Kelsea Ballerini

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Congratulations to Kelsea Ballerini!

The 23-year-old country music star was nominated for her first Grammy award Tuesday in the Best New Artist category. Ballerini spoke to E! News exclusively about the big honor and opened up about where she was when she found out and how she's feeling.

"No! Of course not, not at all," she responded when asked if she expected to be nominated. "To me, every awards show is incredible whether its industry-voted or fan-voted. All of it's incredible. But the Grammys is the one. It's top-tier. It's the pinnacle. And just to be thought of as one of the five best new artists of this year is so flattering and so incredible and I'm super honored."

The "Love Me Like You Mean It" songstress didn't wake up in time to watch Meghan Trainor announced the top four categories on CBS, so Ballerini found out about her nomination with the help of her friends.

"[I was] In bed. My phone just started blowing up that's how I found out," she explained. "One of the first messages I got was from Maren [Morris], which was really cool because we get to represent country music together in that category."

(Morris and Ballerini are both nominated in the Best New Artist category.)

"And then Hillary Scott and Taylor [Swift] obviously are like my two big sisters and my mentors, and they were some of the first to reach out and it was really good to hear from them," she added, noting that Swift sent her a congratulatory text after hearing the news. 

Ballerini told us she's not sure what she'll wear to the big event, but she does have some ideas. "It's the Grammys, so definitely something regal, but I'm 23 so something young and fun, too," she said. "I like to push the boundaries, so probably something a little quirky."

Now that she has an idea for her ensemble, does she have any idea of whom she'd like on her arm that night?

"I'm pretty sure I made a deal with my mom when I was like 12: 'Mom if I ever get to go to the Grammys you'll come with me,'" she recalled. "I'm pretty sure that happened, which means I'm pretty sure I'll hear about it. So probably mom!"

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