While on stage and accepting the CMT Performance of the Year trophy for her Halsey duet “The Other Girl” at the 2021 CMT Music Awards, Kelsea Ballerini made a pointed statement in regards to her desire to continue to blend country with a multitude of other musical genres:
“There was a lot of chatter on ’categorically’ what genre this song did or didn’t fit into. And the fact that you voted this as the winning performance tells me that you know where my roots are and that you know who I am. But it also tells me that you hear music as music, and tells me that you love when people push boundaries and explore artistry. As I make a new record, that means the absolute world to me.”
Ballerini and Halsey became friends after meeting backstage in 2018 after Ballerini attended a Halsey concert in Nashville, Tennessee. From there, Ballerini offered to collaborate for “The Other Girl” with Halsey while both were working on projects in Los Angeles. The two women recorded the track and then debuted it in 2020 during a CMT Crossroads episode.
Pushing boundaries has become the name of the game for @KelseaBallerini, and we are HERE FOR IT! KB talks the smash that caused “chatter” and won her & @halsey Performance of the Year at the #CMTawards this weekend on #cmtHot20! pic.twitter.com/T5YmlCWI8P
— CMT Hot 20 Countdown (@cmtHot20) June 12, 2021
Regarding her thoughts on her genre-blending career intentions and aspirations — she’s also announced that she’s opening for pop stars the Jonas Brothers on dates this summer — she continued, via CMT’s Hot 20, with the following statements:
“It’s really fun to be able to look back on the music I’ve released and see what connects with people. It’s ranged from something like a crossover song with The Chainsmokers or Halsey, to when I remade my whole album Kelsea into Ballerini and it was the most country-rooted thing I’d ever done. So, I think both of these things have given me the courage and confidence to make whatever I’m going to make.”