The "Love Me Like You Mean It" singer shares the best advice Swift ever gave her
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Between making chart history with her debut single and scoring her first two CMA Award nominations, Kelsea Ballerini has had quite the year. So how does the country newcomer keep her head amid the chaos?

Ballerini says she gets by with a little help from her girlfriends in the business.

“I remember hearing before I went into the industry that Nashville was a big community and people really do help each other,” says Ballerini, who will be at the 49th CMA Awards Wednesday night. “It’s really easy for girls to get competitive and catty, but we’re all genuinely friends, and we all support and celebrate each other.

“To have legends like Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift and [Lady Antebellum’s] Hillary Scott publicly support me has been crazy. It just makes you feel like you’re doing something right.”

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The 22-year-old says her industry pals have made for a strong support system, whether as a shoulder to cry on or someone to ask advice.

Scott “is one of my dearest friends,” says Ballerini. “With personal things, she’s been there. She’s been a young female going to radio tours, has been an opening act, and she digs into it with me. She’s the friend that will literally be like, ‘Come over and sit on my couch and cry,’ which I have done several times.”

And crossover star Swift is another champion of Ballerini’s who has gone from idol to mentor – and friend (Swift even invited Ballerini to her BFF Abigail’s birthday bash this year!).

“To have someone that is literally the queen of the world be able to speak to what I’m doing and to know I can text her and she’ll give me advice, it’s awesome,” says Ballerini, who adds the two singers also regularly text each other funny memes.

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As for the best lesson Ballerini ever learned from Swift?

“She told me, ‘Kelsea, know that cool is overrated. People will always gravitate toward warm and human. That’s always going to win.’ That was such good advice for me at this stage because sometimes I feel so unpolished. I trip, and I stutter, and that’s who I am. And I think I did try to walk in heels that weren’t mine for a little bit.”

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