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The Year in Country 2021: Even with two CMAs, Kelsea Ballerini still hasn’t had her “I’ve made it” moment

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Kelsea Ballerini finishes the year with a top-ten duet with Kenny Chesney that could very well go on to become the stars’ next number one.

Along the way, she also picked up her very first CMA trophies, with “Half of My Hometown” winning for both Music Video and Musical Event of the Year. 

“It’s my favorite song I’ve put out, you know,” she tells ABC Audio, “so just to have that song kinda get some love on it by my peers is a big deal. It’s also with my hometown hero. Like, there’s a lot of levels to it that make me feel really proud.”

Kelsea goes on: “When we got nominated, I FaceTimed Kenny, and we just kind of had that moment of like, ‘People like our song. Like, What a joy!’ You know, you make it because you like it, and we made it because we liked it. But to see people really kind of relating to it and catching on is exciting.”

Instead of focusing on career momentum, the East Tennessee native seems to view her success through the eyes of the Knoxville girl who dreamed these dreams.

“I still haven’t had the ‘I’ve made it’ moment, I hope I never do,” she confesses. “But yeah, there are certain moments that kinda make you look up and go, ‘Man, 12-year-old me would be losing her mind!'”

“And having a song with [Kenny] is certainly one of those,” she adds.  

In addition to touring the country with pop superstars the Jonas Brothers this year, Kelsea also released her first book of poetry, Feel Your Way Through, in November.

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