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Kelsea Ballerini has earned millions of fans in the past few years as she’s racked up a string of No. 1 country hits. Everywhere she goes, people know her name and sing along to her songs, including the latest hit, “Legends.” Kelsea’s star is only burning brighter as she gears up to release her sophomore album, “Unapologetically.”


In celebration of that new album, Kelsea recently headed home to Knoxville, Tennessee, to share her success with the folks who have supported her from the very beginning. She headlined a show at her old school, Central High School, and the gig was a huge full circle moment for the star.

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Before the show, Kelsea told Rare Country, “I was at that high school for two years, and it was the two years where I found myself. It sounds so cheesy, but it’s the truth. It’s where I really knew that music was what I was going to do with my life. I was just going to figure out how to do it.”

she traded in prom queen for a big city dream // 📸 @shearerphoto

A post shared by Kelsea Ballerini (@kelseaballerini) on

Kelsea made the move to Nashville while still a teenager, but she really cut her teeth singing for her fellow students at Central High.

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She says, “That stage is the first time I ever sang a song that I had written for people. So, I just felt like the most pure way to kick off this next chapter was to do it there.”

In addition to hosting her homecoming concert at Central, Kelsea also helped arrange a big donation from the Academy of Country Music to benefit the school’s choral program. She helped present the $20,000 check to the school before finishing out the concert with a new song, “High School.”

Kelsea’s new album, “Unapologetically,” is out Nov. 3 featuring “Legends,” “High School” and 10 more songs all inspired by Kelsea’s life since the release of her hit debut album, “The First Time,” in 2015.

Look for Kelsea to perform with her idol, Reba McEntire, on “The 51st Annual CMA Awards” coming up Wednesday, Nov. 8, on ABC. Kelsea is up for Female Vocalist of the Year at the big show.

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