Kelsea Ballerini’s a new album is called Subject to Change. She began doing interviews for it prior to her announcement that she and husband Morgan Evans were divorcing. Like this interview for Yahoo. It’s interesting because knowing now that she’s days away from announcing a divorce in this interview, these answers read differently. Kelsea is almost screaming to tell her truth. That’s kind of who she is, someone who wears her whole heart on her sleeve. It’s gotten her in trouble at times, like when Morgan Wallen’s use of a racial slur, and Kelsea’s response was tone-deaf. But unlike many, she’ll own up to mistakes like those, even if she has decided to stay away from Twitter as a result. When talking about her new album, she said it addresses everything she’s been through in the last few years, including the pandemic. Kelsea said we’ve all been through a lot and this was her way of putting it all out there.
On the last few years: Obviously, we’ve all changed a lot the last couple of years, because life has forced us to. … And I feel like the last few years, in my twenties, I’ve grown up so much. I’ve learned so much about myself in this extra space that we’ve kind of been forced into. And I loved that Subject to Change represented my life. It represented everyone’s life, and it kind of thematically took me through the story that I was writing. And so, we just kind of went back and forth, like, ‘Do we make it broad, or do we just make it like very much so about me?’ And we ended up just going very inward, very personal, to set the tone for the whole record.
On the Morgan Wallen controversy: (I got my) ass kicked on Twitter. Honestly, I haven’t had Twitter since, and it was a good lesson for me. I think I’m a chronic people-pleaser, and being an artist and a public person, I’ve really had to learn how to stand up for things that I believe in. But sometimes when you’re doing that, you’re going to stumble and you’re going to do it wrong. And, you know, I didn’t do it all the way right. … I think that the intention is one thing, but I think the rebuttal to [that Wallen tweet] was my not acknowledging the systematic racism that has occurred — which I fully understand. I stepped back, I listened, I learned. … I got my ass kicked, and I learned a lot from it. And I take ownership of that fully. And I also do not miss Twitter literally at all!
Life is messy: I just acknowledge that life is so messy and so multifaceted. When it’s good, it’s good, and we should feel that. But when it’s not, it’s not, and we should feel that too. … I just feel the more in-depth I can go into those topics that I feel strongly about the, the better.
Many of us speculated about the toll the pandemic would take in the long run. I know in my circle, we agree we had no idea how deep the long-term affects will run. But I can’t think of a single person that wasn’t affected in some way. When I wrote about Kelsea’s divorce announcement, I suggested the split might be related to a stage of life thing, given she was just 23 when they married. Kelsea, unfortunately, had already seen a lot of traumas in those 23 years. She’s dealt with body dysmorphia ans was witness to a high school shooting in which she watched her friend die. And while her songs and book of poetry have probably been therapeutic, I suspect the pandemic was enough for her to truly reassess everything. Most of us are realizing life’s too short to continue the relationships that aren’t working. Speaking of, Kelsea seems to have dropped out with former gal-pal Halsey with whom she collaborated on The Other Girl. Kelsea told Rolling Stone, “they’re no longer in my life.” And the song Doin’ My Best sure sounds like it’s pointing to Halsey: “I was friends with a pop star/I put ‘em on track four/But wish I could take it back/I would have never asked/If I knew we wouldn’t talk anymore.”
As for Kelsea’s response about the Morgan Wallen mess, it’s not perfect but it’s better than most. I appreciate a person who acknowledges they got it wrong so they listened and learned. She still has the Twitter account, by the way, I think she just doesn’t go on the site. I get that. I’ve been staying away from mine as well. I’ve ventured back twice, thinking I was ready to engage, but about half a page scroll down my mood tanked and I had to log off. Kelsea might have the right idea about staying clear to keep her wits about her.
Photo credit: Cover Images, Instagram and Avalon Red
My anxiety hasn’t really let up since the pandemic started but getting off Twitter recently dropped it a few notches.
I like Halsey and I liked their collaboration song. I wonder what happened.