The big event this week will take place during the Tuesday Night Opry as Kelsea Ballerini, at the age of 25, will become the newest, and youngest member, of the Grand Ole Opry.
Kelsea Ballerini was born in Mascot, Tennessee and grew up in Knoxville. Growing up, she sang in church and school choirs. She wrote her first song at age 12 for her mother and moved to Tennessee three years later. After graduating from Centennial High School in Franklin, Tennessee, she attended Lipscomb University for two years until leaving to pursue a musical career.
At age 19, she signed a deal with Black River Entertainment and in late 2014, Kelsea released her first single, "Love Me Like You Mean It." The song reached No.1 in July 2015 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart, making Kelsea the first solo female country artist to score a number of hit with her debut single since Carrie Underwood did so with "Jesus, Take the Wheel" in 2006. She also became only the fifth solo female artist, and the first since Jamie O'Neal in 2001, to achieve back-to-back number one hits with her first two singles when "Dibs" also reached No, 1 on the Billboard charts. Both singles were from her debut album, "The First Time." Kelsea released her second album, "Legends" in June 2017.
Thus far in her career, she has released seven singles, four of which hit No. 1, the two listed above, along with "Peter Pan" in 2016 and "Legends" in 2017.
Her awards include New Female Vocalist of the Year in 2015, Best New Country Artist at the iHeart Radio Music Awards in 2016, and the Gene Weed Milestone Award from the ACM in 2017. She has received nominations for Female Vocalist of the Year from the ACM (Academy of Country Music) and from the CMA (Country Music Association). She has also been nominated for several Kid's Choice Awards, Teen Choice Awards, CMT Music Awards, and in 2019 received a Grammy nomination for Best Country Album.
Kelsea has said that she has been influenced by both pop and country artists, saying that she grew up on Top 40 music and lists Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and NSYNC among the early artists she listened to. It was not until she heard "Stupid Boy" by Keith Urban that she decided to delve deeper into country music by listening to albums by Taylor Swift, Sugarland and Dixie Chicks. She cites Shania Twain as her greatest influence.
Kelsea made her Grand Ole Opry debut on February 14, 2015. Over the past four years, she has continued to make guest appearances on the Opry and I personally have seen her several times. She definitely appeals to the younger country music fans.
Congratulations to Kelsea Ballerini on becoming the Grand Ole Opry's newest member and it will be interesting going forward, to see how much support she gives to the Opry has her career continues to expand.
As to the rest of the Tuesday Night Opry, here is the line-up:
7:00: Jeannie Seely; Eddie Montgomery with Montgomery Gentry
7:30: Kelsea Ballerini
8:15: Dale Watson; Maggie Rose
8:45: Del McCoury Band; Dustin Lynch
As to Opry Country Classics on Thursday night, no official line-up of artists has been posted as of this time, however, listed as scheduled to appear include Charlie Daniels, Charlie McCoy, Mark Wills, The Gatlin Brothers and Emily West. Larry Gatlin is listed as the host. My guess is that Charlie Daniels will be the spotlight artist.