Kelsea Ballerini The First Time -

Black River Entertainment recording artist Kelsea Ballerini has been counting down to the release of her debut album THE FIRST TIME, today (5/18) and will celebrate this week with a national media blitz across several platforms, including performing her Top10-and-rising smash “Love Me Like You Mean It” (Ballerini, Whitehead, Kerr, Carpenter).

“I feel like I’ve been dreaming about, writing, and wishing for this day since I was twelve. To finally get these songs out to people, is really special and something that I’ve been excited about for a long time,” said Ballerini.

“This is a such special day for Kelsea and Black River,” said Black River Entertainment CEO Gordon Kerr. “Over the last couple of years, we have been privileged to share in the development of Kelsea’s amazing songwriting talents and artistry. Today, the world gets to hear her heart and we couldn’t be more proud!”

To kick off release week, fans can join Ballerini for a special #CMchat online tonight at 6PM PT/9PM ET and celebrate with her when she returns to her hometown of Knoxville, TN, on Tuesday (5/19) for a special in-store appearance at Walmart (10900 Parkside Dr., Knoxville, TN) at 6PM EST. Then, she will jet off to NYC to make her national TV debut on NBC’s TODAY show on Thursday (5/21) beginning at 10AM in all time zones and take her performance to new heights at the top of The Empire State Building on Friday (5/22).

On stands now, the stunning singer-songwriter graces the cover of NASH Magazine. The story gives an inside look at Ballerini’s rise to becoming one of CMT’s Next Women of Country, her songwriting inspiration and the making of her debut album.

Produced by Forest Glen Whitehead and Jason Massey, THE FIRST TIME highlights Ballerini’s skillful songwriting and contagious personality on all 12 songs.

Newly crowned one of CMT’s Next Women of Country, Ballerini has been abuzz with recent shout-outs from Superstars Taylor Swift, Little Big Town, Kristian Bush and TODAY’s Hoda Kotb and landing on several 2015 “Ones to Watch” lists, including Billboard, Country Weekly, Rolling Stone Country, The Huffington Post,, Spotify, #CMChat and more. Racking up the firsts, she scored her first-ever award show nomination for the 2015 CMT Music Awards Breakthrough Video of the Year (“Love Me Like You Mean It”). Airing live on CMT June 10 at 8/7 CT, fans can vote now at

Currently, Ballerini is co-headlining CMT’s NEXT WOMEN OF COUNTRY Tour – the network’s first-ever ladies-only tour – and will also join select dates on Lady Antebellum’s WHEELS UP Tour throughout the summer.

Hailing from Knoxville, TN, Ballerini moved to Nashville, TN at age 15 to chase the dream of becoming a songwriter. At age 19, she signed a publishing deal with Black River Publishing in 2013 and later that year signed a record deal with Black River Entertainment.

For tour dates and more, visit Reach out to her on Facebook, TwitterInstagram and YouTube.

Watch the music video for “Love Me Like You Mean It” via CMT.comVevo and YouTube.