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We love Kelsea Ballerini. That’s it. Plain and simple. This 23-year-old Knoxville, Tennessee, native stole our heart three years ago when she boldly declared her youthful feminism in her debut chart topper, “Love Me Like You Mean It,” and dang it, she still hasn’t given it back. In fact, she just keep squeezing it.


And that’s just one of the reasons we’re completely smitten with this little kitten. Kelsea didn’t delicately tap on country music’s door, she pushed it open with a bubbly personality, a uniquely breathy vocal and a flair for songwriting that belied her tender age. And we aren’t the only ones that were bowled over by this dynamo.

RELATEDKelsea Ballerini went and tore our hearts out with this music video

The accolades have poured in. She followed up “Love Me Like You Mean It” with two more No. 1 singles—“Dibs” and “Peter Pan.” She also scored nominations for Best New Artist at the CMA and Grammy Awards and took home the trophy for Best New Female Vocalist at the ACM Awards.

All of those wins and more didn’t come without a price, though. If you could put a radar gun on her, we figure Kelsea has probably been going faster than Nolan Ryan’s pitch. Fortunately, this beautiful young lady also has the wherewithal to know when she needs to pull back a bit. And that’s another reason we have mad respect for her. She has unplugged from social media a couple of times to attend to her life and to write songs. And while it’s a well-deserved break for her, it’s a win for us, too. When Kelsea presses pause, it often mean new music is in the works.

RELATEDKelsea Ballerini says goodbye to a really special time in her life with this performance

Major awards, hit songs and a sense of balance are just some of the things we adore about this country music darling. You can see the rest of them in Rare Country’s “5 Reasons We Love Kelsea Ballerini.” We’re sure you have your own reasons, though, so be sure to tell us what they are.

And check back in this weekend when we have more of the news in and around country music in Rare Country’s 5.

Based in Nashville, Tammy is a 20-year veteran of the country music community. She has worked in marketing, PR and artist development in the past. Follow her @TammyGooGoo and join the conversation @RareCountry
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