Kelsea Ballerini is in the midst of an empowering era of her career, marked by her high-energy performance dates — including on her Saturday Night Live debut and her “HEARTFIRST Tour” — and music that strongly resonates with her listeners.
One of Ballerini’s latest releases is Rolling Up The Welcome Mat, a 6-track EP and accompanying short film that delves into her side of the story of her public divorce from fellow country artist Morgan Evans. The couple announced in August 2022 that they would split up after nearly five years of marriage. Ballerini surprised her fans with the debut of her EP on Valentine’s Day.
Before that, however, Evans released a heartbreak ballad of his own (he recently released another song, “On My Own Again”). He performed “Over For You” in Australia in October, before the divorce was finalized: “I would’ve searched the whole world over for you/ Took a flight, through the night/ To be that shoulder for you/ I would’ve let go if you wanted me to/ How many times did you say you loved me when it wasn’t true/ I’m just wonderin’, how long has it been over for you?”
Ballerini recently spoke with the New York Times about her music, her road to success, and the new heights she’s reaching in her career. The interview comes after the public’s interest in her divorce and dating life has heightened — she’s since started seeing Outer Banks actor Chase Stokes — and fans have pointed out lyrics that seems to be direct responses to Evans’ post-divorce music.
When asked in her New York Times interview whether Rolling Up The Welcome Mat was meant to be a response to Evans’ “Over For You,” Ballerini answered: “Yes and no. I don’t know if I would have written a song like ‘Blindsided’ had I not been responding to something that was already out there.”
Ballerini’s “Blindsided” — which she performed on SNL with a few added lyrics — poses the question: “And now you're saying that you're lost and that's lost on me…I know the truth is hard to hear, but it wasn't hard to find/ Baby, were you blindsided or were you just blind?”
The award-winning songstress said of her 6-track collection when she released it last month: “here’s my healing journey. here’s my heart. here’s my truth. i’ve never been this open, i’ve never been this bold, and i’ve never been this proud of my art. so with love and respect, i’m rolling up the welcome mat.”