Kelsea Ballerini will release her freshman album, The First Time, this spring. The 21-year-old shared the good news while making her debut at the Grand Ole Opry.

“I wrote ["The First Time"] a long time ago, about learning the lesson that sometimes the past should stay in the past,” Ballerini said before launching into the album's title track on the Opry stage. “My album, The First Time, is named after this song, and it’s coming out on May 19. I’ve been dying to tell people this!”

The Opry also tweeted the good news.

Ballerini released her self-titled EP in November on Black River Entertainment. Her first single from the upcoming album, "Love Me Like You Mean It," has so far hit the Top 30 on Billboard's Country Airplay chart. While the song's success helped guide the new record, Ballerini admits that picking songs was a challenge.

"It is so hard. It was so hard," she tells The Boot. "But, for me, what made me love the single and what made me want to lead with "Love Me Like You Mean It" was the confident-girl stance on it. And so, my whole album, I really wanted to have that theme of confidence in a girl, and being okay with who you are, and talking about heartbreak, and talking about all those things but trying to make it positive, and so with that mindset, it helped me narrow down songs for the album."

Ballerini hopes that mindset will also help her join the ranks of other strong female artists who aren't afraid to stand up for themselves.

"I think the reason that there's girls that are working right now -- like Maddie & Tae and RaeLynn, I've gotten to do a lot of stuff with them -- is because they're very strong in what they do and who they are," she notes. "The cool thing about the group of girls that's launching right now is that we're all super-different. Our musical styles are all really different, and I think that it's almost undeniable for whoever thinks that there's no girls in country. It's like, 'Here we are, we're coming!'

"And it's cool to see country radio really support that," Ballerini adds. "It's a visible thing, and to see they're playing girls back-to-back on the radio, that's so cool, and I'm so excited to be a part of that happening again."

The First Time will be released on May 19 on Black River Entertainment. The track listing and pre-order information are not yet available.

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