Kenny Chesney Explains Why He Decided to Sing on Kelsea Ballerini's 'Half of My Hometown'

In March 2020, Kelsea Ballerini released her third album, kelsea, which contains two collaborations, one with her good friend Halsey and another with Kenny Chesney, who joined Ballerini for "half of my hometown," an ode to their shared hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee. Speaking to Kelleigh Bannon on Today's Country Radio with Kelleigh Bannen on Apple Music Country, Chesney revealed how Ballerini approached him about the duet and shared that he wanted to join her on the song as soon as he heard it.

"She just called me one day and she goes, 'I'm calling you to poke the bear,' and I went, 'What are you talking about?'" he recalled. "She says, 'I'm getting ready to send you a song. I want you to listen to it and think about singing on it.' And so I said, 'Yeah, of course, send me the song.' And I listened to it and it was hard to listen to because it was so beautiful and it was so much about not only her life, but it was about my life and the same roads we drove down and I knew I wanted to sing on it. And I'm really proud of it."

Chesney noted that he is frequently approached about collaborations and often turns them down but was "proud" to join Ballerini on "half of my hometown." "I told her when we were done with it, that I was glad she asked me, but I'm very proud that I'm on that song with her," he said. "If the song was terrible, I wouldn't sing on it, because trust me, I get asked a lot to sing on a lot of records and I turn them down because the song just isn't perfect for me to sing on. But when I heard 'half of my hometown' I just I went, 'Yep, I'm going to sing on this song.'"

Ballerini told Bobby Bones on The Bobby Bones Show in February that she had "no business" texting Chesney about potentially working together. "Every collaboration I've ever had, it was me reaching out," she said. "I texted [Chesney]. I have no business ever texting Kenny Chesney. But I just went on a whim, I was like, 'Let's do it.' Unless you feel like you can personally reach out, it's probably not the right collaboration."