2021 ACM Awards: Kelsea Ballerini readies for 'full circle moment' with Kenny Chesney

Tune in Sunday night to watch the Knoxville, TN natives honor their hometown on-stage at the ACM Awards.
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Female artist of the Year nominee Kelsea Ballerini took some time to catch up with Audacy's Kelly Ford ahead of The 56th Annual ACM Awards this Sunday.

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In addition to her nomination, Ballerini is set to take the stage to perform her song “half of my hometown” featuring Country great, Kenny Chesney who will accompany her on the ACM stage.

“If I could go back and tell little me driving around Knoxville, listening to songs like, ‘I Go Back,’ and thinking how crazy it was he was from the same place, if I could go tell her that we were going to sing this song about our hometown together on a stage like the ACMs, I’d just, I’d pass out,” Ballerini shared in her time with Kelly Ford. “It’s very cool and very full circle.”

While it’s sure to be a career highlight for Kelsea, she isn’t the only one who might be caught "fangirling," during the performance.

“Both my mom and my dad are very proud,” Ballerini said when asked about their reaction. “When I did ‘Hole in the Bottle’ with Shania [Twain] and now there’s this with Kenny… I think that’s what they get most excited about because when they were in their, you know, glory days, that’s what they were listening to.”

Ford wasn’t about to let Belleini escape without asking her what it’s like to be part of such a strong nominee class for Female Artist of the Year telling Ballerini “You are nominated with a bunch of badass women… I’ve often said there’s nothing more powerful than a group of women on a like-minded mission.”

“It was a really hard year obviously for everyone to navigate,” Ballerini shared. “I tried to pivot in a million different ways to stay connected and the fact that people thought that I did that well is a big deal to me.”

Before signing off they played around with the idea of all the Female Artist of the Year nominees taking a post-pandemic vacation together and laughed over who they thought would be most likely to be drunk on the plane, forget their passport, clear out the mini bar, overshare on social media and more. Check out Kelsea’s answers by watching the interview above.

Whether daydreaming of a trip with her fellow nominees, or preparing her vocals for a night singing alongside Kenny Chesney, Ballerini always has one piece of advice shared by her mom at the top of her mind.

“She would always say before I left the house, she would say, ‘remember who you are.’ I was like ‘Mom, that’s so lame. What does that even mean?’” Ballerini shared as she reminisced. “Now I’m like ‘Oh my God, that probably like really went through my veins and is the reason that I stayed on track my whole life.”

The 56th Annual ACM Awards airs Sunday, April 18 at 8PM on CBS.

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