Kelsea Ballerini Has 'Dibs' on Second Country Airplay No. 1
"I still can't believe this news," Ballerini beams. "I am so grateful."
Kelsea Ballerini becomes one of only five women to notch No. 1s on Billboard's Country Airplay chart with their first two charted titles, and the first in 15 years, as "Dibs" rises 3-1 (45.4 million, up 10 percent, according to Nielsen Music) on the March 5-dated list. Her debut hit, "Love Me Like You Mean It," topped the July 4, 2015, chart. (It was the first No. 1 debut by a solo female since Carrie Underwood's 2006 six-week leader "Jesus, Take the Wheel.")
The last solo female to send her first two entries on Country Airplay to No. 1 was Jamie O'Neal, who arrived with the leaders "There Is No Arizona" and "When I Think About Angels" in 2001. The other women to earn the honor are Deana Carter (1996-97), Faith Hill (1994) and Wynonna (1992), who is the only one of those artists whose first three singles rose to No. 1 (from the start of her solo career, apart from The Judds).
"It just kind of blows my mind hearing that I'm the first female artist since 2001 to have my first two singles go to No. 1," Ballerini tells Billboard. "All I ever intended was to make good music, to have a voice and have that voice be heard. As an artist and songwriter, that's all I wanted. For country radio to commit and trust me as they have has been the start of a beautiful relationship. I still can't believe this news. I am so grateful."
"In addition to another great song, Ballerini's bubbly and charming personality really makes you want to root for her," says WBWL Boston pd Lance Houston.
Among all artists, Ballerini is the first to reign with her first two Country Airplay entries since Sam Hunt led with his first three: "Leave the Night On," "Take Your Time" and "House Party," in 2014-15.
This article first appeared in Billboard's Country Update -- sign up here.