Kelsea Ballerini On ‘Rolling Up The Welcome Mat’: ‘I Never Wanted to Play These Songs’

Kelsea Ballerini never imagined that people would still be talking about  Rolling Up The Welcome Mat more than six weeks after it was released. The Tennessee native wrote all six songs on the EP as a way to cope with her mixed emotions about the end of her marriage to Morgan Evans, unaware that the entire project would gain a life of its own.

“The intention was truly to drop it,” Ballerini explains on Apple Music Country’s Today’s Country Radio with Kelleigh Bannen. “I wanted to make the short film, drop the short film on the same day and just walk away. I never wanted to play these songs.”

In fact, Ballerini was ready to put the focus on her current single, “If You Go Down (I’m Going Down Too),” from her latest Subject to Change album. But it was her fans who kept clamoring for songs on Rolling Up The Welcome Mat instead.

“I thought it was going to be a thing on Valentine’s Day. … Move right on back to ‘If you go down, I’m going down too,’ and it’s not going to disrupt anything because why would it?” Ballerini reflects. “Truly, every day some things happened, like getting SNL and all these things. We’re just like, ‘I guess we should make a merch piece.'”

As “If You Go Down (I’m Going Down Too)” makes its impact at radio, the 29-year-old is deciding how to best move forward, in light of the unexpected popularity of Rolling Up The Welcome Mat.

“We’re just like, ‘Do we put one of these songs to radio?'” Ballerini shares. “We’re really just shifting now because we did not expect [this response]. It wasn’t the intention. This was not the intention.”

Ballerini has only spoken in one interview about her divorce, pouring out most of her thoughts in the six songs on Rolling Up The Welcome Mat instead.

“I’ve only had one conversation about the breakup, and it was very unfiltered and I stand by it,” says the singer. “Every other conversation I’ve had has been about the music. … I felt like the divorce is not new, the music is… So I’m just trying to really shift back into the art of it and the heart of it and the healing that it’s bringing to me and now the healing that it’s bringing to other people.”

In spite of the pain of the divorce, Ballerini is optimistic — and confident — about her future in music, and not just country music.

“I want to play arenas,” Ballerini tells the New York Times, “I want to be the main draw. I want the pyrotechnics. I want to cross over, dare I say.”

Ballerini is currently on tour with Kenny Chesney, on his I Go Back Tour. Find music and tour dates at