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Kelsea Ballerini hit another career milestone just one day after her 30th birthday (9/12), when she made her MTV VMA debut performance. Today, we learned is included on Time’s 2023 100 Next list.

In the Time article, where she graces the cover of the popular magazine for the first time, she talks about her new EP, Rolling Up The Welcome Mat. The project is a  bunch of songs she wrote after her divorce from her husband of five years, Morgan Evans. Time also notes her many milestones in 2023, from appearing on Saturday Night Live for the first time to performing her “fun” murder song “If You Go Down (I’m Going Down Too)” alongside four drag queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Kelsea tells Time in an interview that happened in August that her EP is unlike any other body of work she’s ever made. She added that this EP was different because she had just released her album in September (Subject To Change) and was going through a massive life shift. Kelsea said she was writing the EP in her “scarce time off.” She admitted that she didn’t tell her management or record label about her work. She said that the project was very “cathartic” and that there is such “pureness” to the record that she believes that is the reason it connected with people so much.

RELATED: Kelsea Ballerini Took A Spill While On Vacation'

Kelsea got two CMA Nominations last week, and one blew her mind. Just minutes after the announcement, Ballerini was on her Insta Stories in a raw video clip she made on her phone.

An emotional Ballerini, who appears to be lying on the floor in her home, said, “Hey, good morning. um, CMA nominations came out this morning.” She pauses and smiles, “‘Rolling Up The Welcome Mat” is nominated for Album of the Year. It’s the little EP that keeps on giving. Oh, my little heart’s gonna explode and implode at the same time. I am also nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year and Album of the Year at the CMAs. Good morning!”

Ballerini then posted the announcement from the CMA of Album of the Year on her Insta Stories and wrote over it, “Nah, I’ll never get over this!.”

Other nominees for CMA Album of the Year for 2023 are Lainey Wilson’s Bell Bottom Country, Ashley McBryde’s Lindeville, Luke Combs’s Gettin’ Old, and Morgan Wallen’s One Thing At A Time. The 2023 57th Annual CMA Awards will air live on ABC on November 8 at 8 PM ET.

Top Five Fun Kelsea Ballerini Songs

  • "Yeah Boy" (2016)

    A fun song found on her debut album, “The First Time.” The music video for the song is an ode to the 1990s. Ballerini is shown performing the song in a colorful bodysuit in front of a neon backdrop and a brick wall spray-painted with graffiti, with female backup dancers. When the song came out, Kelsea was touring with Rascal Flatts and headlining her own “The FirstTime Tour.”

  • "Heartfirst" (2022)

    This is a song on Ballerini’s “Subject To Change” album, which seemed to catapult her to a new level of fame. Kelsea wrote the song with Alysa Vanderheym and Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild in July 2021. According to Ballerini, it was the first song that she ever wrote where she did not come up with the title first; instead, the opening line, “Met him at a party / Accidentally brushed his body / On the way to get a drink at the bar” was the first lyric she wrote for the song.

  • "Dibs" (2015)

    The fun song she named her dog after. The official music video for “Dibs” premiered on October 22, 2015. The video consists of footage Ballerini took while on tour in York, Pennsylvania, Greenville, South Carolina, and St. Leonard, Maryland, performing in front of live crowds, celebrating her 22nd birthday, and spending time with her dog. The chorus sings, Yeah, I’m callin’ dibs / On your lips / On your kiss / On your time / Boy, I’m callin’ dibs / On your hand / On your heart / All mine.”

  • "Hole in the Bottle" (2020)

    Kelsea happily joins the country music ranks with a drinking song; a remix of the song featuring Shania Twain was released five months after the original single came out. The music video begins with a vintage black-and-white style with Ballerini dressed in flapper wardrobe reminiscent of the 1920s. Once the first chorus hits, colored scenes are introduced, and she is shown in a house painting a portrait of her dog Dibs in a field with a couple of friends who join her in lounging on a bed and performing a dance routine with the singer and playing chess with herself.

  • "If You Go Down (I'm Goin' Down Too)" (2022)

    This song is a gem and puts Kelsea in the same company of “fun” murder songs like the Chicks’ “Goodbye Earl.” Ballerini said when the song came out, it was actually to evoke thoughts of the 1991 film “Thelma & Louise” and The Chicks’ “Goodbye Earl.” She told us then, “We really wanted to lean into a very ’90s country feel, and so we brought in fiddle for the song, which I think to me makes it. That’s also why there’s a Chicks reference to it, which everyone picks up on, which was absolutely intentional. I didn’t want to make it sound like anything else on the record. I wanted it to be its own moment.”

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