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Before success, Kelsea Ballerini got a tattoo to remind her to stay true to herself

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ABCKelsea Ballerini is on the cover of Shape magazine this month, reflecting on a healthy eating balance, her Dry January and more in a corresponding interview.

The slower pace of 2020 was a huge adjustment for the singer, whose self-titled third album came out early on in the COVID-19 pandemic. In the year since, she’s been “baby stepping my way into” a routine and prioritizing self-care. 

“Get outside for 30 minutes a day. Sit on the porch. Take the dog for a walk. I’m building that into my life, and it’s not boring at all,” Kelsea explains. “It’s really helping me feel that ownership of my life that I need.”

But while Kelsea’s continuing to learn how to live a balanced life, she’s prioritized being true to herself since the beginning. For example, Kelsea shares a story about the day before her first-ever photo shoot, when her first single, “Love Me Like You Mean It,” was just beginning its journey up the charts. She says she “panicked” when she realized that she had always wanted a tattoo, but hadn’t gotten one yet.

“And I was like, ‘What if this single works and people start to follow me?’ Then all of the sudden, I get a tattoo. People will be like, ‘She’s going off the deep end,’” Kelsea recalls. “So I went to the tattoo parlor the day before that shoot and got a tattoo.”

That tattoo is of the words “how sweet the sound.”

“It was just this youthfully innocent way of saying, ‘I’ve got to be who I am from the beginning of all this,’” Kelsea explains.

That approach has certainly worked for Kelsea: Her single, “hole in the bottle,” recently hit number-one on country radio.

By Carena Liptak
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