ET exclusively spoke with the 27-year-old country singer via Zoom this week, to discuss everything from her stunning cover shoot for Shape magazine to life at home with her husband, Morgan Evans. For the magazine's April issue, on newsstands Friday, Ballerini rocks a canary yellow bikini, with glowy makeup and her hair styled in loose waves.
"I'm so excited about it! We shot this in January, which was lucky for me because that was my reset month," Ballerini told ET's Rachel Smith. "I was doing dry January, meatless January. I was working out all the time, so I was really treating myself to a reset. I really needed it; mentally, physically, emotionally."
"I was feeling really good, so that was kind of the change I made to really get ready [for the shoot]," she continued. "I've done a decent job maintaining it, and I'm trying to string it through the whole year. Like, 'OK, less wine, less stops at McDonald's, less all of that, and more consistent sunshine, more consistent working out.'"
Ballerini added that, just like all of us, she definitely has her weaknesses when it comes to food. For her, it's hitting up the McDonald's drive-thru. "You can't take the Knoxville out of the girl! I'm a 10-piece nugget meal, with honey mustard," the "Miss Me More" singer joked. "Been that way since I was a kid. I can't change it now, you know?"
Ballerini is all about balance these days, and finding joy in life's simple pleasures. The blonde beauty and her husband, along with their dog, Dibs, recently moved out of their condo in downtown Nashville and into a home in the suburbs. "It was time," Ballerini told ET.
"Having the condo, we loved it. It was nice to be able to walk to dinner or whatever, but yeah, I just felt like with everything that's happened this last year, it was time to get a little piece of land," she explained. "And our sweet dog, his anxiety is way down. Like, sorry, buddy."
"Honestly, it's just nice to be able to put some creative energy into something right now," she continued, of life amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. "Being able to get the house how we wanted, having the time to make a house a home. That takes time, and we wouldn't have had that if things had gone to plan. So that's kind of been a little hidden gift and silver lining the last year."
Of course, getting back to music and performing is something Ballerini and all her fellow country artists are looking forward to this year, along with the upcoming ACM Awards on Sunday, April 18. Ballerini is nominated for Female Artist of the Year, and is up against some of her close pals, like Maren Morris and Carly Pearce.
"It's exciting, it really is. There are so many incredible women in country music right now," she raved. "So to be back in that category is really exciting. It's also been a hard year to navigate, and be a face of the genre, when you're like, 'What does that even look like right now? How do I do that?' I really tried, and it's nice to see that it was represented."
"I'm not going to win that award," she added, laughing. "I mean, listen. I'm really practical, it's a gift I guess my parents gave me. Being nominated is plenty. I'm very honored to be in that category, but it is not my year to win it."
Later in the interview, Ballerini also teased what fans can expect from her next. "I'm working on a lot of projects right now, obviously music," she said. "I'm always working on music, that's like home base."
"I know people get worried when I'm like, 'There's a lot going on.' They're like, 'Are you doing stuff other than music?' I'm like, 'No, music is always it,'" she continued. "I think this last year I've zoomed out a bit in some other ways and gone, 'Well, what else can I do? What else can I do with my writing? What else can I do with this little platform I have?' And it's been a really fun few months, kind of just stretching my wings and figuring out where that's going to take me."