As Kelsea Ballerini begins writing and recording her second studio album, she says she'll reflect honestly on some of the ups and downs of her last two years. And there have been plenty of ups and downs.

"There's just been a lot of life that's happened," Ballerini says. "Personally, (I) went through a breakup, met someone else. Just a lot of like things have happened. There's been a lot stuff to write about and get a little real with."

A song called "Graveyard" is one she can't wait for fans to hear. It's a mid-tempo song about a guy, but she won't say if it's a love song or heartbreaker. Ballerini has been through both since debuting with "Love Me Like You Mean It" two years ago. She's now got eyes for Australian musician Morgan Evans. Visit her Instagram page to see a ton of adorable pics of the happy couple.

Another challenge the 22-year-old is taking on with the follow-up to The First Time is writing and recording songs that are personal, but also play well during concerts and/or make for great music videos. Those are two things she says she knew nothing about two years ago, although her "Peter Pan" video proves she's a quick study. At its core, whatever she comes up with will be from the heart. Like so many of today's top artists Ballerini knows it has to be honest.

"Half of it's gonna be a break-up record and half of it's gonna be a new, doe-eyed record," she says.

Ballerini's recent cover of Tim McGraw's "Humble and Kind" qualifies as honest. She recorded it on the Bobby Bones Show a month ago, but just recently the video resurfaced. Ballerini gives a raw, emotional performance that she says she takes to heart. Words like that are a reminder to her, sometimes a necessary reminder, to not try to be cool.

"I'm 22, so I still have those moments where it's like, 'Geez Kelsea, you just acted like a teenager. Don't do that again.' Also I think too, there's just a lot of added pressures and stuff, just in kind of growing into being an artist ... so there have definitely been times where I had to check myself and be like, 'Just be normal. Don't try to be cool ever.'"

It's that every-girl charm that has made Ballerini such an easy artist to cheer for. "Peter Pan" is her third straight Gold certified hit from The First Time, and it's close to becoming her third No. 1 hit. While her eyes are on new music, fans will have to wait a bit longer to hear songs like "Graveyard." The singer says the flirty, up-tempo pop-country song "Yeah Boy" will be her next single.

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