Kelsea Ballerini is the cover star of the 2023 TIME100 Next issue.
The list, which recognizes “100 emerging leaders from around the world who are shaping the future and defining the next generation of leadership,” features a cover profile with Kelsea.
In the interview, Kelsea shared about her Rolling Up The Welcome Mat EP, non-music endeavors, existing issues in country music and when she realized the new phase her career was entering.
“My first No. 1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart was huge. Also, getting asked to be a member of the Grand Ole Opry. I’ve definitely had more of those in the last 12 months than I have in my whole career. What made me notice things were shifting was [my song] ‘Penthouse,’ from singing it for the first time in Manchester to SNL to two different legs of the tour plus a Kenny Chesney tour in the middle,” says Kelsea, who also performed “Penthouse” at the 2023 MTV VMAs.
“Watching it grow from a song that was just this quiet song on this quiet EP that I released—it’s the biggest hit in my set. That song has been like the litmus test of this last year for me,” she adds.
Fellow country star Shania Twain also penned a feature write-up about Kelsea.
“She isn’t afraid to be vulnerable and really brave with her songwriting. She’s also a great friend. We have such a special relationship that is just so real, and that can be rare in our industry,” says Shania. “I watch her work incredibly hard and challenge herself, but she also has fun, and that is wonderful to see.”
Kelsea’s full interview with TIME and her TIME100 Next cover are on time.com.
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