EXCLUSIVE: Kelsea Ballerini Debuts 'Dream Video' for 'Peter Pan' -- With a Very Hunky Co-Star!
By Sophie Schillaci
"I've been waiting to shoot this video for, like, ever," Kelsea Ballerini gushed, catching up with ET in the desert outside Las Vegas less than 12 hours after the GRAMMY Awards wrapped up in Los Angeles.
"I've been waiting to release this song for forever," she continued. "It's like, my dream video. I'm so excited."
Kelsea's latest single, the third off her major label debut, The First Time, is "Peter Pan," a heartfelt track about what it means to love a boy who can't commit to a serious relationship. She'll perform the track with special guest Nick Jonas on Sunday, April 3, at the Academy of Country Music Awards.
"This was my favorite song on the album and releasing 'Love Me Like You Mean It' and 'Dibs,' I got to show the fun youthful flirty side of me -- which is definitely a side of me -- but I'm a songwriter. I'm excited to show more depth," she said. "I've had short and long relationships where I feel like, emotionally, we can't ever match up. I have friends who have been in really long term relationships or even marriages where they can't ever match. One person isn't as committed, or has a wandering eye, or whatever it is. You never quite make that dream couple because one is Peter Pan."
Kelsea teamed up with director Kristin Barlowe to bring her vision of "Peter Pan" to life, co-starring with model Nick Davis and looking absolutely stunning in custom-designed fashion pieces by Cavanagh Baker for Stowe and Carol Hannah. See the full video exclusively in the player below!
When Kelsea returns to Las Vegas this weekend for the ACMs, she'll be hitting the stage as the official New Female Artist of the Year winner. She'll also be going toe-to-toe with country royalty Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood on Sunday in the Female Vocalist of the Year category.
"It's crazy! These are my second ACM Awards, my first time doing them in Vegas," she said. "I mean, just to be a female in country music is so exciting, but to be in those five, that's an honor. It really is."
But earlier this year, Kelsea scored herself a ringing endorsement from pop's reigning princess: Taylor Swift, a former country star herself. The "Shake It Off" singer invited Kelsea to join her on-stage during her 1989 tour, and has even Instagrammed about having girls nights with the Tennessee native.
"I met Taylor a couple times in a meet and greet situation because I was a fan, still am, but then she tweeted about my EP when 'Love Me Like You Mean It' first came out. Before anyone had really heard it," Kelsea said. "I had just got the masters for my album for that day, it was coming out two months later, so I burned her a CD and wrote her a letter about how much I have been inspired by her. Then she reached out and we've kind of had a friendship ever since.
"It's been really cool to kind of learn from her and watch her more closely," Kelsea continued. "She's a sweetheart and she's such a killer artist and person."
Kelsea joked that she's currently in a relationship with music, but did admit that she and Taylor have had their fair share of gab sessions about boys. (Like any good girlfriends do!)
"Yeah, we've talked," Kelsea blushed. "I mean, you can just listen to her records and feel like you just got therapy -- so it's like that!"
Another industry mentor of Kelsea's is Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott, who she said is "like my big sister."
"It's nice to have those people to go to, like, 'Here's what I'm going through as an artist, what's your take on this?'"
Next up for Kelsea is the ACM Awards red carpet, where she'll undoubtedly be serving up some fierce fashion.
"I am such a girlie girl," she said. "I think it's really fun to play with fashion and as a young girl in country music, that's one thing we are trying to do more and more -- just play with clothes. For ACMs coming up, we are planning some fun things."
The ACM Awards air live on CBS on Sunday, April 3, at 8 p.m. ET with a tape-delayed broadcast on the west coast. This year's ceremony is hosted by Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley.