But that’s not all he’s celebrating. Ballard recently teamed with the CMA Foundation and Chevrolet for the opening of the Notes for Notes youth recording studio in Detroit.
“I really loved the idea of telling kids that it was OK to be an artist,” he said. “I think when you’re young and you’re brainstorming, you have so many different ideas and you’re not sure what to do with that. This place tells those kids that it’s OK to take something throw it against the wall and see if it sticks.”
Notes for Notes is an organization that gives youth the opportunity to try a variety of instruments and create music free of charge.
“I believe that this place will reach its finger into this community and realize that positive change is happening in Detroit, and it really needs it and this neighborhood needs it and these kids need it.
“Studios can be really intimidating, but once they come in here and get comfortable and they realize it’s OK to be a little bit loud on the drum kit and, oh, this is how a microphone works, it’s just so positive and there’s so much learning on top of it, I just can’t say enough.”
In addition to providing access to equipment, it also educates young people about careers in the music industry.
“I hate to see music education being slashed, because music is not just all fun and games and parties,” Ballard said. “Music is an important part of our culture. Music is an art form that the culture uses to grow and to help each other and to be positive.”
He’s been inspired by what he’s seen already.
“What’s cool about these kids is that whatever time they spent here, when they leave, they’re going to be better,” he said
For more country music news, tune in to CMT Hot 20 Countdown this Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 5-6) at 9 a.m. ET/PT.