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Kelsea Ballerini Reveals She 'Almost Didn't' Release 'Doin' My Best': I Meant 'No Shade'

Kelsea Ballerini Reveals She 'Almost Didn't' Release 'Doin' My Best': I Meant 'No Shade'

Kelsea Ballerini may have mined her personal life for inspiration for her latest album, but that doesn't mean she's airing any dirty laundry.

The country singer, 29, made headlines upon the release of her fourth record Subject to Change last week thanks to the track "Doin' My Best," whose lyrics hint at a falling out with pop star Halsey.

However, despite the pointed lines, Ballerini is insisting that the song shouldn't be taken as a dig — instead, it's simply her chronicling the ways in which friendships sometimes just don't work out.

"I hope people interpret that line like it was meant to be, which is no shade at all, 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's gonna get your life like another artist does," she told Amazon Music's Country Heat Weekly podcast.

She continued: "And then sometimes that becomes really awkward and sometimes there's competition involved and sometimes you try to like, do something together cause they're your friend and you want to share art together and you introduce business into it and it just messes everything up. That was kind of what I was trying to say, so I hope it gets interpreted that way."

On the line in question, Ballerini sings: "I was friends with a pop star/I put 'em on track four but/Wish I could take it back, I would've never asked/If I knew we wouldn't talk anymore."

halsey, kelsea ballerini
halsey, kelsea ballerini

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images Halsey and Kelsea Ballerini

It seems to be a thinly veiled reference to Halsey, 28, who collaborated with Ballerini on "The Other Girl," the fourth track on the country star's third album Kelsea.

"Doin' My Best" also includes lyrics that reflect upon Ballerini's ill-fated marriage to country singer Morgan Evans, from whom she filed for divorce in August after nearly five years of marriage.

RELATED: Kelsea Ballerini on Why She's Being Honest with Her Fans During New Period of 'Change'

On the track, Ballerini sings about how she went to therapy and was eventually joined by Evans, because, as she notes, "when you get married that young, you got a lotta s— you gotta get through."

The song's deeply personal content almost meant it was left off the album.

"'Doin' My Best' was one that I almost didn't… I really had to have a hard conversation with myself to put it on," Ballerini told the podcast.

Kelsea Ballerini performs onstage during The Heart First Tour at Radio City Music Hall on September 24, 2022 in New York City.
Kelsea Ballerini performs onstage during The Heart First Tour at Radio City Music Hall on September 24, 2022 in New York City.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Kelsea Ballerini

The "Heartfirst" singer explained that she'd already cut 10 songs for the record, but many of them featured lyrics not necessarily true to her life, and more like "playing a character."

"I was like, 'Man, I think I'm doing myself a real disservice to not go further into what the book opened up for me," she said, referring to her 2021 poetry book Feel Your Way Through. "It unlocked this depth artistically that I hadn't gone to yet."

RELATED: Morgan Evans Hints at Kelsea Ballerini Split in Heartbreaking New Ballad: Listen

With that in mind, Ballerini said she went to the ocean and wrote down everything she was feeling in a stream of consciousness, from things that felt "cringy" to things she was embarrassed by or struggling with.

"I just took ownership of it and I sent it back and that became the song," she said. "It's just jarringly honest, but it's truly exactly where I'm at right now."