She stood amongst hundreds of people much taller than her, waiting for her favorite singer to appear from the dark stage on a Thursday night in Chicago. Her hair in a ponytail, she was up long past her bedtime. But when a little girl gets a chance to see her favorite country music star, Mommy and Daddy are usually more than happy to break the bedtime rules.
After an hour of patiently waiting, her eyes lit up when she finally caught Kelsea Ballerini’s eye. And it wasn’t long before Kelsea came over to her, kneeled down and took her hand and sang the song “Square Pegs,” a song of empowerment, love and acceptance. When they finally let go of each other’s hands, the weight of the moment hit everyone in the audience.
You see, Kelsea was once that little girl in that Twitter video, singing her favorite songs into a hairbrush in her room. She was once the girl sitting outside of the venue four hours before a show. She was once the teen waiting in line for a meet and greet. She was once that young woman dreaming dreams that she doubted would ever come true.
And it’s this connection that is quickly making Kelsea one of our genre’s brightest stars.
Currently out headlining her The First Time Tour, Kelsea has created a show filled with fan interactions that show off her true heart. Sprinkled throughout her show, which featured hits such as “Dibs,” “Love Me Like You Mean It” and “Yeah Boy,” along with a slew of songs that somehow her die-hard fans already knew the words to, were small yet amazing moments where Kelsea kneeled down and took the hands of her fans. Looking them straight in the eye, she took the time to make a connection that many country artists have long forgotten about.
Of course, Kelsea rounds out her show with everything from fiery red bullhorns to drum solos to massive light-up balls custom-made for a wish you were here Snapchat video. And then there is her magical performance of “Peter Pan,” in which she timelines a relationship via songs such as James Bay’s “Let It Go” to Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” to OneRepublic’s “Apologize.”
It was a magical night filled with magical moments. And that makes her a superstar in our book.