Kelsea Ballerini was initially a bit worried about how her new album would be received by fans. That’s because the 13-track album features elements of pop and country and she was afraid fans would think she had abandoned her roots.
While she enjoys experimenting with different sounds, the superstar says she has no plans to leave the country music genre. She wants her fans to know that.
“There are a lot of pop and country elements on this record. It made me scared; I was like, ‘If there’s as many beat drops as there are banjos on this album, are people going to think that I’m not a country artist anymore? Are they going to lose respect for me in this journey that I’ve built in Nashville?’” she admitted to PEOPLE. “But I never will jump ship. I am rooted and I’ve built my foundation [in country], but I’m allowed as an artist and a musician to explore and create.”
Following her gut, Ballerini made the record the way she wanted to make it. She let the songs dictate the sound of the album and admits it does push some boundaries.
“With this album, instead of keeping that streamlined sound, I really wanted to let the songs determine the production,” she explained to Entertainment Weekly. “You hear a lot more organic, real rooted country sounds on this album [and] you also hear a lot more boundary pushing, which is exciting for me. I had so much fun making those artistic decisions in the studio to, you know, put a banjo there, put a beat drop there, and let the song determine that.”
Out Friday, kelsea features Ballerini’s current single, “Homecoming Queen?” as well as collaborations with Halsey and Kenny Chesney. The singer/songwriter plans to go live on Instagram Thursday evening at 9 pm CST to introduce the album to fans.