Rascal Flatts admit that Kelsea Ballerini was their first choice for the opening slot on their summer Rhythm & Roots Tour -- and the admiration is mutual.

"The thing I admire the most about them is, I feel like they have so effortlessly always been at the top. Effortlessly," gushes Ballerini, who adds that she "grew up going to Rascal Flatts concerts. "Through every evolution of country music, through every change, through every wave and trend, they’re there, and I think that’s what makes a legendary artist. For me, that’s what I want to learn from Flatts, how to do that."

She's also excited about having a bit more consistency in her touring schedule.

"Last year, we were the Nashville fill-in for artists; I would be a fill-in if an artist couldn’t do a show," Ballerini explains to The Boot. "We were all over the place. There was not a lot of consistency, which was nice because I learned how to play a lot of different venues and sets. I did take my whole band, but it’s nice to have a little more consistency this year."

Ballerini has certainly earned that consistency, too: She set a record with her debut single, “Love Me Like You Mean It,” has two gold singles and is the 2016 ACM Awards New Female Vocalist of the Year. The rising star says that her acceptance into the country music community has taught her plenty -- good and bad -- about her famous peers.

"There are certain people you meet that you’re pleasantly surprised or disappointed in," admits the 22-year-old. "But it goes both ways: There are the people who I met who I didn’t expect to be quite as lovely and warm as they were, and there are people I met that I was bummed that they weren’t as nice as I wanted them to be. It’s the worst, but it makes me very aware, because I’m aware that I could have got someone on a bad day.

"It makes me very aware that when I meet people, people probably caught that from me before, too," she adds. "It’s a full circle."

A list of all of Ballerini's upcoming concerts is available on her website.