Kelsea Ballerini Sparkles on Headlining Tour Debut

Kelsea Ballerini has gone from a girl with a dream to a record breaking artist over the past two years and this past weekend she checked off one more item on her bucket list: Headlining her own tour.

“It’s fun because being an opener is more of a challenge,it’s more like you’re going in front of someone else’s crowd and you’re introducing yourself and you’re trying to get them to listen to more than just the singles they’re hopefully familiar with,” Ballerini explained to Sounds Like Nashville prior to taking the stage in Atlanta at the Buckhead Theatre this past weekend (Nov. 12). “But with this kind of crowd it’s almost that these are the people that turn your song up on the radio and these are the people that share your record with their friends and tweet the lyrics and all that stuff. These are the people that really made this work like it had. “

The First Time Tour kicked off in Washington D.C. on Nov. 10. Next up was a show in her hometown of Knoxville, Tenn. on Friday evening (Nov. 11). The tour will make its way throughout the country before wrapping in Texas mid-December. Friday night’s show marked the first time the “Yeah Boy” singer performed for her friends and family in Knoxville.

“I haven’t done a hometown show because I wanted to wait until I could sell out the Tennessee theater,” Ballerini shared. “My dad used to live above it so whenever I would go to Knoxville to see my dad we would go see shows downstairs. It was a really special place to play and it was my first hometown show, so just to see people that thought I could do this and thought I couldn’t do this be there.”

Opposed to having just one opening act over the course of the trek, Ballerini has tapped into a variety of up and coming talent to warm the crowd up for her including Carly Pearce, labelmate Jacob Davis, Trent Harmon and her beau, Morgan Evans, who performed Saturday evening.

Ballerini has spent her last few tours in the same position that they’re in so she is doing everything she can to make the ordeal easier and boost her friends’ careers.

“The thing is I’m really good friends with all the people that are opening on this tour and I think just like the artists that have brought me out have let me know how much they really believe in me and have helped me in anyway that they can that’s what I want to do,” the Tennessee-native said. “I love these people as my friends and I believe in what they do.”

When Ballerini commanded the spotlight Saturday evening, she was surrounded by flashing lights and encompassing sparkle. Her interaction with the crowd was a testament to how much she loves her fans and how much fun she is having on this crazy ride. Her ensemble, which helped bring her show to life, was inspired by those who came before her, including Shania Twain and Taylor Swift.

Sparingly throughout her set she showed off her talent as a songwriter and played new music that will be on her forthcoming album, including an intimate moment when she sang a close to the heart song called “High School.”

“It’s my favorite part about what I get to do, writing songs and telling my story,” she announced to fans.

She won the sold-out crowd with the three No. 1 singles, and lit up the theatre with cellphone lights during her ballad “Peter Pan.” Before closing the show, she admitted to cheering fans that she wasn’t sure anyone was going to show up and in that genuine moment she had the whole crowd rooting for her.

Ballerini’s show was filled with enough energy and professionalism to light up an entire arena or ampitheatre, and we’re confident she’ll be headlining there soon.