So, How Was Your 2020? is a series in which our favorite entertainers answer our questionnaire about the music, culture and memorable moments that shaped their year. We’ll be rolling these pieces out throughout December.
Kelsea Ballerini had the unfortunate timing of releasing her third album Kelsea one week into quarantine, competing with a frenzied, brutal news cycle as her touring plans for the rest of the year evaporated into thin air. Rather than get bitter about it, Ballerini got busy and recorded a second, mostly acoustic version of the album and used her last name as the title.
In the midst of it all, she spent more time with her husband, musician Morgan Evans (the two bought a house together during quarantine). Ballerini also spent time cranking albums from her pal Halsey, Harry Styles, and Carole King — that is, when she wasn’t turning to Avenue Beat’s “F2020” for a smile.
The albums I listened to the most in 2020 was:
Harry Styles’ Fine Line, Halsey’s Manic, Brett Eldredge’s Sunday Drive and Little Big Town’s Nightfall
The song that will define “2020” for me is:
Although I have found some real silver linings this year, “F2020” by Avenue Beat was the perfect comic relief. We were supposed to be touring together right now, so hopefully one day we can rain check and I can hear them play the song that made me laugh through all the craziness.
I’d define my current state of mind as:
Eager. I’ve definitely felt all of the feelings this year, but I’m ending the year feeling grateful for a reset, and really eager for what next year holds.
The old-favorite album I returned to for comfort this year was:
Tapestry by Carole King. The whole record is like a songwriting masterclass, and specifically “You’ve Got a Friend” became such a comforting song through the isolating first few months of the pandemic.
A new hobby I picked up in quarantine was:
Cooking!! My parents are such amazing cooks and I always had hoped I’d learn to love it one day, and the time at home sparked it.
The celebrity I’d most want to quarantine with is:
I don’t think being quarantined with a celebrity sounds too appealing to me…hahaha.
Something positive that happened to me that nobody noticed was:
Investing in my marriage! Morgan is a touring artist as well, so we had built our whole relationship without a lot of time physically together. It really has been a silver lining in my personal life. We also bought our first house, which has been really nice to decorate and nest over the holidays. Feels very normal…in a good way. Ha!
The mistake I learned the most from this year was:
I think I learned to hold all my plans a little more loosely. Obviously as a touring artist, a lot of my time is scheduled out, but some really beautiful things came out of the plans falling through this year. The reimagination of my album, Dancers, being the main one.
The biggest hero of 2020 was:
Nurses and doctors. I have immeasurable gratitude for their sacrifice, bravery, and heart.
A word or phrase I never want to hear again is:
Murder Hornets? Ha.
The thing I’m least looking forward to in 2021 is:
Hoping that there will be some version of touring coming back, it will be tough for me to readjust to being away from home and missing birthdays and special moments with my close circle again.
The thing I’m most looking forward to doing when the pandemic is over is:
Truthfully, touring. However that may look. I took the good part of 2019 off the road to make a record, and then released that record the week the world shut down, so I’m really missing the connection and magic of being in the room with people all buzzing off the music together.
My biggest hope for 2021 is:
I hope everyone had some kind of emotional awakening this year and that we carry that into the future by doing a better job of taking care of each other. Everyone was leveled in one way or another, and I think that made people realize we’re all “in this together” as cheeseball and overused as that may sound. That’s a mentality we can all benefit, learn, and grow from.