Sophia Elias
April 11, 2015 6:30 am

Say hello to country music’s rising star, 21 year-old Kelsea Ballerini.

With her debut single “Love Me Like You Mean It” skipping up the charts, Kelsea has already managed to make quite a name for herself…and she hasn’t even released her debut album yet.

Before Kelsea was getting primed for world domination, she was writing music from home. In fact, she discovered her love for songwriting after piecing together a last minute song for her mother when she was 12 years old. She told J-14,

Two years later, the Knoxville native was taking meetings at record labels in Nashville, Tennessee. Her first meeting wasn’t the incredible experience she’d hoped for, though. After pulling out her guitar to play a song, the label executive asked a question that would leave any aspiring country artist discouraged: “Don’t you know there’s already a Taylor Swift?”

Rather than wallowing in despair, Kelsea took the high road and saw a moral to the story. She told USA Today, “I thought it was the meanest thing anybody could ever say to me, and I canceled my second meeting and went home. It ended up being the most valuable lesson I could have learned that early: not to be a voice that’s already a voice, to find what you want to say and how you want to say it.”

Seven years later, Kelsea’s relationship with Taylor Swift is different…VERY different. Just last month, Swift tweeted her support for Kelsea, telling all 55 million of her followers how much she loved Kelsea’s EP, and even hashtagged “Love Me Like You Mean It.” Kelsea responded how we all would’ve responded: in total disbelief. She told J-14, “I looked at it for five minutes on my computer and stared at it to see if it would go away. In my head I was having thoughts of ‘who hacked her twitter?” The song has since climbed to #19 on the Mediabase charts.

Her debut album, aptly named The First Time, is due May 19th. Don’t worry —you can check out her self-titled EP and “Love Me Like You Mean It,” below. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for this budding star!

(Image via)

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