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Story Behind the Song: Kelsea Ballerini, ‘Peter Pan’

Kelsea Ballerini earned her third consecutive chart-topping single — and made history — with “Peter Pan,” from her debut album, The First Time. Ballerini co-wrote the song with Jesse Lee and Forest Glen Whitehead; they were inspired by some of the men whom Lee had encountered in the past. Below, Lee explains to The Boot how she came up with the idea for “Peter Pan” — and why she almost didn’t share it in the writing session!

I had this idea; I don’t even really know where it came from. I’ve met a lot of “Peter Pans” in my life. My best friend, especially, is still Peter Pan, in his 30s; he always says he inspired it.

I wrote it down, and I had the idea for probably six months. I had written one time before with Forest Glen, and I loved it; we had a really great time. So the next time, we were booked with he and Kelsea and I. Kelsea, at the time, didn’t have a deal; she was just kind of a new writer in town that nobody knew about.

Just because I loved writing with Forest the one time, I thought I was going to give it a shot, bring out this great idea I had been sitting on. But, of course, I had to tell them, “If we don’t kill it, I’m going to go rewrite it,” because I loved the idea that much. I’d never said that before, and I’ve never said it since, but I should start saying it more!

They flipped out over the idea. We wrote it in probably an hour and a half, and the rest is history three years later. It was my first No. 1.

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