Country superstars Kelsea Ballerini and Kenny Chesney teamed up for the emotional ballad “Half Of My Hometown,” and as the song continues to resonate with fans far and wide, Ballerini is celebrating a new milestone with the track.
The song, which Ballerini co-wrote alongside Shane McAnally, Ross Copperman, Jimmy Robbins and Nicolle Galyon, has just been certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
The newly crowned CMT Artist of the Year celebrated the news on Friday (Oct. 22) with a flashback to the set of the music video (aka her high school) on her Instagram.
“Really feeling the love for this song recently…can’t believe it went GOLD already! missing my hometown today,” she captioned the post.
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“Half Of My Hometown” speaks to life after high school and shares how you still feel connected to the place you grew up, no matter if you stay or leave.
“Half of my hometown’s still hangin’ around/ Still talkin’ about that one touchdown/ They’re still wearin’ red and black/ Go Bobcats, while the other half/ Of my hometown they all got out/ Some went north Some went south/ Still lookin’ for a feelin’ half of us ain’t found/ So stay or leave/ Part of me will always be/ Half of my hometown,” goes the chorus.
After writing the heartfelt song during a songwriting retreat at the beach, Ballerini’s co-writers insisted that she text it to Chesney. Even though it was 2 am, Ballerini sent the text.
Chesney later recalled Ballerini’s message during an interview on Today’s Country Radio with Kelleigh Bannen.
“She just called me one day and she goes, ‘I’m calling you to poke the bear,’ and I went, ‘What are you talking about?’ She says, ‘I’m getting ready to send you a song. I want you to listen to it and think about singing on it.’ And so I said, ‘yeah, of course, send me the song,’” Chesney explains. “And I listened to it and it was hard to listen to because it was so beautiful and it was so much about not only her life, but it was about my life and the same roads we drove down and I knew I wanted to sing on it.”
Chesney went on to admit that deciding to be part of this song was the right choice because of the meaning it holds for him as a fellow East Tennessee native. It’s not every day that Chesney says yes to collaborating with an artist on an album, but this was an opportunity that he couldn’t pass up.
“And I’m really proud of it,” Chesney continued. “And I told her when we were done with it, that I was glad she asked me, but I’m very proud that I’m on that song with her. If the song was terrible, I wouldn’t sing on it, because trust me, I get asked a lot to sing on a lot of records and I turn them down because the song just isn’t perfect for me to sing on. But when I heard ‘Half Of My Hometown’ I just I went, ‘Yep, I’m going to sing on this song.’
The pair delivered a stunning performance of “Half Of My Hometown” during the 2021 ACM Awards.
Taking the stage from Nashville’s iconic Grand Ole Opry, Ballerini and Chesney’s performance was one of the most buzzed about moments of the night.
Ballerini later brought the song to life with a cinematic music video that served as a tribute to her hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee.
The personal clip gives fans a look at what may have happened if Ballerini stayed in her hometown instead of moving to Nashville to pursue her musical dreams. The cinematic clip opens with a young Ballerini saying “goodbye” to her friends as she makes her way to Nashville, however, the truck ends up getting unloaded and she moves back into her childhood home.
Personal home videos of Ballerini are also featured as the “what if” story unfolds before viewers’ eyes.
Click above to watch.