Kelsea Ballerini’s Beautiful Vulnerability on Unapologetically

Goes Back to Central High School; Talks New Album, Taylor Swift and More

Last fall, when Kelsea Ballerini made her headlining debut at the historic Tennessee Theatre in her hometown of Knoxville, the sold-out audience was full of the people who love her most.

Her high school choir teacher Beckye Thomas was there watching on the main floor as Ballerini sang the night away performing selections from her gold-selling debut The First Time.

On Saturday (Oct. 28), Ballerini will return to her alma mater Central High School in Knoxville to kick off the album launch week for her sophomore release Unapologetically. Like the Tennessee Theatre, Central High is another sacred place in Ballerini’s history.

Before she moved to Nashville, Central was the beginning of her musical journey and everything she experienced there served as the inspiration for some of her earliest songs. The first time she ever performed an original she wrote was on Central’s stage.

“Those are the years in middle school and high school where you feel awkward,” Ballerini told “Those weird tensions of your first crush, your first heartbreak, girls being mean, social media coming up and body image issues — I walked through all of that at that school.

“Plus, I was really serious about moving to Nashville and being a singer. And so those two years were just me writing like crazy.”

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