“Black River has always handled my music with the utmost care since signing with them over a decade ago. They’ve never wavered in respecting my vision as an artist, offering me the freedom to be creative and push boundaries. We share our wins and successes like a family, and our renewed agreement reflects just that.” - Ballerini
NASHVILLE, TENN. (February 7, 2023) – Kelsea Ballerini leads with her heart, and it has served her well since her launch with Black River in 2013, which made country music history with the success of her first three consecutive chart-topping hit singles. It's that mutual trust in herself and her team that has led the four-time GRAMMY-nominated and multiple CMA Award-winning artist to continue with Gordon Kerr and Black River as she heads into the next chapter of her career.
During her more than 10-year journey with Black River, the Grand Ole Opry member has secured an impressive seven #1 singles and 32 certifications from the RIAA. Kelsea has logged five back-to-back Top 10 entries on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, with a catalog boasting a string of essential smashes such as the double-platinum “Miss Me More” and “Peter Pan,” platinum-selling “half of my hometown” feat. Kenny Chesney, "hole in the bottle” with Shania Twain, and gold-selling “I Quit Drinking” with LANY.
"It is with great pleasure and true excitement that Black River continues to partner with Kelsea as well as Jason Owen,” said Black River Entertainment’s President and CEO Gordon Kerr. “I find myself constantly blown away by Kelsea’s artistic vision and musical excellence. And to know Jason as my friend and brother in music is nothing short of humbling and electrifying all at the same time. What a team we make, what history we write, what a story we tell!"
“Over the past few years, Gordon has become a dear friend to me and he and the Black River team remain the best partners to Kelsea and Sandbox for so many reasons,” says Sandbox Entertainment Group Founder and CEO Jason Owen. “Black River isn’t afraid to take risks, always leaning in with us on ideas that challenge the status quo, including with this groundbreaking recording agreement that rightfully honors Kelsea’s art and her impact in the marketplace.”
Read more about Kelsea Ballerini's renewed deal with Black River Entertainment at Variety.com, where they exclusively broke the news early this morning.
A two-time ACM Award and CMA Award winner, Kelsea has multiple career nominations from the ACM Awards, American Music Awards, CMA Awards, CMT Awards, and People’s Choice Awards under her belt – most recently earning a nod in the prestigious 2023 CMA Awards “Album of the Year” category. With four GRAMMY nominations, including a nomination for the "Best Country Album" at the 66th GRAMMY Awards with Rolling Up The Welcome Mat, Kelsea's list of remarkable accomplishments continues to grow.
The release of her deeply personal Welcome Mat and accompanying short film in 2023 led Kelsea to her Saturday Night Live debut, universal acclaim from critics including The New York Times, Variety, Rolling Stone, and more, and the honor of gracing the cover of TIME Magazine’s TIME100 Next issue. The 2021 CMT "Artist of the Year" and “#3 most-played female artist on country radio” (2021) was named the newest face of COVERGIRL in 2023, proving the author, songwriter, and global superstar is ready to launch into 2024 and beyond.
About Kelsea Ballerini
Kelsea Ballerini has consistently made history. With the release of her debut album The First Time (Black River), she became the “only female country artist to hit #1 with the first three consecutive singles from a debut album.” This history-making feat helped earn the honeyed alto a Best New Artist GRAMMY nomination. She has logged five back-to-back Top 10 entries on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, including the platinum-selling The First Time , gold-selling Unapologetically , gold-selling kelsea , ballerini , and SUBJECT TO CHANGE . With seven #1 singles and 32 certifications from the RIAA to date, her catalog boasts a string of essential smashes such as the double-platinum “Miss Me More” and “Peter Pan,” platinum-selling “half of my hometown” feat. Kenny Chesney, "hole in the bottle” with Shania Twain, and gold-selling “I Quit Drinking” with LANY. Among dozens of accolades thus far, she has garnered three GRAMMY® Award nominations, won two ACM Awards, picked up two CMA Awards, took home the iHeartRadio Music Awards honor for “Best New Artist,” and received multiple career nominations from the ACM Awards, American Music Awards, CMA Awards, CMT Awards, and People’s Choice Awards. Most recently, she earned a nomination for “Female Vocalist of the Year” for the 2023 CMA Awards while her acclaimed Rolling Up The Welcome Mat earned a nod in the prestigious “Album of the Year” category. Kelsea also earned a nomination for “Female Artist of the Year” for the 2023 ACM Awards, and the video for her hit single “HEARTFIRST” received a nomination for “Visual Media Of The Year.” She concluded 2021 as the “#3 most-played female artist on country radio” and CMT “Artist of the Year” in addition to picking up “Musical Event of the Year” and “Video of the Year” at the CMA Awards for “half of my hometown.” Kelsea scored a nomination in the category of “Single of the Year” at the 2022 CMA Awards for “half of my hometown,” and she notched a People’s Choice Awards nomination for “Country Artist of 2022.” Kelsea led the field for 2022 CMT Music Awards nominations with three nominations for “Video of The Year,” “Collaborative Video of The Year” and “CMT Performance of The Year.” Not to mention, she snagged a nomination for “Music Event of the Year” for the 2022 ACM Awards as both artist and producer of “half of my hometown.” This marked Kelsea’s first ACM nomination as a producer. Expanding her sphere of influence, she authored her first original book of poetry Feel Your Way Through, and Dolly Parton tapped her to star in the audiobook of Run, Rose, Run. In April 2022, Kelsea co-hosted the CMT Awards on CBS nationwide. On top of this, the multi-platinum country superstar was named the newest face of COVERGIRL. She has joined the brand in a multi-year partnership and is set to launch a cosmetic collaboration with the brand in 2023. She was inducted as a member of the famed Grand Ole Opry in 2019. At the time, she notably became the Opry’s youngest member in its nearly 100-year history since being founded in 1925. With these accolades, it is no wonder NPR proclaimed, “Kelsea Ballerini is definitely one of the most influential women in country right now… she’s defining the sound of the genre.”
Kelsea’s fourth album, SUBJECT TO CHANGE, arrived on September 23, 2022. The first single “HEARTFIRST,” quickly took over airwaves as the “most added song at country radio” the week of its release and was recently certified gold by the RIAA. Most recently, Kelsea earned a GRAMMY® nomination for “Best Country Solo Performance” for “HEARTFIRST.” Kelsea surprised fans with the release of intimate six-song Rolling Up the Welcome Mat (Black River) on February 14, 2023. Welcome Mat, along with an accompanying short film written and directed by Ballerini, marks the multi-platinum star’s most intimate and honest work to date. The project became an instant hit with fans and debuted to universal acclaim from critics including The New York Times, Variety, Rolling Stone and more. On the heels of the Welcome Mat’s success, Kelsea made her Saturday Night Live debut on March 4, 2023. She recently wrapped a stint as special guest on Kenny Chesney’s I Go Back 2023 Tour as well as the sold-out third leg of her exclusive headlining HEARTFIRST Tour. In September 2023, Kelsea graced the cover of TIME Magazine’s 2023 TIME100 Next issue, recognizing the 100 emerging leaders from around the world who are shaping the future and defining the next generation of leadership. She also earned nominations for two 2023 CMA Awards: “Album of The Year” & “Female Vocalist of the Year.” Most recently, Kelsea earned a GRAMMY® nomination for “Best Country Album” for her acclaimed Rolling Up The Welcome Mat. Kelsea Ballerini is ready to continue making history in 2024 and beyond.
About Black River Entertainment
Underneath the Black River Entertainment umbrella is a family of state-of-the-art recording studios, a multi-GRAMMY award-winning publishing company, a management company, and a record label. Black River Records' roster of artists includes Kelsea Ballerini, Pryor Baird, Scotty Hasting, and MaRynn Taylor.
Black River Publishing is home to many talented songwriters and artists and has received numerous awards and accolades in the twelve years since its inception. These accolades include 36 No. 1 songs, six of which are certified gold, ten certified platinum, six double platinum, four triple platinum, one certified six-times platinum, and two GRAMMY awards: Best Country Song with Kacey Musgraves' "Merry Go 'Round" (2013) and Best Contemporary Christian Performance/Song with for KING & COUNTRY's "God Only Knows" (2019). Black River Publishing's roster includes Black River recording artists: Pryor Baird and MaRynn Taylor; Artist-Writers: McCall Chapin, Hannah Kerr, and Bryan Simpson; songwriter/producers: Dan Wilson, and Jason Earley; songwriter/producer/artist Blake Ruby; and the GRAMMY-winning songwriter/producer/artist Josh Kerr. Additionally, Black River's catalogs include hit-songwriter/Black River recording artist Kelsea Ballerini; artist-writers Abby Anderson, Josh Wilson, and Anna Vaus; hit songwriters Doug Johnson, Forest Glen Whitehead, Jacob Davis, and GRAMMY-winning songwriter Josh Osborne. For more information about Black River Publishing, please visit blackriverent.com/publishing and follow them on socials.
Owned and operated by Black River Entertainment, the historic Sound Stage and Ronnie's Place studios are located on Nashville's famous Music Row. These studios have set the standard that legendary artists/musicians/producers have appreciated since the late 1960s. Artists from multiple genres have cut hits in these studios, including Kelsea Ballerini, Lee Brice, Garth Brooks, Johnny Cash, Alice Cooper, Rodney Crowell, Casting Crowns, 50 Cent, Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Sam Hunt, KC and The Sunshine Band, Korn, Miranda Lambert, Jelly Roll, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Big Town, Reba McEntire, Tim McGraw, Craig Morgan, Kacey Musgraves, Dolly Parton, PHISH, Kid Rock, Darius Rucker, George Strait, Taylor Swift, The Cadillac Three, Shania Twain, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Chris Young and more.
Part of the Pegula's sports and entertainment company portfolio, which includes the NFL's Buffalo Bills — the AFC East champions for the fourth consecutive year —, NHL's Buffalo Sabres, AHL's Rochester Americans, NLL's Buffalo Bandits, and Rochester Knighthawks, LECOM Harborcenter, Buffalo Marriott at LECOM Harborcenter, KeyBank Center, and New Era Field, Black River Entertainment and its entities are based in Nashville, TN.