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Now in its second year of CMA nods, Kelsea Ballerini’s “Half of My Hometown” just keeps on giving

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ABC/Heidi Gutman

Most artists only get one award show cycle to celebrate a big song, but Kelsea Ballerini lucked into two.

Her song, “Half of My Hometown,” won her her very first CMA trophies last year for Musical Event of the Year and Music Video of the Year. Now, in 2022, the song is nominated for Single of the Year because it was a single during the eligibility window for this year’s show.

“So it’s like, this song is truly the gift that keeps on giving,” Kelsea jokes to ABC Audio. “I’m like, ‘Am I gonna be nominated for this next year, too? Is it still eligible for five years from now?’”

Out of all the songs in her discography, this one is special, the singer goes on to say. Not only is it a duet with Kenny Chesney — who also hails from her hometown of Knoxville — but at the crux, the track is Kelsea’s ever-evolving, complex relationship with the place where she comes from.

“I resented my hometown for a long time because in my brain, it was the place that was keeping me from being in Nashville and doing this, pursuing my dream,” she reflects. “As I’ve gotten older and wanted to learn more about myself and grow up eloquently, every time I come home, I find so much more of myself.” 

The 56th annual CMA Awards airs tonight, November 9, at 8 p.m. on ABC; the ceremony will broadcast live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.

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