Kelsea Ballerini is teaming up with Kenny Chesney at the 56th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards for a special debut performance of her brand new single, “Half of My Hometown.”
The nostalgic tune, found on Ballerini’s 2020 third and fourth albums, Kelsea and Ballerini, has both East Tennessee natives paying tribute to the town in which they grew up. Not only was getting a chance to work with Chesney on “Half of My Hometown” a dream come true for Ballerini, but she also couldn’t be more thrilled to be singing the song with him at the upcoming ACM Awards.
“Ever since [Kenny] decided to sign onto this song and do this with me, we’ve just become like brother-sister,” Ballerini told Audacy‘s Kelly Ford of the bond she has created with Chesney. “We have such a fun relationship. Yesterday I was making eggs and he Facetimed me. He was like, ‘Hey! What do you want to wear for our performance?’”
“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,” she added. “It’s very cool and very full circle.”
Undoubtedly, a superstar in her own right, Ballerini is no stranger to sharing the stage with some of the biggest artists music. Fans may recall, she’s previously worked with Taylor Swift, Halsey, Shania Twain and The Chainsmokers. And, while she’s excited to harmonize on stage with Chesney, she won’t be the only one enjoying the moment.
“Both my mom and my dad are very proud,” Ballerini said. “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 glory days, that’s what they were listening to.”
Ballerini, who has earned multiple Grammy nominations, won two ACM Awards and attained six No. 1 hits to date, is currently in the running for the 2021 ACM Female Artist of the Year Award along with fellow powerhouse singers Maren Morris, Miranda Lambert, Carly Pearce, and Ashley McBryde. But, no matter how big of a star Ballerini becomes, she says she will always turn to the advice her mom gave her years ago.
“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 said. “Now I’m like ‘Oh my God, that probably really went through my veins and is the reason that I stayed on track my whole life.”
Be sure to catch Ballerini’s performance with Chesney at the 56th annual Academy of Country Music Awards, which air live Sunday, (April 18) at 8:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. CT on CBS.