Kelsea Ballerini’s ‘Rolling Up the Welcome Mat’ Film Was ‘Hard’ for Her Mom to Watch
Kelsea Ballerini's mother, Carla Denham, has always encouraged her singer-songwriter daughter to use her voice — but that doesn't mean it's easy to hear her sing about tough topics, like her divorce from fellow country singer Morgan Evans.
In a new episode of the Got It From My Momma podcast with host Jennifer Vickery Smith, Denham takes listeners through the complex range of emotions she felt when she heard the songs on Ballerini's Rolling Up the Welcome Mat EP, and watched the project's accompany short film.
"I mean, I would just bawl," Denham says, remembering when Ballerini first started sending her the new songs she'd written for the project, adding that even more difficult than listening to the songs was watching the short film her daughter had created.
"And the songs were hard enough to listen to — but I also know that's cathartic for her; that's her way of processing hurt and pain," she explains. " ... When she decided to do the mini-film ... she wrote the script for it, so she was sharing all that with me, and I'm thinking, 'God, how are you gonna do that? I couldn't do that. There's no way I could get up there.'"
The end result, Denham continues, was particularly painful to watch, because she could see just how honest Ballerini was being about her pain on camera.
"If she'd have hired an actress to do that, it still would have hurt for me to watch it, but to watch her acting out what she really felt and experienced ... " Denham goes on to say. "It's that blend between, 'I'm in total awe,' and I just wanted to take her and put her in a plastic bubble and, let's just go away somewhere, away from the world."
While most other viewers might not be able to tell the difference between Ballerini acting out heartache versus living it, her mom knew the truth.
"I watched that film, and the pain on her face — I've seen that pain. It's real pain," she reflects. "That was a hard day for her. That was a very hard day for her, to do that."
Ballerini's Rolling Up the Welcome Mat chronicles her journey of heartbreak, grief and, ultimately, moving on from her marriage. When she released the project, the singer said her focus was on "presenting the songs as honestly as possible," adding, "Most of them started with me and my guitar."