Kelsea Ballerini reflects on hosting the 2024 CMT Awards solo, stating, “It’s definitely new territory for me.”

Published by Cel Manero from Global One Media, Inc.

In a conversation with PEOPLE, Ballerini hints at the potential for debuting new music during the upcoming country awards show.


Kelsea Ballerini may not be new to hosting the CMT Music Awards, but this year’s show presents a fresh challenge as she takes on the role solo.

The 30-year-old “Penthouse” singer discusses entering her fourth year as a host for the country music awards show, which is scheduled to broadcast live from the Moody Center in Austin, Texas, on April 7 at 8 p.m. ET.

“It’s definitely new territory for me,” Ballerini shares with PEOPLE during a Zoom interview from her Nashville home. “But having hosted for the fourth year now, I feel like I’ve gained a lot of experience. The great thing about the CMTs is the relaxed atmosphere, so I don’t feel pressured to be flawless. My goal is to simply bring a fun vibe, pay tribute to the event, and ensure everyone has a great time.”

Having co-hosted with Kane Brown for three years, Kelsea Ballerini is far from feeling “nervous” about her solo hosting debut. However, she may consider enlisting the help of some friends to join her during the three-hour awards show.

“It’s essentially a big reunion, and everyone wants to hang out, so I might just reach out for some assistance wherever I can,” Ballerini mentions.

In previous years, the “Mountain with a View” singer has found significance in addressing pivotal moments at the CMT Music Awards—such as when she performed with drag queens amidst Tennessee’s drag ban and highlighted the issue of gun violence at last year’s show.


“I believe that when you have a platform, particularly as a host, especially on a show with such a significant platform as CBS and CMT, you bear a responsibility to address important issues. For me, both of those statements I made last year were truly important. I think it’s crucial to incorporate moments in every program, whether it’s the CMTs or any show, where people express their desires, ensuring everyone feels acknowledged and secure,” Ballerini expresses.

Ultimately, she aims to maintain the same energy while hosting as she would as a presenter or guest—and that includes a pre-show ritual involving “tequila.”


“There’s a certain vibe to this show, especially, that embodies a summer party,” Ballerini remarks. “Backstage, everyone is raising toasts and popping into each other’s dressing rooms. That’s the energy I aim to convey on screen and in the room.”

The country star also confirms to PEOPLE that she will take the stage to perform at the 2024 CMT Music Awards.

“I can honestly tell you, I have no clue when I’ll be singing, but rest assured, I’ll be singing something,” Ballerini chuckles.


When asked if she’ll debut a new song at the ceremony, Ballerini coyly responds, “I might be.”

Remaining discreet about the sound of her forthcoming release, the four-time Grammy nominee reveals that she’s embraced a “no rounding the edges” approach with her latest project, Rolling Up the Welcome Mat.

“[I’ve learned] to allow each song to have its distinct personality, to be authentic, and somehow it all comes together if it’s genuine,” Ballerini explains. “Although the themes I’m exploring may differ, I’m definitely holding onto the heart that I discovered in those five songs and ensuring it remains intact.”