Story Behind the Song: Kelsea Ballerini and Halsey, ‘The Other Girl’
Kelsea Ballerini dropped her self-titled third studio album on March 20, 2020, and to celebrate the release, she hosted an Instagram Live party to answer fan questions, play some of the songs and virtually bring out a couple of surprise guests. Kenny Chesney and Halsey, both of whom are featured on the album, dialed into Ballerini's live-streamed release show to talk about their participation in the project.
During the event, Halsey and Ballerini explained the story behind the "The Other Girl," their duet on the album. The track is a woman-to-woman duet about a guy who's cheating on both of them with each other, but the singers agree that it's not about tearing the other woman down.
Read on as Halsey and Ballerini reflect on the tune's message of empowerment, and to hear Shane McAnally's take on the track. The ace songwriter co-wrote the song with Ballerini and Ross Copperman.
Kelsea Ballerini: I was doing a ton of writing on the road. I was opening for Keith Urban, and I loved the idea of having a female collab, because you don't see it a lot and I think it's so powerful. And [Halsey] brought this new life to the song.
Halsey: It was really cool, because [Ballerini] and I were both in really good places in our lives and drawing from old hurt. To sing a song, or perform a song live, that has evolved from what it could have meant to what it means now, is just the best thing ever.
There's so much music -- and I'm partially responsible for this -- but there's so much music in the world about cheating partners ... People wanna pin it on the other girl, and make it the other girl's fault, so it was so cool for us to be coming together and being like, "You know what? Forget him. We're not gonna hate each other."
To be clear, this is a fictional event. But just us representing those two sides of women in the equation, being like, "No, we're not gonna let misogyny turn us against each other, instead we're empowered."
Ballerini: [Halsey] is the first person I've been like, "Will you please be a part of something that I'm doing?" We're basically the same age, and have different but similar upbringings in life. So, to walk alongside each other is amazing.
I think it's wonderful and beautiful to have two women who could easily be competitive turn it [on its head] and show people that you can both want all the things in the world and support each other to get there.
Shane McAnally: I'm a huge Halsey fan ... I am thought of as a country writer, so these friends that bring me into write on stuff and then go, "Hey, I want to reach out to my pop friends and bring them in," that's really exciting for me because it adds just another piece to me being able to reach out directly or send songs to these artists ...
With "The Other Girl," we were on the bus: Kelsea, Ross and I went out on a bus trip, I think when she was on tour with Keith Urban, and, you know, that song just came from a track that Ross Copperman built, and what happened was when we stumbled into the idea of it almost being like a modern-day "Does He Love You" [Reba McEntire and Linda Davis' 1993 hit], which we loved. It turned into a back-and-forth, and Kelsea knew very quickly -- she was like, "I want to send this to Halsey."
And, I mean, I was just like, "Okay." [Laughs] ... That sounded crazy to me that she had Halsey's number, for one, but but she did, and, I mean, she saw it through. That's one thing about Kelsea Ballerini, I have to say: She is hustler, and she, you know, when she sees a vision of something, she goes after. I just really respect that it makes; it really fun to write with her because you never know where the song is gonna end up.