country star Kelsea Ballerini picks R&B tune on ‘Songland’ - Yahoo Entertainment
- Apr 17, 2019Kelsea Ballerini Weeps as Carrie Underwood Welcomes Her Into the Grand Ole Opry
- Apr 08, 2019Morgan Evans Attends ACMs Alone While Wife Kelsea Ballerini Preps Her Tour: 'I’ll See Her Tomorrow'
- Mar 06, 2019See Kelsea Ballerini Burst Into Tears as She's Invited to Join the Grand Ole Opry by Little Big Town
- Mar 06, 2019Kelsea Ballerini Asked To Join Grand Ole Opry
- Feb 07, 2019Victoria Justice & Kelsea Ballerini Are Beauties in Black at amfAR New York Gala 2019
- Dec 18, 2018Hide the Wine! Maren Morris, Kelsea Ballerini and Carly Pearce Enjoy a Country Girls' Night
- Nov 21, 2018The Chainsmokers rock Monday Night Football halftime show, performing ‘This Feeling’ with Kelsea Ballerini
- Black River
Kelsea Nicole Ballerini (born September 12, 1993) is an American country pop singer and songwriter. She released her first album The First Time in 2015, and her second album Unapologetically was released on November 3, 2017. She received a nomination for Best New Artist at the 2017 Grammy Awards. Ballerini's two albums have accounted for seven charted songs on the Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay charts. She has four No. 1 singles on the latter, starting with her debut single "Love Me Like You Mean It", which made her the first female artist to send a debut single to the top of that chart since Carrie Underwood in 2006. It was followed by "Dibs" and "Peter Pan", whose peaks also made her the first female country artist to send her first three singles to the top of that chart since Wynonna Judd. Ballerini's fourth No. 1 single is "Legends".
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