At 29, Kelsea Ballerini celebrates the release of her fifth studio album while also navigating the end of her marriage.
She told CBS News’ Anthony Mason that while she used to be terrified of the change, she’s embracing it now.
These days, life is complicated for Ballerini, who recently kicked off his headlining tour at Radio City Music Hall in New York City: “I’ve made this show, if I may say so, really special. It’s almost like a Broadway musical.”
“How involved are you in all of that?” Mason asked.
“Oh, I’m crazy.”
“Must you enjoy it on some level?”
“Oh, I love it. I love it. It’s coming to life, this thing I’ve been working on in a studio for two years.”
Ballerini, who recorded five #1 country hits, is celebrating the release of her new album, “Subject to Change.” The title song alludes to a big change in his own life. Just before the album’s release, she announced that she would be getting a divorce.
“I think when there’s a big life decision like that, it’s not sudden,” he said. “And a lot of things happen before they go public. So, I’m on my active healing journey. And a big part of that is coming forward for this album and showing myself like I’ve never done before.”
From “Subject to change”:
I’m subject to going from zero to feeling obsessed
A happy and laughing, then upset
But if one thing is the same
Is that I’m subject to change, yes
Ballerini, now 29, recently split from Australian country singer Morgan Evans, whom he married when he was 24. “I am a peacemaker,” she said. “We’ve talked about this before. I like to please people. So doing something that goes against those two things is really hard. And I’m really proud of myself.”
“You get wrecked when you go through that,” Mason said.
“Yeah. It’s tough. It’s tough too, it’s not chaotic. It’s not, like, volatile, it just didn’t work. And that’s sometimes like a hard narrative to understand when you’re like, ‘Oh my God. This is a good person. . And I’m a good person. And this is no longer good.'”
From “Love is a Cowboy”:
Makes your heart feel like wild horses in your chest
Trying to catch, is like trying to tame a wild wild west
And when I’m with him, it’s like tying the wind
Love is a cowboy.
Mason asked, “Does a person often feel like they’ve failed in situations like that?”
“Yes. Oh, God. Yes. It’s easy to embarrass yourself and it’s easy to want to hide,” he said. “I just want to be proud of myself 10 years from now in this season of my life.
“This is not just a heavy moment in my life. This is also a celebration moment in my life. I don’t want to overshadow that, because it’s important to feel it.”
From “The Little Things”:
Back to basics ’cause they’re bigger than they look, yeah
They’re bigger than they look, yeah
Give me that typical love, simple,
It’s the little things
At the same time, Ballerini admits he’s still struggling, even after releasing an upbeat new single last month. “It was like my weekend fell apart,” he said.
On social media, she shared this vulnerable video of herself listening to a song called “Complex”:
Mason asked, “What made you post that?”
“I just wanted people to remember that I feel my feelings too. And it’s a lot. It’s a lot.”
“I think in these situations you often end up asking yourself a lot of questions about who you really are.”
“O yes or yes!” she laughed.
“How did you answer them?”
“I think I’m actively responding to all of that. But I think the things I’m learning are, I’m loyal. And that’s a really weird thing to say, going through a divorce.”
“I don’t think that’s weird at all.”
“But I think loyalty is broader than just yourself. I think loyalty is something you have to start with yourself.”
In his song “Doin’ My Best,” Ballerini lists a number of difficult moments he’s been through, including one with a famous friend:
i was friends with a pop star
I put ’em on track four
but i wish i could get it back
Ballerini doesn’t name her, but the artist on track four of her last album was Halsey.
“It’s not a diss track. And I feel like I need to specify that,” he laughed. “Sometimes when you mix friendship and careers and work together, I guess it gets weird. And, you know, I essentially lost a friend.”
“I was curious,” Mason said. “You put it in the song.”
“I put it in the song. Yeah. I have a lot of respect for the person that I had that song with and had that friendship with and, like, I want nothing but the best.”
Last month at an ACM event, she honored a friend and mentor: Shania Twain. “I loved performing for her,” she said.
Ballerini appeared in the same outfit that Shania had worn to the 1999 Grammys. “We had, like, a day with that. So, I was like, I wish it fit? And it did! Thank God.”
Mason said, “She’s watching you from the audience and singing along with you, that’s got to be special.”
“The best part of that night was that after the show we had dinner and ended up having a glass of wine on her balcony until 2:00 am and talking about life. What a gift.”
Kelsea Ballerini not only has a lot to talk about these days, she also has a lot to write about.
“I have to,” she said. “It’s healthy for me to go ahead and get it out. But I’m doing it for myself. I don’t know if I’ll ever get it out. I don’t know when I will.” get something else. I need a break after this. I need to put my life back together!”
“Chapters, you have to write them and you have to finish them,” Mason said.
“Uh-huh. And then you have to turn the page.”