Kelsa Ballerini opens up about post-divorce album ‘Subject to Change’: ‘I just have to admit that life is so messy’

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Kelsea Ballerini’s new album is titled subject to change, and it certainly tells his state of mind right now. She experienced a major change in her personal life, announcing that she is divorcing her husband, fellow country singer Morgan Evans, after nearly five years of marriage. And while she doesn’t discuss the details of the split in her Yahoo Entertainment interview—which was conducted a few days before the couple’s announcement—as she begins a new chapter, both personally and professionally, she’s at her best yet. Opens up about a weak record.

“Obviously, we’ve all changed a lot over the years, because life has Compelled Us. …and I think over the years, in my twenties, I’ve grown a lot. I’ve learned so much about myself in this extra space that we’ve been forced to,” says the country/pop superstar, who has just turned 29. And I loved that subject to change represented my life. it represents everyone’s life, and it took me through the story I was writing. And so, we just kind of went back and forth, like, ‘Do we make it broad, or do we just make it so much about ourselves?’ And we were going very, very personal to set the tone for the whole record.

This is hardly the first time a ballerini has looked inward to the making of his art. subject to change Serves a companion piece to her 2021 Confessional Poetry book, feel your wayEverything about her, from her body-image issues to watching a school shooting as a teen, was received by some for her tone-deaf and simplistic, if well-meaning wrote something, Tweet Responding to country star Morgan Wallen’s use of racial slurs.

Kelsea Ballerini (Photo: Black River Records)

“Writing feel your way was super-cathartic, obviously, because some of it is lighter, and some of it is kind of weird stories, and some of it is things I’ve definitely never talked about before and there’s a lot of trauma involved. ,” Ballerini says. “I felt very free to release that book, and I think it opened up this part of my creativity, but just like me. Soul, as crazy as it sounds. I felt the way people associated with it gave me confidence to keep moving in that direction. So, there are some songs [on Subject to Change] that you hear and it’s almost a little ConflictHow honest.”

Ballerini cites two subject to change Tracks, such as “Marilyn” and “Don’ My Best,” “probably opened my chest the most.” The former, the ultimate idealist/objective woman, inspired by Marilyn Monroe, is linked to a ballerini in a way feel your way The poem “Kangaroo”, in which she wrote about her body dysmorphia and past battles with eating disorders. “Marilyn is a metaphor in this song for me,” explains the singer-songwriter. “Marilyn to me in this context represents a woman who presents herself one way, and deeply feels the other. I definitely can relate to that, and I think that with social media.” , maybe everyone can relate to it.”

As for “Don’t be my best”, that track, like Ballerini’s poem “The Right of History”, addresses her aforementioned Wallen social media controversy. In that song, she sings about her “kicking the ass on Twitter”, and she tells Yahoo Entertainment, “Honestly, I don’t have Twitter, and that was a good lesson for me. I guess That I’m a chronic folk-pleaser, and being an artist and a public figure, I’ve really had to learn how to stand up for the things I believe in. But sometimes when you’re like that If you do, you’re going to stumble and you’re going to do it wrong. And, you know, I didn’t completely fix it. … I think that intention one thing, but I refute that [that Wallen tweet] Was I not accepting that systemic racism – which I completely understand. I withdrew, I listened, I learned. … I got my ass kicked, and I learned a lot from it. And I completely take ownership of it.”

The ballerini laughs, “And I really don’t miss Twitter at all!”

Ballerini says he took a step back from social media in general for his mental health. “I honestly think after that incident I realized I had a choice. It was like, ‘Should I just shut up and post the beautiful parts of my life, and not open myself up to it right now? ‘ Because I’m really sensitive and I feel it all, and I think that’s what makes me good at my job. Or, ‘Do I work on myself personally in therapy…and be open’ Looking for more equipment?'”

Ballerini has been a strong advocate for mental health awareness in the country music community for years, and she’s an advocate of her own—but that wasn’t always the case. “Grown up in Knoxville, Tenn., it was never something that anyone talked about. Like, I didn’t even know the word “mental health,” she says. “With me when I was younger I was forced to go to therapy twice because of two different things that happened: one was my parents’ divorce, and one was the school shooting I wrote about in the book. Nor was my option to go. And so, my short relationship with talk therapy and just mental health was very negative. It wasn’t until I grew up, and people started to generalize and talk about it in the media, that I was even interested in rediscovering that path to mental health. … I would say that the last five years are really when I started taking care of myself in this way. And it’s been such an important part of my life, to take care of my mind and my mind and my soul.”

Opening up about her past traumas—like the experience of killing her classmate Ryan McDonald during the 2008 cafeteria shooting at Central High School in Knoxville that inspired her poem “His Name Was Ryan”—has helped her heal. has helped. “It was one of the last poems I wrote for the book, and I remember sending drafts to some of my closest friends, and my friend Christina was like, ‘If you’re going to go out there and talk. There have been all the big things that made you, you’re leaving something. Maybe it’s time to talk about it.’ And that’s what I needed.”

Writing about her life has also fueled the ballerini’s strong bond with her fans. “When you talk about big things, whether it’s body dysmorphia, eating disorders, gun violence, family breakdown, whatever… when you’re able to have a conversation about something, You automatically build community,” she explains. “And when you have community, you’re able to move through things, much healthier and faster. Like, I still suffer from PTSD. [from the school shooting], I’m a performer and I’m on stage a lot, so I have to point out that it’s not a good day for me if there’s Pyro around or not. It’s a lot that I do on a regular basis, so I think just putting that information out there, I hope, helps people understand my reaction to some things. [onstage],

Ballerini has leveraged his platform to speak in a number of ways, including addressing the “tomato-gate” when radio consultant Keith Hill used a derogatory salad analogy, referring to male performers as “lettuce” and female performers as “lettuce”. was described in. Tomato garnish only. It could be argued that Ballerini’s success (she had four #1 singles on the Country Airplay chart, and is the only female country artist to hit #1 with her first three consecutive singles from the debut album) opened doors to women. have been reopened. Country artist. And Ballerini says, “I see that starting to change a little bit and become more inclusive; I’m hopeful.” But she believes there is still a long way to go.

Kelsea Ballerini (Photo: Black River Records)

Kelsea Ballerini (Photo: Black River Records)

“I mean, I want to say” [things are changing at radio], but then I look at the chart. I clearly checked where [the Subject to Change single] ‘Heartfirst’ is today, and I think so three Women in the top 40. So, I don’t know. All I know is that I’m in control — and what I’m in control of is appearing as a woman in country music, raising other women I believe in, writing with other women. Working with women, producers, working with the women on my team.

“I have a collab on this record with Carly Pierce, who I’ve known for 10 years now. We’ve seen each other for so many lives and every season of our careers and have always wanted to sing together. And Then Kelly Clarkson, who’s been like my crazy idol from the start – I asked Kelly to be a part of the song, and she did the vocals that night. It’s called ‘You’re drunk, go home’, and it’s just like the country’s little sassy bomb. I am really excited about it. I love having two women of different genre, that everyone respect each other, be a part of it. I just want to surround myself with epic women creatively, in a business sense. he is What is under my control? And I think when more women have the opportunity to do that, real change happens. ,

As the ballerini approaches her thirties as a newly single woman, she wonders how fans have supported her in her journey, even when she made mistakes or showed off the less beautiful parts of her life. “I just accept that life is so messy and so multifaceted,” she says. “When it’s good, it’s good, and we should feel it. But when it’s not it’s not and we should feel it too. … I think the more deeply I delve into those subjects I can leave, the better.

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