5 Things You Didn’t Know About Kelsea Ballerini

Best New Artist Grammy nominee Kelsea Ballerini‘s breezy country-pop takes inspiration from the straight talk of Dolly Parton, the sun-dappled hooks of Sheryl Crow, and the pure emotion of Kelly Clarkson – not to mention Rihanna’s swag. Here are five facts about the singer-songwriter, who broke out big over the past 18 months with hits like the coy “Dibs” and the wounded “Peter Pan.”

She started her songwriting career early.
The Knoxville native made her stage debut at a Mother’s Day show when she was 12 with “Oh Mama,” a song that she improvised as a last-minute gift to her own mom. “I forgot it was Mother’s Day the next day, and I knew that my mom loved what she calls ‘gifts of the heart’ — you know, things that are just really sweet,” Ballerini told The Boston Globe. “I was like, ‘Oh, I’ll just write her a song.’ That was the beginning of the end for me.”

She’s performed with some of her idols.
In 2015, Ballerini appeared at country-crossover megastar Taylor Swift’s 1989 tour, singing “Love Me Like You Mean It” in Nashville; this summer, she’s opening for twang-pop trio Lady Antebellum on their You Look Good World Tour. “[Lady Antebellum and Taylor…