Kelsea Ballerini's single "Half of My Hometown" both nostalgically longing for home and glad she left. It's a feeling with which plenty of listeners can identify, whether they, too, are from Knoxville, Tenn., or not.

Ballerini co-wrote "Half of My Hometown" -- from her 2020 album Kelsea -- with Ross Copperman, Nicolle Galyon, Shane McAnally and Jimmy Robbins, then enlisted fellow Knoxville native Kenny Chesney to sing on it with her. She recorded her vocals immediately after writing the song -- her demo vocals are on the final recording, in fact -- then texted Chesney the track at 2AM, asking him to sing it with her.

“The next day, he wrote back like, ‘I love this song. It made me emotional listening to it,'" Ballerini shares. "Because I think we have really similar upbringings."

Below, Ballerini shares the story behind "Half of My Hometown," in her own words.

"Half of My Hometown" is a song about -- I don't know, just my relationship with my hometown as I've grown up.

I moved away when I was 15, and, [at the time], all I wanted was to be in Nashville, and all I wanted was to be in country music and immersed in all that Nashville had to offer with that, but I think I kind of resented my hometown a little bit, 'cause I felt like it was the thing that was keeping me from that. And then, as soon as I moved, you know, all I wanted was to go back and visit my dad and my friends and the people that I love that made me who I am that were still in my hometown.

As I've grown up and as I've gone home, I just have this really deep love and appreciation for my roots, and I love being in Nashville and I love going home. And I think it's okay to love both.

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