Kelsea Ballerini insists that she is finally happy, but that it has taken her a lot of work to get there in the wake of her divorce from Morgan Evans.
The US country star, 29, and fellow musician Evans, 37, were married for five years before going their separate ways last November.
On Valentine’s Day, Ballerini dropped candid new EP Rolling Up The Welcome Mat and an accompanying short film about the breakdown of a relationship. It wouldn’t take a mathematician to work out that it was inspired by her split from Morgan, which she described in a recent interview with the Call Her Daddy podcast as “nasty”.
Sitting down with the Standard, Ballerini – who is currently in the UK for a sold-out tour to promote latest album Subject To Change, including a date at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire on Saturday – was in good spirits.
“I’m happy! I mean that deeply. It has taken me a lot of work to get to this place sitting with you, but I’m in a good space,” she said.
“I think sometimes when you ‘blow up your life’ and I put it in quotes because it’s a lyric on the EP I just released, you get to the other side and you’re like, ‘Oh, that wasn’t… I’m ok’, and so now I’m just kind of figuring out what this new season of my life looks, feels and sounds like.”
It’s a big year for Ballerini both professionally and personally.
Not only did track Heartfirst secure her a third Grammy nomination, she’s co-hosting this year’s CMT Music Awards for the third year in-a-row.
She’s also making her Saturday Night Live debut as the music guest on March 4, where she will be performing songs from her EP for the first time – something she calls both “kismet and exciting”.
There’s also the matter of Ballerini turning 30 this year.
Reflecting on what she wants to achieve as she approaches the milestone, she said: “I think I’m so open right now in my life. For the longest time I was so zoomed in on, ‘Ok, I am a country singer’. Everything revolves around this one facet of my life and I don’t know if it’s with age or like a little bit of success, or maybe a culmination of a lot of things, but I think finally I am asking myself, ‘What else?’
“I think with a lot of women that I respect and look up to, whether it’s Shania [Twain] or Reese Witherspoon or whoever it is, these women do so many things and have their hands in so many creative outlets and stuff because it makes them happy and it feeds their overall passion, and I think I’m finally asking myself those questions and nothing is off the table anymore.”
Acting is definitely a route that she would like to consider and she’s hoping to put out a second collection of poetry after releasing her first book, Feel Your Way Through: A Book of Poetry, in 2021.
The Dibs hit-maker – who is reportedly in a new relationship with Outer Banks actor Chase Stokes – is bursting with ideas about other things she wants to achieve before hitting the big 3-0.
She said: “I want to host a pool party. I bought a house and it has a pool and I’ve never gotten to host a pool party before.
“I want to start to make another record, but not rush it. I want to go to Hawaii.”