Kelsea Ballerini is country musics sweetheart. With her ever going popularity in the US and being nominated for pretty much every award show in the music industry including a Grammy, Kelseas name seems to be on everyines lips at the moment. We, the UK were incredibly lucky that Kelsea was not only coming over to do a show for us in the UK but her first EVER UK show. Fans went wild when the news broke out and the countdown begun.
Before her first headline UK show, Kelsea held a showcase in London on the Tuesday night.
Kelsea came on stage via the intimate crowd which consisted of around fifty people, maybe more, I didn’t count but certainly not much more than that. Dressed in a gorgeous black cat suit, or do we call them body suits now? I am no fashion expert. Dressed in her cat/body suit, Kelsea was lead through her audience of mostly new to be fans and took to the tiny, low stage where her band were already set up and waiting. Kelsea looked amazing but doesn’t she always? She also had on these lovely black sparkly heels that really caught your attention.
Kelsea beamed with delight as the band played the intro to the first song of the night Yeah Boy! Earlier that day on the phone to me for an interview she stated she was nervous about this night as it was her first ever UK performance and not necessarily amongst fans. She needn’t be though, just as I told her earlier and she certainly didn’t look nervous. Within minutes she not only owned the stage but she owned her audience, not a person spoke, the room was captivated, hooked and intrigued.
Kelsea is a talker, a story teller would be a fairer statement. She introduced herself and thanked us for taking time out of our busy lives to be there for her. Telling us how she isn’t sappy, she isn’t lovey dovey and that she hates love songs, she goes on to tell us she recently got engaged (to fellow Country star Morgan Evans) and that she felt she had to write a love song, well her version of one anyway. She goes on to perform her well suited titled song I Hate Love Songs which was not on the set list. The song has a bluesy, jazzy feel to it which translated beautifully in the shows setting as was set to up be almost like a Jazz club. The song has very comedic lyrics which kept the audience on their toes and laughing.
Dibs was next, one of Kelseas hit singles and I was delighted to hear it live. In a way I could feel Kelsea miss the usual fan interaction during this song but that didn’t get in her way as she delivered a fantastic performance of the song just as she would at a regular show.
Chatting about exes next and how they never live up to their expectations and disappoint you and leave you and then when they realise what they missed they come crawling back. This leads to Kelsea singing a mash up of James Bay – Let it Go, Justin Bieber – Sorry and One Republic – Apologise before saying “This is my way of telling an ex it’s too late” and sings her most successful and most praised single Peter Pan.
Peter Pan was such a memorable moment. The song is undoubtedly beautiful and showcases Kelseas songwriting talent as well as just how good her vocals truly are. There is no auto tuning with Kelsea, no generic pop voice, no cheating just pure, solid natural vocals that are flawless. I felt like the only audience member when she sang Peter Pan, I almost forgot anyone else was in the room as I blurted the words out with her in rather passionate form. Next, Kelsea excitedly informs us that XO is to be her first official single in the UK, despite the album The First Time being released in the US in 2015 but hey! We are always behind with country. XO was rockin’ the band, like they had been the entire night were electrifying and solid. They knew how to rock the joint and play the hell out of their instruments showing that they bring so much importance to the live show. Speaking to her guitarist afterwards about how great they were, he said how excited they are to return in October with Lady Antebellum. With the way they play, I told him the O2 Arena will be theirs for the taking and they will play the c**p out of that place.
They ended the night with Love Me Like You Mean It! Kelseas debut single and what put her on the map. This song is so much fun and the crowd interacted in the hand clapping moments. When the vocal parts were over, Kelsea left the stage, again through the audience and her band remained on stage to play the song out and no one took their eyes off them and no one turned an ear – everyone focused on the band as they should as they were such a huge part of the night.
Then it was over! Six epic songs, six steller performances and six moments none of us are likely to forget. The night stayed open as Kelsea mixed with the crowd. When I spoke to her she was glad to put a face to the name and told me again how worried she was performing in front of industry rather than fans. “I am a fan” I told her. “and am not the only one here and everyone else? Well they are your fans now.”
The First Time by Kelsea Ballerini