There is a common belief in the Nashville music community that if you’re not mentoring other professionals on the rise, then you’re not doing it right.
Kelsea Ballerini was that belief personified when she took the stage as a two-time honoree at Wednesday’s (Oct. 17) 2018 CMT Artists of the Year because so many of her idols shared including Taylor Swift, Hillary Scott, Reba McEntire and Shania Twain their platform with her. She was previously honored in 2016 with then Artist of a Lifetime, Twain.
“One of the greatest gifts that has been given to me as a new artist on this short journey that I’ve been on so far is having people I grew up listening to, that I’ve watched closely, and that I’ve learned from, turn around and reach out their hand to me and share their stage with me,” Ballerini said. “That goes from Shania, to Reba, to Alison freakin’ Krauss, to Hillary, to Taylor. And I think what I’ve learned from that is how important it is to lift each other up, to support each other and to share our stage no matter how big or how small it is. I just wanted to say to CMT, thank you for being the one to change a conversation into an action tonight.”
All of the honorees who performed onstage throughout the night got to pick the songs they played. Ballerini’s choice was “Ghost in This House” with Alison Krauss from Krauss’ 1999 album, Forget About It.