Peggy Sirota


Kelsea Ballerini Picks Her Summer Playlist, From Katy Perry To Conan Gray

"[They] make me feel like I'm at a pool party, even though I'm 100 percent not at a pool party."

Lockdown hasn't dulled Kelsea Ballerini's love for music discovery. When NYLON asked the country star to select the songs she'll be spinning all summer, she chose tunes from breakout sensation Conan Gray, rising pop star FLETCHER, and songs she first heard on TikTok (though don't ask her to do the #Savage challenge).

It's not altogether surprising, as Ballerini's own music dances on the frontier line between pop and country. Not only do these tracks, as she explains, "make me feel like I'm at a pool party, even though I'm 100 percent not at a pool party," they're also from the peers that inspire her today.

After the jump, read on to see what Ballerini — who recently put out Kelsea — has to say about each pick. For her, the songs also offer a gift of wide open space. "The freedom of open road, wind in your hair, sun coming down," she says. "All those cliches of summertime."

"Magic In The Hamptons" - Social House ft. Lil Yachty

"This is the first song that I found through TikTok. It would make me sound like such an old fart. I literally just got on TikTok a couple of months ago — because I didn't understand it and I thought I was too old for it — but I finally did. And this was the first song where I was like, I'm obsessed with the song. What is it? And then I found it on like Spotify and Apple and all of that. Now I can't get enough of it."


"Ruin That For Me" - Avenue Beat

"They're a new trio that's kind of country, pop, alt, and I've just gotten to know them. I think they're incredible. They have a sibling harmony, but they're not sisters... I think their music is kind of everywhere and they're just young and cool."

"Breaking Up Was Easy In The 90's" - Sam Hunt

"[Sam Hunt] just put out his record South Side and I'm obviously a huge fan, but this one in particular... It's a breakup song, but it's also a freaking jam. I love the contradiction of that."

UMG Recordings

"Daisies" - Katy Perry

"I think Katy Perry is just pop yumminess. Whenever she put out Teenage Dream, that album, I think it's one of the best pop albums of all time. To me, 'Daisies' is like a new Teenage Dream kind of feel."

Capitol Records

"Underdog" - Alicia keys

"I'm just obsessed with Alicia Keys. From the way she speaks, to the way she writes, to the way that she connects. Her music has so much soul and empathy and warmth to it. I think the message of the song, especially right now, is empowering and encouraging and warm."

RCA Records

"The Bones" - Maren Morris, Hozier

"When Maren put out her record, this was the one that I wore out, and it's really cool to be able to turn on three different stations and three different genres and hear the song. It's transcending all genres. For a female country singer to be doing that is sick."

Sony Music

"Bitter" - FLETCHER, Kito

"I've been a fan of FLETCHER for at least a couple of years now. I think since she put out her first stuff. 'Bitter' is pop, yummy, goodness. I'm obsessed with it."

Capitol Records

"Watermelon Sugar" - Harry Styles

"I have to say, and people will come after me for this, but I'm a new Harry fanatic. I liked Harry's first project, but I never was a super, super fan until this album. The whole record is so incredible. This one to me feels very summertime-centric. I am fully a fangirl now. It clicked."

Columbia Records/Erskine Records

"Maniac" - Conan Gray

"Conan, his whole Kid Krow record, he mixes almost electronic music with mainstream pop in this way that somehow works and blends. Then the fact that he writes it all... the songwriter in me is in awe of him."

Dillon Matthews

"Wine, Beer, Whiskey" - Little Big Town

"It's like a good old Southern drinking song, but it's wrapped up in this soulful, almost revival-sounding production. You listen to it and you're like, Ooh, this makes me want to go to the bar and have a whiskey. But also you're like, I also go to church. They're always pushing boundaries and trying new things, and I'm always interested in what they're going to do next."

Capitol Records Nashville

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