Kelsea Ballerini on post-divorce album ‘Subject to Change’: ‘I admit life is very messy’

What is the title of Kelsea Ballerini’s new album? Planned changeand that certainly sums up her current state of mind. divorce from husbandafter almost five years of marriage, to fellow country singer Morgan Evans. As we begin a new chapter, she reveals her most vulnerable record to date.

“Obviously we have changed a lot in the last few years because life is coercion To us …and in my twenties these past few years, I feel so grown up. The country/pop superstar, who just turned 29, says: Planned change represented my life.represented everyone’s life, and it took me thematically through the stories I was writing. Are you going to do it?” I went back and forth. And it got very internal and very personal to set the tone for the whole record. ”

This isn’t the first time Ballerini has looked inward to create her own art. Planned change It offers a companion piece of sorts for her 2021 book of confessional poems. Feel Your Way Throughfrom her body image issues, to witnessing a school shooting as a teenager, to the backlash she received for what some considered her tone-deaf and simplistic. , wrote about everything. Tweet Reaction to country star Morgan Warren’s use of racial slurs.

Kelsey Ballerini (Photo: Black River Records)

“write in Feel Your Way Through Some of it is light, some of it is like a funny story, and some of it certainly covers a lot of trauma that I have never talked about before,” says Ballerini. “I felt free to release the book. I think it unlocked this part of my creativity. soul, as crazy as it sounds. I felt that the people connected to it gave me the confidence to keep pushing in that direction.So there are certain songs [on Subject to Change] You hear it’s almost a little Harshhow honest

Ballerini mentions two Planned change The tracks “Marilyn” and “Doin’ My Best” were selected as “probably the heartiest” songs.The former is inspired by Marilyn Monroe, the ultimate idealized/objectified woman, and in a way is Ballerini’s Feel Your Way Through In the poem “Kangaroo”, she writes about her battle with body dysmorphia and a past eating disorder. “Marilyn is a metaphor for this song for me,” explains the singer-songwriter. “To me Marilyn represents a woman who expresses herself in one way and feels deeply in another. I think everyone sympathizes.”

“Doin’ My Best,” like Ballerini’s poem “The Right of History,” addresses Warren’s aforementioned social media controversy. In that song, she sings about being “kicked in the ass on Twitter,” telling Yahoo Entertainment, “Honestly, I haven’t had Twitter since, but it was a good lesson for me. I think I’m a chronic people pleaser. Being an artist and a public figure, I really had to learn how to stand up for what I believe in. Sometimes I stumble and do the wrong thing, and you know, I didn’t do it all right. Purpose One thing, but I think it’s a counterargument [that Wallen tweet] I didn’t acknowledge the systemic racism that occurred — I completely understand that. I stepped back, listened, and learned. … I got my butt kicked and I learned a lot from it. ”

Ballerini adds with a laugh.

Ballerini says she took a step back from social media in general for her mental health. , why don’t you just post the beautiful parts of your life and not open yourself up anymore?” I am very sensitive and feel everything. Or, ‘Are you working on yourself in therapy…and finding the tools to open your mind?'”

Ballerini has been an avid advocate for mental health awareness in the country music community for years. She said, “Growing up in Knoxville, Tennessee, it wasn’t something anyone talked about. For example, she didn’t even know the word ‘mental health,’ she says. “I was forced into therapy twice because of two different events that happened to me when I was younger. One was my parents’ divorce and the other was the school shooting I wrote about in my book. It wasn’t a choice for me, so my relationship with talk therapy and mental health in my younger years was very negative. wasn’t even interested in rediscovering my path to mental health. And taking care of my heart and soul like that has been a very important part of my life.”

Opening up about her past traumas, including witnessing the murder of her classmate Ryan McDonald in the 2008 cafeteria shooting at Knoxville Central High School, is the inspiration behind her poem, His Name. influenced Ryan. “This was one of the last poems I wrote for the book, and I remember sending drafts to some very close friends. All the big things that have made you, you’re leaving something behind.Maybe it’s time for you to talk about it.And that was what I needed.”

Writing about her life has also fostered a strong bond between Ballerini and her fans. “When you talk about big things like body dysmorphisms, eating disorders, gun violence, family breakdowns, whatever it is… being able to have a conversation about anything automatically builds community.” She explains.. ‘And having a community helps us move things healthier and faster. [from the school shooting]i am a performer and i am on stage a lot so i have to say that if there is a pyro around, otherwise it is not a good day for me.It’s something I deal with on a regular basis so just putting that information out there hopefully helps you understand my reactions to certain things [onstage]”

Ballerini has used her platform to criticize country music, inspired by radio consultant Keith Hill’s use of the insulting salad analogy to describe male artists as “lettuce” and female artists as “lettuce.” He has spoken out in a variety of ways, including addressing the “Tomato Gate” scandal. A simple tomato garnish. Ballerini’s success (she has four of her No. 1 singles on the country airplay charts and is the only female country singer to reach No. 1 with her three consecutive singles, the first from her debut album). artist) has reopened the door to women’s country. artist. And Ballerini said, “I see it shifting a little bit and starting to be more inclusive. I hope.” But she admits she still has a long way to go.

Kelsey Ballerini (Photo: Black River Records)

Kelsey Ballerini (Photo: Black River Records)

“I mean, I want to say [things are changing at radio], but I look at the chart.where did i check obviously [the Subject to Change single] “Heart First” is today and I think there is something like three Top 40 women. So I don’t know. All I know is what I control — and all I control is appearing as a woman in country music, lifting up other women I believe in, etc. writing with women, working with women, producers, working with women on my team.

“On this record I’m collaborating with Carly Pierce, whom I’ve only known for about 10 years. We’ve seen each other all our lives and every season of our careers, and we’ve always wanted to make songs together. And Kelly Clarkson has been like my crazy idol from the start— I asked Kelly to be part of the song and she did the vocals that night. It’s a song called ‘You’re Drunk, Go Home’ and it’s like a country cheeky bombshell. i’m really excited about that. Her two women from separate genres who respect each other love joining. In a business sense, I just want to be surrounded by creatively magnificent women. that’s it what I control. And I think that’s how real change happens when more women have that opportunity.”

Ballerini was approaching her thirties and became a single woman. She’s amazed that her fans have joined her on her journey, even when she’s made mistakes or shown less beautiful parts of her life. “I accept that life is so messy and multifaceted,” she thinks. …I feel that the more deeply I can go into a topic that I feel strongly about, the better.

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