Kelsea Ballerini Revamped 'Starry Eyed' Anthem With Added 'Spice'

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Kelsea Ballerini added “spice” to her debut single, and confirmed that she’s performing the soon-to-release, reimagined version at the 2024 CMT Music Awards.

The award-winning singer-songwriter reflected on her decade-long journey as an artist when she announced the fresh update to “Love Me Like You Mean It” on Wednesday evening (April 3). Ballerini, 30, credited producer Alysa Vanderheym — who worked with her on the deeply vulnerable, Grammy-nominated EP Rolling Up The Welcome Mat — with “helping me add some 2024 spice and your brilliance to this little song that could.” She also spotlighted Reid Johnson with “cooking up this lil teaser track,” after stirring anticipation with sneak peeks on TikTok and Instagram. The reimagined version will release at midnight, and Ballerini will deliver the debut performance on Sunday (April 7).

Ballerini wrote in her caption on Wednesday: “ten years ago, i was twenty, naive, starry eyed, and absolutely relentless on putting my music out into the world. i’m proud to say, nothing has changed…except a DECADE of this wildly beautiful journey we’ve gotten to share full of tours and sing alongs, wins and losses, and growing up together. soooo, before we move into new music (yes, it’s coming i swear) i wanted to celebrate the beginning with you. the song that started it all, love me like you mean it (reimagined and ten years later) comes out tomorrow night at midnight. oh, and i’ll be performing it on the [CMT] awards sunday. see you there. love you, mean it. ❤️”

Sister duo Tigirlily Gold, Ballerini's former tour mate Georgia Webster and others gushed over the song and the nostalgia in the comments. Ballerini’s boyfriend, Outer Banks actor Chase Stokes, wrote: “love ya mean it ❤”

Ballerini released “Love Me Like You Mean It” on her debut album, The First Time, a 12-track project that also included singles “Peter Pan” and “Dibs.” Her latest full-length record, Subject To Change, released in 2022, featuring “HEARTFIRST,” “If You Go Down (I’m Goin’ Down Too),” “Love Is A Cowboy,” “You’re Drunk, Go Home” with Kelly Clarkson and Carly Pearce, and other highlights. Rolling Up The Welcome Mat arrived as a surprise debut, along with its accompanying short film, in 2023. Months later, the extended edition, Rolling Up The Welcome Mat (For Good), arrived with fan-requested updates to previously-released songs and an added track about learning to date again after divorce.

Ballerini is returning to the CMT Music Awards stage to solo host the show. She’s also one of the top nominees, including a Top 6 finalist in the Video of the Year category, the most coveted award of the night. Voting for that category will remain open, with the Top 3 to be revealed the morning of the show. Fans can still vote during the CMT Awards before the winner is announced that night.

Other performers taking the stage throughout the evening include Jason Aldean, Dasha, Bailey ZimmermanCody JohnsonJelly RollKeith UrbanLainey WilsonLittle Big Town with SugarlandMegan MoroneyNEEDTOBREATHE with Jordan DavisOld Dominion with Megan MoroneyParker McCollum with Brittney SpencerSam Hunt, and Trisha Yearwood, who will also receive the first-ever June Carter Cash Humanitarian Award.

Presenters include Amber RileyBilly Bob Thornton (Landman), Carly PearceCody AlanCody JohnsonEmily Osment (Young Sheldon), Emma RobertsGayle King (CBS Mornings), James Van Der Beek, Jane Seymour, Jelly RollMax Theriot (Fire Country), Megan MoroneyMelissa EtheridgeMickey GuytonMinnie DriverMontana Jordan (Young Sheldon), Parmalee and Paul Walter Hauser, per a press release issued Wednesday.

The 2024 CMT Music Awards will return to Moody Center in Austin, Texas, taking place on Sunday, April 7, and airing live (8:00-11:00 PM, ET/delayed PT). Viewers can watch on CBS and stream live and on demand on Paramount+.

Before Ballerini releases her reimagined version of “Love Me Like You Mean It,” listen to the original version again here: