Kelsea Ballerini Let Herself Be 23

Four New Album Tracks That Feel Age Appropriate

When Kelsea Ballerini started writing and recording songs for Unapologetically, her second album, she said she had to act her age.

“I had to let myself be 23,” Ballerini told Vulture.

“I think for a while I tried to get back into the headspace that I made my first album in. But not only was I 19, I had never done any of this. I was so na├»ve. I was so green. I’m not that girl anymore.”

She said she had to figure out what insecurities had changed since making The First Time — her 2015 debut album — and which insecurities she’d conquered.

“If I can openly and vulnerably talk about (changes), then the majority of the people that listen to it will identify with probably one of those emotions, whether they’re younger or older,” she said.

Ballerini also revealed the thinking behind a few of her most essential tracks.

“Roses”: “(The) moment where you decide to look back fondly on a relationship, not to look back in anger or bitterness. You’re just like, ‘We were good for a moment.'”

“High School”: “It’s about when you leave home and you come back and realize how you’ve changed and they haven’t. I feel like a lot of people go through that transition, whether it’s moving away to college or moving away to chase your dream in New York. I was the girl in the song. That was a story I wrote that was so real.”

“I Hate Love Songs”: “(This) is a quirky way of saying, ‘I feel myself falling in love with you, but I kinda don’t wanna.'”

And of the album’s title track, Ballerini said it’s simply about that moment when you’re like, “I’m in.”

Unapologetically is due out Nov. 3.

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