Kelsea Ballerini’s CMT Music Awards performance Sunday night (April 7) will revisit a classic, but from the viewpoint of where she is in her life now, ten years later.

She's performing "Love Me Like You Mean It," but a reimagined version. The original was released as a single from Ballerini's debut album in 2014 and went on to top Billboard's Country Airplay chart.

"I wish I could go back and tell myself 10 years ago when I putting out 'Love Like You Mean It,' what it would do for my life and my dreams," the singer tells Taste of Country ahead of the CMT Music Awards.

"Love Me Like You Mean It" boosted Ballerini's young career — she was just 20 at the time — in a way she never could have imagined.

"I feel like I was able to keep the integrity of what the song meant to me then, but sound like me now. The sentiment is still the same," she says of the just-released "new" version, which is much slower and more introspective than the poppy original.

"I wanted to do something that honored that bookmark of a decade before we get into hopefully the next decade," she says.

She's excited to debut what she sees as a bookend song live on the CMT Music Awards.

"It's a simpler performance because the song has already had this big life. It’s a simpler version of the song, but I do feel like it’s a perfect exhale before new stuff," Ballerini says.

Her mom, some friends and even boyfriend Chase Stokes will be in attendance as she hosts the awards solo for the first time.

 

During her pre-show interview, she notes that her mother, friends, and boyfriend Chase Stokes will be there cheering her on. The 2024 CMT Music Awards air live Sunday, April 7, at 8PM ET, on CBS and Paramount+.

See Photos of All the Performances at the 2023 CMT Music Awards

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