A few days before the 2024 Grammy Awards, Kelsea Ballerini has made a pivot. “Originally, I was going to wear this other dress that was a lot more country,” she says. “It was very shiny, it had fringe, and I might wear it again for something else because it was beautiful. But then I put on this Vera Wang and I haven't worn anything like it yet. And I think it looks like the color of Welcome mat. It was really about ending one chapter and starting a new one, and the dress kind of did both. So the symbolism of that, I really loved. And I just loved the fact that fashion-wise, it was a choice I'd never made before. It's a dress, but it still has a sexy side in its sheerness, which I love and I'm excited about it.
It's the day before the Grammys, where Ballerini is nominated for best country album for her 2023 triumph. Roll up the welcome mat. Ballerini is wrapping up a shoot in Calabasas when she calls, with very big plans for the evening: “I'm going back to the hotel and I'm going to dive into bed.” She deserves sleep. The following night, she arrived in the dress which she describes as a sort of funeral for the Welcome mat Era: A high-neck, backless mermaid dress in black silk organza, decorated with chiffon ruffles and hand-painted silk organza flowers in lavender. It was a girls' night out for the singer (her boyfriend Chase Stokes was back on set for the upcoming season of Outer Banks): Her date for the evening was collaborator Alysa Vanderheym, and throughout the evening, she could be seen dancing with fellow pop star Taylor Swift (the two were particularly unmissable in the crowd during Miley's performance Cyrus, apparently having the best time of the evening). someone else in the entire arena). She may not have won the award, but there are sure to be plenty of other ceremonies in her future — and boy did she have a blast.
Here we catch up with our former cover star before the big night.
How are we feeling before tomorrow's show?
I try to feel neutral. I think every couple of years I'm nominated, in my brain I tell myself there's no chance when I look at the category. With Welcome mat changing my life like she did, I just have an extra level of excitement around it.
What were all the pre-Grammys parties like? Are you having fun?
I did the Billboard event, which was super cool. And then I did the ASCAP brunch and just did random stuff in between. My mom is here, so I hang out with her. My best friend is here. Chase had been here for a few days, so I kind of snuck back into real life in the meantime.
Is Chase coming with you tomorrow?
I'm riding solo tomorrow; he films. Mom also brought her best friend, so they're making it a girls' night. So they will be somewhere in the stands and I'm sure we will know exactly where they are. We will hear them.
I love this gothic look you have for the series, especially to close this chapter.
It wasn't intentional, but it is. We finally put it to rest.
Why did you decide to change the look of your original dress?
Honestly, it's because this dress is comfortable. When I'm anxious, it's a long night, and there are things that take me a little out of my comfort zone, being comfortable in my outfit really, really helps. If I feel like the neck is too tight or the corset when I'm sitting is cutting into my stomach, I'll think about it all night.
What time does the glamor start tomorrow?
11:30 I'm nominated with Alysa Vanderheym, who I did the whole record with, just her and me. So in the morning she and I will take care of ourselves, go to a sauna, take an ice bath, do a breathing session and get our heads in the game before we get into the chaos.
What is your eating plan before the show? The ceremony takes place at such a strange time for meals.
I make a big brunch and then add broth and juice. Then after the show, before the after party, that’s when the calories no longer exist.
And what's the post-party look?
The post-party look is this Brandon Maxwell two-piece. That's crazy. It's like a bodysuit with a low rise skirt so you can kind of see the top of the bodysuit and a little hip peeking out, which is fun. I never wore anything like that again. But it's also very stretchy and very comfortable for my In-N-Out carry.
That's also my plan, to do In-N-Out between the ceremony and the parties.
You do it well. You need to carb up because you know it's a long night.