After releasing her third LP kelsea just as the pandemic was taking hold of the United States, Kelsea Ballerini’s plans for the new era of music didn’t go exactly as planned. After finding new ways to interact with fans, releasing an entirely stripped-down follow-up album, touring with the Jonas Brothers, and putting out a book of poetry, Ballerini is back with all new original music in over a year with her new single, “HEARTFIRST.”
Ballerini’s record kelsea showed off a raw side of the singer-songwriter who discussed topics such as leaving her hometown, the social troubles of not wanting to go out, and feeling out of place and lonely in a big, bustling city like Los Angeles. “HEARTFIRST” feels like a fresh start in every way; Ballerini isn’t taking herself seriously in this breezy, spring-time jam.
The new track was written by Ballerini alongside Alysa Vanderheym and Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild. It begins with a sweet guitar melody that’s uplifting and sweet-sounding. As the song progresses, the country-pop instrumental melts over Ballerini’s familiar vocals. In the chorus she shows off her vocal range as she exclaims, “Could be forever, or we might break / That's just the kind of risk that we take / My head is yellin' that I could get hurt / But I'm gonna jump right in, baby, with my heart first.”
Ballerini’s voice is brimming with excitement. Obviously when you listen to the song through your headphones, you can’t see her face, but it’s as if you can imagine her singing the twangy lyrics with a bright smile on her face. Within her songwriting, she captures the enthusiasm of a new relationship and she pairs it with a revitalizing pop-infused country instrumental. The pop niche genre of country can sometimes sound way too saturated, but Ballerini brings a new take with a light-hearted feeling that isn’t currently being played on country radio. “HEARTFIRST” urges listeners to roll down their car windows, dance in the sunshine, and be present.
Make sure to tune into the CMT Music Awards tonight on CBS at 8 p.m. ET to watch Kelsea Ballerini sing the new track.
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