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Kelsea Ballerini on Becoming a Country Music Ambassador

Talks “This Feeling” and Other Top Country-Pop Collaborations Taking Over

Looking at the pop music landscape, it’s easy to see female country singers are the genre’s top ambassadors at the moment.

Kacey Musgraves and Maren Morris toured the world this year with One Direction’s Harry Styles and Niall Horan, respectively. Then there’s Morris’ massive earworm “The Middle” with Zedd and Grey. And now Kelsea Ballerini has her duet with the Chainsmokers, “This Feeling.”

“I’ve never really done a [pop] collaboration before,” Ballerini told CMT.com recently. “I did one song with [Jason] Aldean, and we recorded it separately, and we’ve never sung it live together. And so this is my first [pop] collaboration. I’ve always wanted to work with them, and I’ve covered their songs on tour, and we’ve been friends for a couple of years. The right song came along. It’s a big trend right now having country and EDM collide a bit.”

Ballerini also said that country musicians delving into pop wasn’t necessarily a new thing and emphasized that country-pop collaborations aren’t exclusive to women, either.

“I think it’s a really cool time because ‘Meant to Be,’ and ‘Body Like a Back Road’ [are huge],” Ballerini added, “not leaving the men out because they’re a big part of it, too. But yeah, Maren, obviously ‘The Middle’ is the biggest song pop music’s had in the last two years I think. And then collaborating with the Chainsmokers, I think the cool thing about all of that is people that think they don’t like country music will hear it, and then they’ll go listen to country music, and then they’ll realize they’re wrong.”

Ballerini is among the 2018 CMT Artists of the Year with Morris, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman and Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott. They will be honored during the all-star special premiering live from Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center on Oct. 17 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

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Lauren Tingle is a Tennessean and storyteller who eats music for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When she’s not writing or rocking out, she enjoys yoga and getting lost in the great outdoors.