(New York City): In what can only be considered a flagship year, Kelsea Ballerini finds herself not just on TIME100’s Next List, but one of three chosen for the cover of the news and culture weekly’s list of the most impactful young people in the world. Alongside NFL Quarterback Jalen Hurts and chef Mory Sacko, Kelsea – in a green couture gown – graces the cover of select magazines.
Listed under the heading “Artist,” Kelsea – who just scored her sixth Country Music Association Female Vocalist and a prestigious Album of the Year for her groundbreaking Rolling Up The Welcome Mat nominations and made her MTV Video Music Awards debut – was selected for a list that includes medical leaders, advocates, politicians, athletes, academics, writers, scientists, chefs, politicians, innovators and technological groundbreakers. Citing her ability to be inclusive, create on her own terms and respect the power of what music gives, the multiple GRAMMY nominee joins actors, artists, dancers, emcees and other creative forces cited by the magazine.
As Shania Twain writes in her essay of first meeting the then young 20-something, “I remember thinking back then how talented she was as a songwriter at such a young age. She’s an old soul in many ways. As a veteran songwriter, I’m always looking for authenticity, and I’m really inspired by clever songwriting – songwriting that is not only thought-provoking and meaningful but most of all original. Kelsea writes with all those qualities. She isn’t afraid to be vulnerable and really brave in her songwriting.”
The multiple GRAMMY winner closes her essay with this final assessment of the artist and woman Kelsea has become: “She has a powerful sense of self in those moments: she knows exactly where her heart is, and she always leads with love and inclusivity.”
Indeed, when Kelsea sat down to write, record and co-produce Rolling Up The Welcome Mat, (Black River) she didn’t do it for anyone but herself – and those people who might also be struggling with the confusion, grief and emptiness that comes with “What happened?” It was a truth she needed to sort, tell and use to heal – and in doing that, she found a new level of respect that sees her on a list of the most prestigious minds shaping the future.
Having just announced her first major arena concert at Thompson-Boling, the one night only “The Homecoming Show,” in East Tennessee serves in part to remind other young people in the region the power of not just having, but building dreams. Kelsea embodies what she writes and sings about. Whether it’s creating the groundbreaking Rolling Up The Welcome Mat, with her good friend and frequent collaborator Alysa Vanderheym, writing and creating a short film to support the in-the-moment anthology – or taking that creativity directly to the fans, the young woman whose in the Top 15 and climbing at Country radio with “IF YOU GO DOWN (I'M GOIN' DOWN TOO)” continues to show you can color new lines and bring people together at their most vulnerable. Everything TIMENext 100 is all about.
About Kelsea Ballerini
Two-time GRAMMY-nominated and multiple CMA Award-winning Kelsea Ballerini has logged five back-to-back Top 10 entries on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. With seven #1 singles, 31 gold and platinum RIAA certifications to date and over six billion all-time streams, her catalog boasts smashes such as the double-platinum “Miss Me More” and “Peter Pan.” Kelsea’s fourth album, SUBJECT TO CHANGE, arrived on September 23, 2022. The first single, “HEARTFIRST,” quickly took over the airwaves as the “most added song at country radio” the week of its release and was recently certified gold by the RIAA. Kelsea earned a GRAMMY® nomination for “Best Country Solo Performance” for “HEARTFIRST.” She surprised fans by releasing her intimate six-song Rolling Up the Welcome Mat (Black River) on February 14, 2023. The project and accompanying short film written and directed by Kelsea marks the multi-platinum star’s most intimate and honest work to date. Welcome Mat 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 Welcome Mat’s success, Kelsea made her Saturday Night Live debut on March 4, 2023. She recently wrapped a stint as a 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.