Kelsea Ballerini: “You Take You Seriously”

How to Get Everyone Else to Do the Same

When Kelsea Ballerini sat down with fashion designer Zac Posen, I was ready to hear all about her style icons and her go-to look when she’s not on stage.

But that is not what this talk was about. At all. It was all about being genuine 24,7, empowering women, putting your goals in a Word document, transcending the stigma of country music and taking yourself seriously serious.

On being the same you all the time: “I made a promise to myself that when I got signed as an artist, that I would be the same person on Instagram as I was out to dinner with my friends, as I was onstage. Because my favorite artists are the ones that you feel like you can reach out and touch, not the ones that are in a glass box.”

On using fame to push personal politics: “Me personally, I choose not to. I feel like my job is to be positive and encouraging and empowering to women. And that’s kind of what I speak about through my music, and that’s what I use my platform for, and what I feel really, really strongly about. And I feel like that’s the influence I can make.”

On insisting on inclusiveness: “I’m constantly seeing articles about ‘Who’s your country queen,’ and it makes all of us feel like there’s only one spot. So there’s this weird, negative, competitive energy in the room. That makes you feel awkward, and like you can’t be their friend.”

On documenting your goals: “I have a goal list, actually. It’s literally a Word document. It’s important to know what you want. Because I think that people start taking you seriously when you take you seriously.”

On overcoming old-fashioned genre notions: “Country has this stigma still of like, ‘It’s all about the fiddle and the truck.’ Obviously, that’s still in the roots. But it’s about the story, and it’s about the emotions of the human heart. Not necessarily the clichés of beer, truck, dog, cheating.”

Ballerini’s next stop on tour with Keith Urban will be on Friday (June 22) just outside of Detroit.

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