Kelsea Ballerini Scores 'Rising Star' Award

Tennessee native earns a spot in Billboard history with chart-topping “Love Me Like You Mean It.”

Kelsea Ballerini is the 2015 recipient of Billboard's 'Rising Star' honor. Credit: John Shearer/WireImage

In 2014, Kelsea Ballerini attended the CMA Awards as a fan. At the 2015 show on November 4th, she walked the red carpet as a double nominee.

Though she didn’t collect any CMA hardware that night, the Knoxville, Tennessee, native’s meteoric rise this year certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed. Billboard recently announced that Ballerini will be presented with the Rising Star award at the annual Women in Music event taking place December 11th in New York. The honor is conferred upon artists “whose success on the Billboard charts and talent demonstrate a clear path to success.” The 2014 honoree was pop star Ariana Grande.

“I have been so excited to share this news with Yall,” Ballerini tweeted. “I am SO honored.”

Ballerini earned her own little piece of history when “Love Me Like You Mean It” topped the Billboard Country Airplay chart in June, making her the first solo female to hit No. 1 with a debut single since Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take the Wheel” in 2006. Including Underwood and Ballerini, only 11 solo female artists have been able to accomplish the feat. Ballerini’s debut album The First Time — which entered the Top Country Albums chart at No. 4 upon its release in June — includes the follow-up single, “Dibs,” which currently sits at Number 17.

Ballerini will perform at the Women in Music Event, which will be broadcast on television December 18th on Lifetime. Also being recognized at the gala are Woman of the Year Lady Gaga, Chart Topper Selena Gomez, Trailblazer Lana Del Ray, Rulebreaker Demi Lovato, Group of the Year Fifth Harmony and Powerhouse Brittany Howard of the Alabama Shakes.