Kelsea Ballerini Celebrates Historic Number One

First time chart-topper talks dreams, Rihanna and pizza in a party celebrating “Love Me Like You Mean It”

After much talk in 2010 about the deficiency of feminine presence on country radio, country’s newest hit female, Kelsea Ballerini, celebrated her first Number One, “Love Me Like You Mean It,” which has a party Monday brimming with awards and gratitude on Nashville’s Music Row.

More than simply her first Number One, the gold-certified “Love Me Like You Mean It” also marks the 1st time a solo female has held radio’s top spot since 2013 (Carrie Underwood’s “Blown Away”), also it makes Ballerini certainly one of only 11 females ever to notch a Number One back with her debut single.

Lively, light-hearted and romantic, the song rings true to a 21-year-old’s trials of love and was co-written by Ballerini with Josh Kerr, Forrest Glen Whitehead and Lance Carpenter. But rather than appearing in a scheduled writing session, the nation newcomer says her debut’s inspiration originated in an unlikely source — every night of eating pizza and hearing Rihanna’s “Take a Bow.”

“All of any sudden we had been so inspired from the swag along with the sass she had for an artist on that song,” Ballerini told Rolling Stone Country prior to party. “I wasn’t even signed being an artist yet, but i was all determined to build a ‘sound’ to me together being a group, knowning that night marked the starting of it.”

For their part, her co-writers all agreed Ballerini’s sound is generally of her making – which can be something many young artists aren’t ready for yet.

“The biggest thing is she knows who she’s and what she’d like to say,” said Kerr. “There are invariably ideas that can come about, but she knows, ‘This is just how I would say this and I have this style.’ It just equates of her naturally, that is very unique. Not lots of people are capable of doing that.”

It seemed to be the first Number One for every single of the co-writers, and so the party was stuffed with industry colleagues, relatives and buddies. Held in the white-marbled lobby on the performing rights organization ASCAP’s headquarters, the party kicked off having a speech from Senior Creative Director Mike Sistad, who recalled first meeting Ballerini when she was only 15. The time wasn’t right back then, but after offering a round of plaques signifying her and her co-writers’ achievement, Sistad said he fully supposed to be celebrating at more of these parties down the road.

Celia Forehlig — the second in command of publishing at Ballerini’s record label, Black River Entertainment — coaxed the very first round of tears from your singer, saying, “When your dreams become a reality, mine becoming reality.” After sharing a heartfelt hug, Forehlig also given out a round of plaques, asking if maybe she should cling on to them since a great number of were yet to return.

“We’ll take ’em,” Kerr shot back by having an eager smile.

Love Me Like You Mean It


Other plaques, trophies and medallions then arrived in the Country Aircheck, Country Radio Broadcasters and Country Music Association organizations, lastly it was time to hear from your writers themselves.

Carpenter started off by thanking Ballerini to be with her hard work, using the song seem to fans and r / c and generally “busting her ass.” He was soon overcome by emotion. “Y’ll see a big ol’ country boy cry,” the Arkansas native joked, wiping away tears. “I’ll do cart wheels later to even it.”

Carpenter closed using a poignant thought on per night of firsts: “Dreams,” he explained. “If you might have ’em, chase ’em. If you don’t, get ’em. They become a.”

Kerr also found himself overcome with emotion, saying, “I would not think I could do that, but Celia just knew it for whatever reason. . . We were eating pizza and enjoying Rihanna — not really country — now we’re here.”

And for Whitehead, special thanks and praise were to ensure that Ballerini.

“She not simply blew me away like a songwriter, however when I got her behind a mic she made you sense what she wrote,” said the song’s co-writer/producer. “That’s essential, because pretty girls carrying guitars with this town have become common, but pretty girls carrying musical instrument that can write the hell out of your song thus making you believe it are extremely rare.”

A huge roar filled the area as the budding star took the podium, and tears begun to well in the eyes before she may even get her first sentence out.

“This is usually a room packed with dreamers,” said Ballerini. “And being dreamers a person looks forward lots. You look toward goals which you set and you peer forward to a Number One, however, you don’t often look back. Last night on the very un-glamorous red-eye flight from Las Vegas, I started looking back.”

Saying she spent a good deal of time contemplating her supporters and believers, the many demos, every one of the setbacks and each of the struggle, she thanked her colleagues with humility and grace and ended having a promise: “Right now I see a Wednesday night which has a box of pizza and ‘Take a Bow’ around the radio, Forrest saying, ‘Kelsea, you want a song with swag,’ and me saying ‘OK,'” she laughed. “It wasn’t likely to work, however it did. Thank you for already making looking back look so beautiful. And looking forward, I really only want to make you all proud.”

Ballerini’s second single, “Dibs,” is now rising in the Top 35 on Billboard’s country airplay chart. She’ll be joining Dan + Shay this be seduced by the Just the Right Kind of Crazy tour.

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