Kelsea Ballerini was surprised Tuesday morning (Nov. 7) with CMT’s Next Women of Country Impact Award. “They told me I was giving Leslie [Fram, Senior Vice President of Music Strategy] an award. I didn’t know this,” a surprised Kelsea said from the stage.
The Impact Award was created in 2016 and presented to Brandy Clark, to honor individual contributions to country music in growing the female voice in the country music industry. The award was presented to the “Dibs” singer by songwriter Nicolle Galyon and Leslie Fram.
Kelsea has had a whirlwind year and just this week she released her sophomore album, Unapologetically, announced her own headlining tour, is nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year at the 51st Annual CMA awards on Wednesday night (Nov. 8) and received the Vanguard award Monday night (Nov. 7) at the ASCAP songwriter awards.
With all that going on, the 24-year-old hitmaker wanted to be present to show her support for CMT’s Next Women of Country event that showcases and supports the talents of rising females in the genre.
“I just want to say, I know for me, I did my radio tour like 3 years ago and I remember up until now, a question I get asked all the time, that I know everyone on this stage gets asked all the time, is ‘Where are the girls?’ I just want to lock everyone that has asked that question in this room right now and say, ‘Open your ears.’ How much talent is in this room right now. I’m just stoked to be a chick in country music right now, it’s the best time ever.”
Photos by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT