by Marcus K. Dowling
“Hole In The Bottle” vocalist Kelsea Ballerini recalls watching Kelly Clarkson, barefoot and sweaty, onstage in 2005 during her “Behind These Hazel Eyes Tour” as the moment she decided “that’s what I want to be like” when she was older.
In a 2019 Instagram post, Ballerini noted regarding her inspiration, “the greatest gift as an opening act is having a front row seat to watch and learn successful artists steer their ships. Anyone who knows me knows I have always been a Kelly superfan, but after watching her flawlessly navigate a major tour while taping The Voice and being a wife and momma while never missing a beat AND being kind to everyone and making sure we were all taken care of gave me a whole new lense of respect and love for this woman.”
Being a child standing on her chair in an auditorium lacking air conditioning is a far cry from where Ballerini hopes to be on June 10, 2021, which she has listed as a live performance date at the Carolina Country Music Fest in Myrtle Beach, SC. It’s one of six concert dates the star has listed for this year.
When not preparing for resuming live gigs, Ballerini has been making media appearances like a recent one in which she recalled the story regarding Kelly Clarkson and diving a bit into a songwriting process that has yielded four Billboard Country Airplay chart number-one singles in her seven-year country career.
“When I was 12, my parents were splitting up. I’m an only child. I knew that I needed a safe place, and an outlet and a journal wouldn’t cut it,” Ballerini says. “I needed more. I needed something that I could pour my time and my heart into. Songwriting just fell into my lap.
“Songwriting for me that year that really just became that outlet became that diary, that safe place for me,” she continues. “I went from zero to 100. I went from writing my first song to wanting to come up on a hydraulic lift in an arena. I wrote my first song at 12. My mom was wonderful enough to move me to Nashville when I was 15. I signed my first publishing deal at 19. I was full speed ahead.”