Allow us to introduce you to this “homecoming queen?”
She is all of us, and no one paints a better picture of her than Kelsea Ballerini. With the brand new song she penned with Jimmy Robbins and Nicolle Galyon and a music video from director Shane Drake coming out at the same time, Ballerini is poised to show the world her very real, vulnerable, insecure self. The one who knows that it’s okay to not be okay.
CMT.com had the chance to ask Ballerini about all the emotions that went into making the video, and it sounds like the revealing nature of it is exactly the point she’s trying to make: that it takes guts to strip away the glam. But seeing Ballerini do it make the rest of us more inclined to follow suit.
Are you actually giving us permission to show the world the real us, even when we’re not okay?
When I talk about this song with Jimmy Robbins and Nicolle Galyon, who I wrote it with, permission is the word that we always use. It’s really about allowing yourself to feel. And that can be happy and that can be sad. Either way, it’s okay. For me, being someone who overshares a lot of their life, I do get scared sometimes to maybe show that I’m having a bad day or show that comments hurt my feelings sometimes. Everyone’s human. It’s important for people to know that we’re all allowed to break down, we’re allowed to have bad days, and we don’t always have thick skin.
What’s the significance of the camera spinning around you and everything else falling away?
That was like movie magic. It was the craziest thing. You never see anything change. But every time we’d cut, they’d remove the walls or do another take and add in the little girl. Every time the camera spins around, something changes: something goes away, something comes in, my eyelashes come off. There’s always a change happening to go from A to B.
When you start gradually revealing yourself, what do you hope your fans take away from that?
The idea of going from glam to just raw and real was what the whole video was built around. It was for that moment. That was definitely the moment where we wanted that reveal for people to understand what it’s all about. Every time I play it for someone, that’s always the moment when they get it. And that’s the reaction we wanted. We want people to get it then.
How did get yourself to cry so genuinely at the end of the video?
I’m not an actress. It’s really hard for me to emote with cameras on me. It’s just not my thing. We had done that last take a couple of times, and Shane Drake the director came in. I was sitting in the chair and he knelt down with me, and said, “Hey, we have what we need. We’re totally covered. It’s a great video. We’re gonna do one more just in case. And I know you wrote the song, and I just want to know why you wrote it.” And he walked out. And immediately I went back to that place where I was feeling really insecure and really vulnerable and unsure of a lot in my life. I just checked into that girl, and wept. Hard. As soon as I was done, instead of them yelling “cut,” it was just quiet and I walked out of the room.
Did you know someone like the girl in this song?
In some sense, we’re all this person. I think we all don’t show everything that’s going on. Whether we’re embarrassed or we feel guilt or shame or the status of having to feel always zipped up and together. I know I feel that all the time. Everyone’s story is different. For me, it’s just about, “Yes. I sweep a lot of stuff under the rug to make it look pretty. But that doesn’t mean it’s a clean house.”
Here are a few behind-the-scenes photos of Ballerini’s “homecoming queen?” video shoot: