Kelsea Ballerini admits that it's not all that common for her to feature guest artists on her records. However, her forthcoming third album, Kelsea, includes not one but two guest artists: Kenny Chesney and Halsey.

Both duet partners were deeply meaningful choices for Ballerini, who says that Chesney was the only option she considered to be a featured performer on her song, "Half of My Hometown." Her team-up with Halsey, the singer reveals, was just as meaningful, even though it has a very different backstory.

"On this album, I was like, 'I only want collaborations if they're my friends,'" the singer explains in an interview with Taste of Country Nights. "Like, 'I don't wanna go to some pop star that I don't know, I don't wanna go to some country person that I just want their people to listen to me -- I just wanna do it if it makes sense to me.'"

Meanwhile, Ballerini was fostering a friendship with Halsey that began -- where else? -- with music. "She played Ascend here in Nashville, and I went backstage afterwards and we just clicked, hung out all night, went to Santa's Pub and did karaoke," Ballerini recalls. "That night, her and her whole team, we ended up back at my place, and she played me the first cut of 'Without Me.'"

This was during the summer of 2018, and the pair quickly bonded. A couple of months later, when Ballerini was in L.A., she played a new song of her own for Halsey -- "The Other Girl."

"I just played it for her and she dug it, which was cool," the singer remembers. The rest is history: Halsey agreed to sing on the duet, and the finished product found its way onto Ballerini's third studio album.

Kelsea is due out on Friday (March 20.)

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