kelsea love me

Singer/songwriter and Justine cover girl Kelsea Ballerini may be relatively new on the country music scene, but she is hitting the ground running and making a name for herself in a major way. This 22-year-old country starlet is definitely on the rise, although she admits that she’s still a bit dazzled by the glitz and glam of the music industry and her whirlwind success. It all began when she released her first single, “Love Me Like You Mean It,” in late 2014. Then she was named Billboard’s Top New Country Artist in 2015, and she was nominated for an American Music Award and two CMA awards. She appeared as a guest on Taylor Swift’s 1989 Tour, and she also went on the road with Hunter Hayes, Lady Antebellum and Sam Hunt. There’s no stopping this girl, and we can’t wait to see what she does next. Check out some excerpts from her exclusive interview with Justine below!

On her country music idols: “My whole personal history of country music has had Carrie [Underwood] and Miranda [Lambert] in it from the beginning. To be in categories with them is so out of this world to me.”

On competition in the music industry: “I think it’s so easy for girls to be competitive, but it’s been a beautiful thing this year, with people like Maddie and Tae; we’ve formed an amazing bond. We support each other and we’re excited for  each other.”

On writing vs. performing: “I don’t think I would be an artist if I wasn’t a songwriter. For me that’s kind of the basis of who I am as an artist. I think [writing and performing] go hand in hand.”

On her relationship with her fans: “I just always want to be approachable, I always want people to feel like if they tweet me, it’s going to be me that tweets them back.”

On being true to yourself: “I think it’s so important to know that everyone just has their own path. If you’re alone in your path for a little bit, that is okay. That is so okay. If you want to be something different, just know that’s okay.”

For our full interview with Kelsea, grab our February/March issue here!