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If you want to know what Kelsea Ballerini’s life has been like since she shot to stardom with her first album, just listen to her newly-released sophomore album, “Unapologetically.”


Though she’s happily engaged to Australian country singer Morgan Evans, you may be surprised to hear the album kicks off with a dark song about lost love called “Graveyard.” The first half of the project is actually inspired by a breakup she was going through right around the time she started having success at country radio in 2015. The second half is inspired by her love story with Morgan. Kelsea felt it was important to tie it all together with a song that told her story from her own point of view.

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That’s why we have track six on the album, appropriately titled “In Between.” It speaks to Kelsea’s transformation from a wide-eyed girl trying to make it as a country singer to a bona fide country star with an engagement ring on her left hand.

Kelsea tells Rare Country, “I knew I needed to write a song about me. I realized I had written a lot about the people that had defined both ends of the three years, but not a lot about myself. That’s a time stamp of a song for me. I’ll listen to it when I’m probably, like, 50 years old, and be like, ‘Ah, I remember being that.'”

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The last few years have brought some life changes for Kelsea’s mom, Carla, as well, and their evolving relationship was the initial inspiration for “In Between,” too. Kelsea even includes a sweet voicemail message from her mom at the end of the track.

“That is the line that I walked into that write with,” Kelsea explains. “It says, ‘Sometimes I’m my mother’s daughter. Sometimes I’m her friend.’ She was going through a big life change, and I was 23 at the time. I was like, ‘Sometimes I feel like I need to step up and be her friend, and sometimes I just need to need her like a daughter.”

There’s so much more to discover on Kelsea’s new album, “Unapolegetically,” which is now available everywhere.

In order to give you a quick look at the project from another perspective, we cooked up a game with Kelsea to see just how that album title fits her these days. Check it out as we throw out certain scenarios she might find herself in and ask Kelsea if she would be “apologetic”or “unapologetic” about them.

The results are quite telling, and hilarious!

Check out Kelsea performing her latest hit, “Legends,” with her hero, Reba McEntire, on ‘The 51st Annual CMA Awards” coming up Wednesday, Nov. 8 on ABC.

Hunter Kelly is a senior correspondent for Rare Country. Follow him on Twitter @Hunterkelly.
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