Taylor Swift may not be making country records these days, but that doesn’t mean she’s not still listening. That’s a good thing for Kelsea Ballerini, because Swift appears to be quite taken with the 21-year-old Tennessee native and her single Love Me Like You Mean It.
Fortunately, Ballerini had posted the video for Love Me Like You Mean It over the weekend, just in time for Swift’s tweet.
Swift has often tweeted about her favorite new acts over the years, including folks like Ed Sheeran, the Civil Wars and Hozier. And since she’s got more than 54 million followers, her stamp of approval can mean an immediate bump in profile and downloads.
Ballerini’s single is currently climbing the country chart, and her debut album is scheduled to come out in May. And, yes, when she took dance lessons as a child, the other kids in class did call her “Ballerini the Ballerina.”
Up-and-coming country singer Kelsea Ballerini was probably having a fairly normal Monday until Taylor Swift tweeted this:
This isn’t the first time that Swift, the fourth most-followed person on Twitter with 54 million followers (just behind Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and President Obama), has thrown her support behind a new artist. She does it fairly regularly, from singer-songwriters such as Vance Joy and Borns to her buddy Ed Sheeran. Even Nicki Minaj famously thanked Swift for helping her send “Super Bass” into the stratosphere after Swift talked about how much she loved the song.
So when Swift tweeted about Ballerini around 2 p.m. Monday, we decided to see the sales ranking and buzz effect at 2 p.m. on Thursday. What happens 72 hours after Swift tweets about your music? Ballerini had about 8,800 followers on Monday. Now she’s close to topping 11,000. As illustrated below, her follower count trickled upwards until it took a huge spike after the Swift tweet.
On Monday, look at the stats for Ballerini’s debut self-titled EP and first single, “Love You Like You Mean It”:
EP on iTunes country Top 150 album chart: No. 42 EP on iTunes all-genre Top 150 album chart: Not listed Single on iTunes country singles chart: No. 29 Single on iTunes all-genre singles chart: No. 125
Impact: No, a Swift tweet doesn’t send a song straight to the top of the charts. But while Ballerini’s single didn’t move up as much, her EP jumping 25 spots in three days on the iTunes country charts is impressive. That could be because Swift specifically mentioned the EP in her tweet, while the singles she referenced were just hashtags (“Love You Like You Mean It” and “Yeah Boy”), and some people may not have caught on.
Taylor Swift can propel people into stardom with the push of the SEND button ... and her latest beneficiary is rising country star Kelsea Ballerini. Taylor was in Nashville Saturday night to celebrate the the birthday of her best friend -- Abigail Anderson.
A bunch of friends were along for the ride, including Kelsea. Now behold the power of Taylor. On March 9th, she tweeted how much she liked her new song, "Love Me Like You Mean It." The song then took off like a rocket, in no small part to Taylor.
BTW, there are other famous people in the pics, including Hayley Williams from Paramore and supermodel Lily Aldridge. Even Calvin can use a little Taylor.
Kelsea Ballerini got the Taylor Swift stamp of approval a few months ago when Swift tweeted that she was driving around listening to Ballerini’s EP on repeat. Since then, Ballerini’s song “Love Me Like You Mean It” has climbed into the Top 15 on Billboard’s country airplay chart and she launched CMT’s Next Women of Country Tour with Jana Kramer. Ballerini will bring the tour to 3rd & Lindsley at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Admission is $10. Ballerini’s debut album “The First Time” will be available online and in stores Monday, May 18.
While her career has taken off since then, Ballerini well remembers the first time she unexpectedly heard “Love Me Like You Mean It” on the radio. “I was in Nashville and I was merging onto the interstate and I had this moment of, ‘Kelsea, are you going to wreck or are you going to turn your song up.’ ”
She managed to hit the volume knob without driving off the road. “Safety, (was) not first,” she laughed. “It was amazing. I have a video, too, where I was laughing, crying.” Ballerini said she’s been a fan of Swift’s since the “Shake It Off” singer’s first album.
“She’s been a huge influence to me,” Ballerini said. “So it’s a big deal to have someone you look up to listen to your stuff and like it, enough to tell their whole fan base about it, which is like 56 million people. It’s awesome that she’s supportive.”
Newcomer Kelsea Ballerini is quickly making a name for herself in country music, and that includes hitting No. 1 with her debut single, “Love Me Like You Mean It.” Ballerini posted a video of her reaction to the news, and it’s a touching display of true heartfelt gratitude.
“Guys, we did it!” she says several times, through tears, after hearing the news from her team. This victory is not only one for Ballerini, but all women in country music. This is the first time since 2006 that a female artist has had a debut single go to the top of the charts, and Ballerini is one of only 11 artists to do so ever. The 21-year-old is also the first solo female artist to top the Billboard airplay chart since Carrie Underwood did it in 2012 with “Blown Away,” according to the Washington Post.
These jarring statistics are reflective of recent controversy over the lack of female presence on country radio, nicknamed #SaladGate after a controversial comment from radio consultant Keith Hill referencing male artists as the “lettuce” of the country music salad, inferring that female artists as the less-important “tomatoes.” Needless to say, Ballerini’s success is a welcome change.
Artists like Underwood, Martina McBride and Dierks Bentley, and others all rallied together to support Ballerini after the news broke, congratulating her on her accomplishment via Twitter. Ballerini may be a new face, but at this rate, we’ll be seeing a lot more of her. She is currently touring the country, making history and preparing to release her second single, “Dibs.”