Kelsea Ballerini Addresses Throwing ‘Shade’ at Halsey in ‘Doin’ My Best’

by Taylor Cunningham
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for ACM)

Kelsea Ballerini is finally speaking out about the rumors that her new single Doin’ My Best throws shade at fellow recording artist Halsey.

The song dropped on September 22 and speaks about Ballerini’s struggle to keep it together as a young woman and celebrity. But some of the lyrics caught more attention than the rest.

At one point in Doin’ My Best, the 29-year-old sings “I was friends with a pop star / I put ’em on track four, but / Wish I could take it back, I woulda never asked / If I knew we wouldn’t talk anymore.”

Fans instantly connected the message with her former friendship with pop singer Halsey. The two recorded The Other Girl together in 2020—and the song landed as track number four on Subject to Change. But after the collaboration, the two parted ways.

Kelsea Ballerini spoke on Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly last week, and she assured people that she was not singling out Halsey. Instead, she was simply sharing how difficult it is to establish and maintain relationships with others in the industry.

“I hope people interpret that line like it was meant to be, which is no shade at all,” she said. “It’s just saying that one of the things I’ve had to navigate is naturally you want to become friends with other artists because no one is going to get your life like another artist does. And then, sometimes, that becomes really awkward and sometimes there’s competition involved.”

Kelsea Ballerini Didn’t Share Why She No Longer Speaks to Halsey

Ballerini first started spending time with Halsey after the Bad at Love singer made a stop in Nashville for her Hopeless Fountain Kingdom tour in 2018.

“I’m obviously a really big fan of her music,” she told PEOPLE that year. “So I went to the show with my friends and afterward 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!’”

That night, the duo surprised Music City bargoers with karaoke cameos. And after hitting it off, they started spending more time together. But after working on their single, they simply stopped hanging out. Neither of them hinted at a falling out, but fans assumed there was a rift.

During her Country Heat appearance, Kelsea Ballerini didn’t clarify if she and Halsey have bad blood or if they just had busy schedules that made it difficult to spend time together. Aside from their highly successful music careers, both women had significant life changes this summer. Ballerini filed for divorce from her husband of five years, Mogan Evans. And Halsey gave birth to her first child.

But no matter what happened between her and her former friend, Ballerini made it clear that it’s never easy to maintain close bonds with other stars, especially singers.

“Sometimes you try to do something together, ’cause they’re your friend and you want to share art together. And then you introduce business into it, and it just messes everything up. That was what I was trying to say,” she claimed.