Kelsea Ballerini Credits Special Music Teacher For Putting Her On Career Path

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Each year, hundreds of artists perform at CMA Music Festival in downtown Nashville and donate their time and talent so a portion of ticket proceeds can directly support and sustain music education programs across the country through CMA's nonprofit arm, the CMA Foundation. As one of this year's performers on the main stage at Nissan Stadium, not to mention co-host of Sunday's (August 4th) ABC-TV prime time special, CMA Fest, Kelsea Ballerini tells us that if it wasn't for a special music teacher in her life, she might not be where she is today. "I had a music teacher. Her name's Becky Thomas. She's retired now, but she was the first person that encouraged me to be on stage. She really encouraged me to write songs and the first time I ever played a song that I had written on stage it was because of her, so that's really the heart of what this is all about, so to be able to be a part of that and knowing that there are kids in the classroom right now that are having those teachers that are able to have the funds and the resources to give those kids those opportunities. That really matters to me. I was that kid, so that's cool."

Catch Kelsea performing alongside The Chainsmokers on the three-hour special, which airs at 8 p.m. ET. Her co-host again this year is Thomas Rhett.