Kelsea Ballerini on Feeling 'Confident' About Her Music: 'I Don't Have to Exclusively Put Myself in One Box'

Kelsea Ballerini isn't afraid to switch things up.

The 27-year-old country star opened up about feeling "more confident" than ever about her music in Shape's April cover story.

After releasing her album Kelsea last March, the singer dropped its stripped-down companion Ballerini in the fall — which showed off all the songs in a different, and more personal light. 

"I really wanted it to be the bare bones of the songs. Especially ones, like 'Half of My Hometown,' that are more emotional," Ballerini told Shape of her duet with Kenny Chesney. "This version of it allows you to feel it a little more."

"It ended up being my way of saying that I can be all these things, and I don't have to exclusively put myself in one box," she said, adding, "I'm more confident in my art than I have been in a long time." 

On a personal note, Ballerini also shared the story behind her first tattoo — which she made a point of getting before her career really began to take off.

"This is a story I've never told publicly. The day before my first photo shoot, I panicked because I wanted a tattoo but didn't have one yet," she said. "And I was like, What if this single ['Love Me Like You Mean It'] works and people start to follow me? Then all of a sudden, I get a tattoo. People will be like, 'She's going off the deep end.' " 

For the meaningful inking, Ballerini got the words "How sweet the sound" on her left forearm — a line from "Amazing Grace," the first solo she ever performed at church.

"It was just this youthfully innocent way of saying, 'I've got to be who I am from the beginning of this,'" she added. "A lot of artists and public people have a persona that they step into, but I can't do that. I don't want any surprises. I just want it all to be out there." 

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