Kelsea Ballerini on Her Shania Moment

"Is She Singing My Song?"
By Alison Bonaguro
November 16, 2016

When Shania Twain released her 1995 hit “Any Man of Mine,” Kelsea Ballerini was only 18 months old.

I know, right?

Generation gaps like that one just don’t seem to matter when it comes to music, though.

That’s why, when Ballerini saw Twain singing along to her song “Peter Pan” during the recent CMT Artists of the Year special, it was an unbelievable moment of a lot mutual appreciation, and a little bit of fangirling.

“I saw it while I was singing,” Ballerini told me when she was in Chicago last week. “I was like, ‘Is she singing my song?’”

Kelsea Ballerini performing "Peter Pan"

“I went up to her afterward and said, ‘Shania, my name is Kelsea, and I got to honor you tonight with ‘Any Man of Mine.’ I just want to say thank you for being such a strong female for me to look up to.”

Twain quickly stopped Ballerini to assure her she knew exactly who she was by telling her, “Kelsea, ‘Peter Pan’ is one of my favorite songs.”

“How do I even respond to that?” Ballerini told me. “It was one of those great moments for me as a songwriter and new artist. And to have her encourage me was incredible. I needed that.”

At the CMT Artists of the Year ceremony, Ballerini won the Breakout Artist Award, and Twain was honored as Artist of a Lifetime.