Kelsea Ballerini is on Cloud 9 these days. The 23-year-old country songstress just wrapped her very first headlining tour, is ringing in 2016 with a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist, and just announced her engagement to musician Morgan Evans.
On Instagram Ballerini wrote of her proposal, “This morning, 9 months and 13 days later, he got down on one knee in the kitchen while I was burning pancakes and asked me to marry him. Loving him has been the greatest gift of my life. And now I get to do it for life. #HECALLEDDIBS”
Ballerini talked with Yahoo Style about her dream life, her obsession with rompers, the envy-inducing “shoe wall” that takes up half of her closet, and why she, like the majority of us, is so obsessed with Blake Lively’s style.
Yahoo Style: Congrats on the Grammy nom.
Kelsea Ballerini: Thank you!
How did you celebrate?
My band and I had a couple of shows in Vegas, so we all celebrated that there. It’s the perfect way to end the year. It’s been such a dream year and such a crazy year. I get a little break and then I get to go to Australia for a few weeks. And just to be able to leave with a Grammy nomination is the best high to leave on.
Did the Taylor Swifts of the world call to congratulate you?
It was really cool. I’ve gotten to become friends with so many other artists that I’ve loved and looked up to, in country and not in country. But Maren [Morris] was the first person to reach out, which is very cool because we are nominated together. And then Hillary Scott and Taylor [Swift] are always two of the first to reach out. I say it all the time, but they really are like my big sisters, and they’ve been really good to me as far as friends and mentors. But then Meghan Trainor and Tori Kelly reached out, which is really cool because they were both in it last year. It’s been really cool.
You’ve worn a variety of fun sparkly ensembles on this tour. How did you go about selecting those outfits?
This whole show and the set are very bright, very sparkly. We wanted to match the vibe of the album, and so we wanted the fashion and outfits to represent that too. We have a lot of sparkles. It’s just really fun. Me and my stylist, Krista [Roser], had so much fun picking out the outfits for this tour. I really do believe that fashion is an extension of your personality and what you are trying to say and what you are trying to get across. And our production and our set are just so bright and girly that we really wanted the outfits and the costumes to be an extension of that. Krista put together all these crazy disco ball looks, which I absolutely loved.
What makes a good stage outfit?
I love rompers because you can make them short but there are shorts underneath them so you don’t have to worry about any fashion faux pas. So I usually rock some rompers. They are my favorite.
What is your preshow preparation like?
For me, the hour before a show, where I get to shut the door and do my hair and makeup and zone out; that’s my hour of zen. It’s become very therapeutic for me to turn on music, light a candle, and do my hair and makeup. It’s like my quiet time.
Do you do your own hair and makeup?
I do my own hair and makeup most of the time. For L.A., I had my hair and makeup artist come out and do that one because there was a lot of press there. But on normal tour dates and with normal stuff, I do my own hair and makeup. I love to experiment with my look. I’ll go to Sephora and get a bunch of palettes and I’ll play. I literally search the #makeuptutorials and see what I can find online. There are always a bunch.
You’ve worn a lot of Nicole Miller throughout your career. What is it about her clothes that you like so much?
She is such a classic brand, but every season, she kind of reinvents herself. It’s always fun. I feel like her fashion is that bright, happy girl. She was one of the first people that made a custom piece for me, for the CMA Awards two years ago; it was just this bright, amazing romper. And ever since then, we’ve just had this amazing partnership where she will create these bright, amazing pieces for me when we have an opportunity for them. I love her. She made something for me for my music video for “Yeah Boy.” She’ll send clothes for press days and that kind of stuff.
Rompers aside, what are your fashion obsessions?
Well, I’m a shoe girl. I can never have too many. And my two style icons for shoes are Steve Madden and Stuart Weitzman. And crazy enough, I’ve gotten to sit down with both of them and just geek out over shoes, which has been amazing. I got to meet Stuart last time I was in New York. I got to go to his showroom and see his next season of shoes. He gave me a pair of boots. He said his kids were fans. I got to hang out with him for a little bit and talk about our loves of shoes. It was really cool.
So how many pairs of shoes come out on the road with you?
I have some tour shoes that I keep on the bus, and they are like the sparkly ones that I probably wouldn’t wear in everyday life. And then I have a whole shoe wall in my closet at home. I probably have 100 shoes on there (laughs). They are color coordinated.
You seem to be able to just dominate the stage in a tall pair of heels effortlessly. Does that take practice or just come naturally to you?
I love heels and I wear them all the time. So I’m pretty much just used to them. They kind of feel just normal to me now.
If you weren’t a country singer, what do you think you’d be doing for a living?
I’d be a songwriter for sure. Even if I couldn’t do it for a living, I’d still write songs. But if it wasn’t music, I’d probably be a hair and makeup artist. I used to do that for my friends for prom. I was always the friend that would do my friend’s hair and makeup. I used to love doing it.
Are there any women that you look up to as style icons?
Blake Lively. I feel like she is perfect mix of so stylist, so on trend, but also the girl next door and approachable, which is what I love about style.
You’re in the midst of working on your second album. What can you tease to get us excited?
Oh goodness! I’m so excited about it. I feel like it’s going to really represent the last two years of my life. I think it’s going to be one-third of a really intensively dark breakup album, one-third of a growing up, learning a lot, mountaintop moments kind of album, and then one-third of just smitten as a kitten falling on my face in love album. I’m really hoping that there is something for everyone on it. We’ll put out a new single as soon as my current single “Yeah Boy” does whatever it is going to do. And then the album will follow that. So we’re hoping first half of next year. I can’t wait!