Kelsea Ballerini’s rise to country stardom has been a rapid one, but she’s still a fan of music at heart. She recently talked to Billboard about some of her inspirations and who she’d most like to collaborate with, and surprisingly, they weren’t all that country.

“Frank Sinatra — he’s a favorite. For female, Kelly Clarkson."

Ballerini went on to give Clarkson the title of her No. 1 favorite artist — ever.

"She’s my favorite of all time — my favorite artist. People are always so surprised by that. I think that she’s the best vocalist in the whole world, but my favorite is watching her interviews because she’s so 200 percent herself. It’s my favorite,” she says.

Ballerini shares that with Clarkson: the ability to be real and down-to-earth in interviews and live shows despite her growing fame. Part of that is due to the role models she has who have done this before her, like Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum and Taylor Swift.

"I’m probably closest with Hillary [Scott], which is funny because I loved her so much as a fan. She’s someone who I feel has been so graceful throughout her whole rise into superstardom. She’s really encouraged me as a human first and an artist second. She’ll text me Bible verses and bring me dinner. She’s like a big sister,” Ballerini explains.

She adds that Swift has also been a good example for her to follow.

"It’s good to have people as a mentor in your industry. Taylor Swift mentioned in an interview that she doesn’t have female musician role models. I think that because she didn’t have that person, she’s very good at being that for other people."

Ballerini saw her first glimpse of major recognition when Swift discovered and shared Ballerini's music with her fans, and the two have since become besties. Both Swift and Scott appeared at Ballerini’s housewarming party last fall. Ballerini recently performed Lady A’s hit “Need You Now" with Scott and bandmate Charles Kelley at one of Kelley’s shows as a solo artist, which she said was surreal, having looked up to them so much as a young fan.

"To be able to be on stage with them is my dream -- my 12-year-old self’s dream.”

The “Peter Pan” singer is getting ready to tour with Rascal Flatts this summer, and recently took home the ACCA Award for Breakthrough Female Artist.

Highlights of Being Kelsea Ballerini

Watch Kelsea Ballerini Sing "Dibs" Acoustic