Kelsea Ballerini’s Grammy Wakeup Call

How She Learned She Was a Nominee

In all of Kelsea Ballerini‘s 23 years, it had to be the absolute best kind of a wakeup call.

“I woke up to the sound of my phone just dinging over and over and over again,” Ballerini said of the Dec. 6 Grammy nominations announcement.

She admitted to People that she did know the nominations were coming and that, yes, she was wishing and hoping and wanting her name to be on the list.

“I would love to say that I casually forgot that the nominations were coming out and it wasn’t on my radar, but that’s just a flat-out lie!” she said.

“I was really anxious about it. Being validated by getting played on the radio and getting to headline a tour has been incredible, and it’s been super fulfilling,” she said of her best new artist nomination.

The Grammys, though. Ballerini said this awards show is the pinnacle of music.

“It’s your peers looking at the work you’ve done and saying, ‘We like this. This is good.’ And I really wanted that,” she said, calling the particular all-genre category one that validates her as a songwriter.

“Working on my second album right now, it just gave me this new confidence that I think I really needed that I’m thankful for,” she said.

When the Grammys air on Feb. 12, Ballerini will be in the best new artist category with Maren Morris, the Chainsmokers, Chance the Rapper and Anderson .Paak.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.