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Songland-Kelsea Ballerini

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Tonight’s featured artist is Kelsea Ballerini and she’s excited about a show being about song writers. She says she knows firsthand how important that first opportunity is.


Our first song writer is 22 and his name is Jack Newsome and he says people think he looks like Justin Bieber. He says he was in a boy band, but he wanted to write songs. His song is called Lying (Next to You) and it’s a break-up song. He goes in to greet the producers and Kelsea. He performs his song for them.  


Shane says he could see Kelsea singing the song. Ester wants to know what the song was about and Jack says it’s about the end of a relationship. Ryan says the melody needs to change at the end of it. Shane says Jack isn’t catching the double entendre of the lyrics. Kelsea wants to hear a break and create a moment in the song.


The next writer is Jess Jocoy and she’s moved to Nashville and she says there is a lot of competition. Her song is called Easy and it’s a healing song from a heartbreak. She heads into the studio and she performs her song. Ryan picks up his guitar while she sings, and he’s playing along with the chorus.


Shane says the melody is gorgeous and Kelsea agrees. Shane says there’s a lot to the story but there’s a lot left off the paper. He wants to know what the verse means and Jess explains about a guy she met who lived with his ex-girlfriend and her friends warned her about him. Shane and Ryan both play while Kelsea freestyles. Ester wants to know why she didn’t keep the song for herself and Jess says she wants what is best for the song. Shane says they have to listen to more songs, but that melody will haunt them because it’s so good.


Next in is Daniel Feels and his song is called Crush. The song is about that moment when you start to realize you might be falling in love with someone. He heads in and he performs his song. The producers are all dancing in their chairs.


Kelsea says that’s a happy song and it feels good. Shane says Daniel gave him the feels. Kelsea is singing along and Ryan is playing the guitar. Shane says Kelsea just kind of fixed it. Ryan says you can strip the song down and make it organic and just use some percussion. Kelsea says it feels so good.


The final writer is Darius Coleman and he’s always creating. His song is called Better Luck Next Time and it’s about a girl he knows who got cheated on. He heads into the studio and he tells them he’s from Philadelphia, but he’s been in LA for a few months. He says Ryan is a dream come true for him, just meeting him. Darius performs his song for them.


Kelsea says it has a country hook, but she feels like they should lift the chorus a bit. Ryan has his guitar out and he starts playing and they start working on the melody for Kelsea. Darius says this is so humbling. Ryan wants to play one more time and Kelsea sings the song after Darius leaves and he can hear them from outside the studio.


Kelsea after all these incredible choices, this is going to be difficult and she’s so lucky. Kelsea’s first choice is Daniel. Kelsea says she doesn’t want to touch Jess’s song because it’s her story and she should keep it. Darius comes in next and he is moving on to work with a producer. Jack comes back in and Kelsea says she loves the song and he’s going to work with a producer.


Shane is going to work with Jack and Shane says he’s worked with her before and she’s a tough one with lyrics. Shane says with the lyrics and in country you have to spell it out in a way that people get it. Daniel is working with Ester and they are talking to Kelsea and she thinks they should strip the production back a bit. Ester says they will crush it.


Darius is working with Ryan and Ryan says he’s worked with her a number of times. He wants to find the right key so Kelsea can sing the chorus in her head voice. Ryan tells Darius that one of the songs he did with Kelsea was in F and they start reworking the song. Shane is playing some music for Jack from what he’s reworked. Shane says he’s so excited.


Daniel suggests stripping the instruments down to just the acoustic guitar. Ester says since Kelsea wants to scale it back, they need to create some moments with the lyrics. Ryan is talking to Kelsea and he says he’s dropped the key down and Kelsea sings it and she says it feels way better. Ester wants to bring some repetitiveness between the chorus and the hook. Ester wants to bring in a female singer so she can hear it closer to her voice. Ryan is still working with Darius and he has Darius sing it and then he sings it himself. Darius loves the direction the track is heading in.


Jack heads into the studio to perform his song Lying (Next to You) with the changes they made. Kelsea loves how much thought they put into it and it’s so much more her. Ryan says the lyrics are phenomenal. Kelsea says it matters there was a moment of strength and hope and the last three lines do that. She loved it.


Darius is in next to perform Better Luck Next Time with the changes he and Ryan made. When he hits the chorus Kelsea seems excited and Ryan indicates he has goosebumps. Kelsea says that flip to the chorus was her only concern. Ryan says he’s covered in goosebumps and Kelsea says she loves what he did to it.


Daniel says the song has changed a good bit since working with Ester. Daniel brings in a female singer to perform their changes and he plays the guitar while she sings his song Crush. Ryan seems excited when she hits the chorus and throws his arms in the air. Kelsea says it’s a whole different song. Ester says Annie, the singer, is so talented. Ryan says that is a catchy pop melody.


Kelsea says all the songs are amazing. Kelsea says there are two out of three that she felt she would have put on her last record, but she’s in this place of pushing herself and trying things she’s never done before. One of the songs feels like something she’s headed towards. The song she has chosen to record is Better Luck Next Time which is Darius’s song that he collaborated with Ryan on. Kelsea says it feels like something she hasn’t done before, but it still feels like her.

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