“Kelsea Ballerini animates her perky country-pop with succinct, specific details… her new album is filled with strum-along tracks about growing up… even while extolling how hard it is to leave adolescence behind, she makes maturity sound easy.” – New York Times
Today, two-time GRAMMY® Award nominated multi platinum songwriter, producer and author Kelsea Ballerini has released her highly anticipated fourth studio album, and one of the year’s most anticipated country albums, SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
A ubiquitous voice in country and culture at large, Kelsea’s dynamic spirit shines brighter than ever on her fourth full-length album. SUBJECT TO CHANGE marks Kelsea’s first full-length record since 2020, when she unveiled the gold-selling kelsea and its acclaimed stripped-down companion album ballerini.
Working out of a Nashville studio, she opted to cut everything live on the record, sharpening the edges of the soundscape itself and preserving the soul of the sessions on tape. In order to achieve a distinct sonic palette, she intentionally sought out Julian Bunetta (Harry Styles, Maroon 5) and Shane McAnally (Kacey Musgraves, Kenny Chesney) as co-producers.
The new album arrives with a song featuring fellow American superstars Kelly Clarkson and Carly Pearce, ‘You’re Drunk, Go Home’; a collaboration which Kelsea described as a “a sassbomb yeehaw collab moment.”
The song takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to describing unwanted encounters with drunk men on nights out, with the chorus lyrics: “You’re drunk, go home, If you’re tryna hook up gotta do it alone. The way you’re smiling and the way you’re stumbling, ain’t no way you’re getting my number.”
Thematically, Kelsea opened up more than ever before on SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Examining where she’s been, how far she’s come, and who she is at this moment. Above all, embracing being present. “I think we’re conditioned to always look forward,” she observes. “Being forced to stop thinking of what’s happening next week or even knowing when things are going to happen made me take a look at today. It was an important lesson for a 28-year-old girl who has been in a full sprint since 19. You hear the outcome of this stillness on the record. By writing the book, I also unlocked a part of myself creatively as a writer.”
The record reaches its emotional apex on ‘MARILYN’. Tapping into unfiltered and undeniable emotion, Kelsea penned it entirely solo. Soft piano and rustic guitar ring out as she ponders, “Did you miss Norma Jean? Or, did you always want to be Marilyn?”
“For every album, I write one song alone to hold myself accountable and show I’m not depending on collaborators,” Kelsea explains. “‘MARILYN’ is a metaphor. She represents women or anyone who presents themselves one way, but there’s so much deeper under the skin.”
Collaborating with Bunetta and McAnally, as well as Alysa Vanderheym (Lady A, Gone West) and Jesse Frasure (Kane Brown, Little Big Town) on select tracks and inspired by “nineties pop and country,” Kelsea also consciously nods to influences such as her friend Shania Twain and Jo Dee Messina, as well as Sheryl Crow and Sixpence None The Richer.
In many ways, the very title SUBJECT TO CHANGE sums up Kelsea’s journey over the last couple of years: “I realised there was a tug-of-war in myself and in all relationships,” she reveals. “Everything that’s happened in my life has been due to change. Those changes may be forever, or they may not be. When you acknowledge this and surrender to that thought, you start living your life in the moment.”
“I hope this record makes you feel like you have permission to evolve and reminds you the process is fun, difficult, messy, and memorable,” she leaves off. “We’re all experiencing life as it comes. Sometimes, it’s about falling on your ass, and that’s the point. I gave myself permission to grow up. I hope the album maybe does the same for you.”
SUBJECT TO CHANGE, Kelsea Ballerini’s fourth full-length album is out now via Black River Entertainment.
SUBJECT TO CHANGE
THE LITTLE THINGS
I CAN’T HELP MYSELF
IF YOU GO DOWN (I’M GOIN’ DOWN TOO)
LOVE IS A COWBOY
I GUESS THEY CALL IT FALLIN’
WALK IN THE PARK
YOU’RE DRUNK, GO HOME (feat. Kelly Clarkson and Carly Pearce)
DOIN’ MY BEST
WHAT I HAVE
About Kelsea Ballerini
Kelsea Ballerini has consistently made history. With the release of her debut album The First Time (Black River), she became “the only female country artist to hit #1 with her first three consecutive singles from a debut album.” She has logged four back-to-back Top 10 entries on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, including the platinum-selling The First Time , gold-selling Unapologetically , gold-selling kelsea , and ballerini . With 31 certifications from the RIAA to date, her catalogue boasts a string of essential smashes such as the double-platinum ‘Miss Me More’ and ‘Peter Pan’, platinum-selling ‘hole in the bottle’ with Shania Twain, gold-selling ‘I Quit Drinking’ with LANY and the recently certified platinum ‘half of my hometown’ feat. Kenny Chesney, which marked Kelsea’s seventh #1.
Among dozens of accolades thus far, she has garnered two GRAMMY® Award nominations, won two ACM Awards, two CMA Awards, took home the iHeartRadio Music Awards honour for “Best New Artist”, and received multiple career nominations from the ACM Awards, American Music Awards, CMA Awards, CMT Awards and People’s Choice Awards. Most recently, Kelsea led the field for 2022 CMT Music Awards nominations with three nominations for “Video of The Year,” “Collaborative Video of The Year” and “CMT Performance of The Year.” She also earned a nomination for “Music Event of the Year” for the 2022 ACM Awards as both artist and producer of ‘half of my hometown’ feat. Kenny Chesney. This marked Kelsea’s first ACM nomination as a producer. She concluded 2021 as the “#3 most-played female artist on country radio” and CMT “Artist of the Year” in addition to picking up “Musical Event of the Year” and “Video of the Year” at the CMA Awards for the platinum-certified ‘half of my hometown’ feat. Kenny Chesney. On April 11th, Kelsea co-hosted the CMT Awards on CBS nationwide.
Expanding her sphere of influence, she released her first original book of poetry Feel Your Way Through, and Dolly Parton tapped her to star in the audiobook of Run, Rose, Run. In addition, the multi-platinum country superstar was recently named the newest face of COVERGIRL. She has joined the brand in a multi-year partnership and is set to launch a cosmetic collaboration with the brand next year. It’s no wonder NPR proclaimed, “Kelsea Ballerini is definitely one of the most influential women in Country right now… she’s defining the sound of the genre.” She also was inducted as a member of the famed Grand Ole Opry in 2019. At the time, she notably was the Opry’s youngest member, in its nearly 100-year history, since being founded in 1925. Kelsea’s fourth album, SUBJECT TO CHANGE, was released on September 23, 2022. The first single off the album, ‘HEARTFIRST’, quickly took over airwaves, and was notably the “most added song at country radio” the week of its release. Kelsea Ballerini is ready to continue making history in 2022 and beyond.