Kelsea Ballerini is following in Taylor Swift's footsteps with a brand of country that cradles a hint of pop, and while she's breaking chart records and taking America by storm on tour, it's about time the mainstream turns toward her. That is, of course, if it hasn't already.
Ballerini's music gives us the dose of relationship realness we need, and the hooks to make the honesty go down easier. She's sassy, lovelorn and a dreamer all mixed in one, pouring out her feelings over an acoustic guitar and dishing up little flecks of personality we can all grasp onto.
Click through to see how Kelsey Ballerini is giving us a bit of Swift while Swift is tucked away for a while:
Kelsea Ballerini got a special tweet from Taylor Swift (pretty high praise) just before her album, The First Time, was about to drop. The album's first single, "Love Me Like You Mean It," debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart, making her the first solo female act to score a No. 1 debut since Carrie Underwood's "Jesus Take the Wheel."
Of course, after Swift's tweet, Ballerini couldn't help but add that she was a T.S. superfan, and had met her before in Nashville.
"I wrote ['Love Me Like You Mean It'] with three of my guy friends," Ballerini told MTV after the Taylor tweet. "We were just hanging out one night eating pizza and one of my friends was like, 'Kelsea, you need a song with some serious sass behind it,' and I was like, 'OK.' So we were actually listening to Rihanna and got inspired by the swag that she has and we wrote this song and we gravitated towards it and I love the 'confident girl' status of it."
Ballerini has become a squad member—hitting up the VMAs with her new friend, having late-night hangs and sharing matching giving keys.
During this time, she won New Female Vocalist of the Year at the ACM Awards. Sweet!
Ballerini will be going on her own headlining jaunt, called The First Time Tour, starting in October. Does someone want to buy me a ticket?
Oct. 21 Houston, Texas
Oct. 22 Dallas
Nov. 11 Knoxville, Tennessee
Nov. 12 Atlanta
Nov. 18 Mahnomen, Minnesota
Nov. 19 Minneapolis, Minnesota
Dec. 2 New York City
Dec. 3 Buffalo, New York
Dec. 8 Los Angeles
Dec. 9 Las Vegas
Dec. 10 Las Vegas
With "Dibs" and "Peter Pan" reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Country Airplay Charts, Kelsea is the first solo female act to have her first three singles go No. 1.