Kelsea Ballerini Responds to Grammy Nomination for Best Country Album: ‘I’ve Gained My Artistic Independence as a Songwriter’

Published by Cel Manero from Global One Media, Inc.

The country music artist’s EP, ‘Rolling Up the Welcome Mat,’ is set to contend for the Best Country Album at the 2024 Grammy Awards on Feb. 4.

Since the release of “Rolling Up the Welcome Mat,” Kelsea Ballerini has felt like she’s standing on top of a “Mountain with a View.” In a conversation with PEOPLE during the launch of Pantene’s latest innovations, the Pantene Healthy Hair Ambassador and country music star shared her feelings of honor regarding the nomination of her 2023 EP for Best Country Album at the 2024 Grammy Awards. She also reflected on the positive reception of the project and the transformative impact it has had on her perspective over the past year.

Ballerini, aged 30, expressed, “I think just this last year of my life has just changed everything about the way that I think about my career and my personal life.”

In light of the success of her EP, where she openly delves into her divorce from country singer Morgan Evans, Kelsea Ballerini emphasizes that this experience has inspired her to remain authentically vulnerable in her future songwriting endeavors. She confidently declares herself as having “earned her freedom as a songwriter” through this transformative process.

The CMA Award winner shares a valuable lesson she has learned: “The thing that I learned that I just really hold closely now is there’s no amount of truth telling or detail that will make it not relatable.” Despite previous attempts to make her music universally relatable by smoothing out the edges, Ballerini has come to realize the power of unfiltered storytelling.

Reflecting on the creation of “Rolling Up the Welcome Mat,” she clarifies that the project was a deeply personal endeavor, stating, “I made it very selfishly … quite literally emotionally because I had to.” Despite the intensely personal nature of the songs, which include tracks like “Penthouse” and “Blindsided,” the project resonated profoundly with her audience, surpassing the impact of anything else she had previously released.

Empowered by the success of her EP, Kelsea Ballerini is currently in the process of creating a new record, guided by her heart and instincts. She expresses the joy of working on a new project at a different phase in her life, reveling in the freedom she has found in her songwriting.

The upcoming 66th annual Grammy Awards, scheduled to be broadcast live from Los Angeles’ Arena on Feb. 4, will mark Ballerini’s fourth-ever nomination. Her initial recognition by the Recording Academy was in 2017 when she was nominated for Best New Artist. In 2019, her album “Unapologetically” received a nomination for Best Country Album, and the following year, she was nominated for Best Country Solo Performance for her track “Heartfirst.”

Ballerini had previously shared her genuine reaction to the Grammy nod for “Rolling Up the Welcome Mat” in November. She posted an endearing video on Instagram capturing the moment of her discovering the news in real-time, accompanied by her boyfriend Chase Stokes, mom Carla, and friends. The heartwarming clip captured her joy as she threw her hands into the air and burst into tears.

Upon releasing the EP and its corresponding visual album in February 2023, the artist behind “Half of My Hometown” shared a poignant statement about the significance of the project and the personal growth she has experienced since the release of 2022’s “SUBJECT TO CHANGE.”

Reflecting on “SUBJECT TO CHANGE,” she acknowledged a theme of self-reflection and turmoil in that album. The new EP, she explained, delves even deeper into that turmoil. Emphasizing the importance of this project, the country star expressed the satisfaction of writing most of the material on her own, highlighting the sense of trust she found in herself during the creative process.

In her statement, she revealed, “The only way I’ve been able to handle my life since I was 12 was to write about it. Ironically, I started writing music because my parents got divorced; that was my therapy.” This insight sheds light on the cathartic and therapeutic role that songwriting has played in her life since a young age.

Describing the essence of the project, the artist expressed, “These are six songs I wish I had last year. It’s about the complexities of the feelings you go through during a massive shift at a young age.” She highlighted how “Rolling Up the Welcome Mat” served as her means of processing everything, serving as a conduit to express and externalize the intricate emotions she experienced during a significant life transition at a young age.

In August of the same year, the musician expanded on the acclaimed EP by releasing an extended version. This edition featured the new track “How Do I Do This,” a live version of “Penthouse,” an extended rendition of “Interlude,” and an updated take on “Blindsided” titled “Blindsided (Yeah, Sure, Okay).” This additional content further enriched the project and provided listeners with an extended exploration of the themes presented in the original EP.