Kelsea Ballerini had already met Halsey before the pop star played a show in Nashville last month, but the two hadn't been together enough to call themselves friends. That all changed when Ballerini attended Halsey's Bridgestone Arena show, and then spent the next several hours hitting different bars and honky tonks in Music City.
"I had met her before, but we'd never really hung out," Ballerini tells PEOPLE. "I'm obviously a really big fan of her music, so I went to the show with my friends and afterwards said hi, and she didn't have a show the next day, so she was like, 'Let's go hang!' And I was like, 'Yep!'"
The two peppered their Instagram feed with pictures of them having a good time.
"We karaoke'd kid rock & dixie chicks til 3am on a Wednesday and it was glorious," Ballerini captioned one of the pics.
But the two did more than just sing cover songs. They also bonded over their soaring careers, which began for both of them around the same time.
"We're both really similar in age and had a lot to talk about; it was cool to be around someone who's so creative and so driven and so down-to-earth," Ballerini says. "She really is so lovely. I feel like I made a new friend."
Halsey isn't the only pop star Ballerini is obsessed with. Both Ballerini and her friend Julia Michaels performed at Amazon Music's Unboxing Prime Day, headlined by Ariana Grande – but Ballerini was too star-struck to introduce herself to the main act.
"I literally was in my dressing room, and she and her backup dancers were practicing and warming up right outside, and literally me and my band and everyone were like, 'Oh, be quiet, listen to Ariana!'" the "I Hate Love Songs" singer recalls. "And we were listening to her warm up — that's like the closest I'm ever gonna get because I was like, 'I don't feel like I should ever meet Ariana Grande.'
"It's just on a level of people where I'm like, 'Oh my gosh, I'm gonna say something so stupid if I meet you,'" she continues with a laugh. "I'm like way too awkward of a human!"
Ballerini is currently serving as the opening act on Keith Urban's Graffiti U Tour. Find a list of all of her upcoming shows at KelseaBallerini.com.
Photo Credit: Getty images/Christopher Polk