The face of Country Music was undergoing a profound shift in direction the year Veronica Ballestrini was born. That year was 1991, and the Country genre was rapidly evolving into a more accessible, Pop-friendly format in the millennium's last decade. A new generation was growing up on a steady diet of superstars like Garth, Shania, LeAnn and Faith. Now, some 20 years later, the guise of Country is changing once again, this time behind the youthful exuberance of female artists like Taylor, Carrie, Kellie and... Veronica.
Although she might not be the household name that our American Idol culture is known to produce overnight, Veronica learned early on the value of our modern social media phenomenon. Over the last several years, in fact, her fan base has exploded exponentially, spreading to all corners of the globe.
"I spend about four hours a day answering messages from fans," she reveals. "Every message I get, I answer myself." It's a formula that has paid big dividends for the surprisingly down-to-earth young star.
With one modest dream and an Internet connection, the enthusiastic yet mature-beyond-her-years singer from Waterford, Connecticut, has raised more than a few eyebrows with her self-made success story. The staggering numbers on her social network sites are proof that Veronica has that special ability to connect with people. She has amassed more than 2 million views of her videos on YouTube, and her online fans and followers number well into the hundreds of thousands.
Those accomplishments began at the innocent age of 13, when Veronica first picked up a guitar and unknowingly logged on to a career. The bubbly young singer-songwriter, known to many simply as 'V,' had modest aspirations way back in 2005.
"My first goal was just to get to Nashville and record an album," she says matter-of-factly. "Now that I've accomplished that, I want that music to get heard by as many people as possible. I've had so many people tell me that my music has helped them out or helped them to achieve their own goals, so it means a lot to me to be able to affect someone's life like that."
Part of Veronica's success comes from her undeniable Pop-Country crossover appeal. She points out that while she considers her music to be Country, that doesn't mean that it can't have its own spin on the genre.
"It's just a different style of Country music," she says. "Keith Urban, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood - they all have their own style."
Veronica’s 2009 debut album, What I’m All About, capably demonstrated her unique take on the modern Pop-Country sound. She released three singles and videos from the record ("Amazing," "Out There Somewhere," "Don’t Say"), propelling her into the consciousness of Country music fans around the globe and earning more than a quarter-million views of her videos on CMT.com alone.
Veronica spent much of 2010 touring in support of What I’m All About. She also became a cast member on Season One of the reality web series If I Can Dream and took home $25,000 as the winner of the MEAD Five Star Music Insider talent contest. It was, on almost every level, a breakout year for Veronica Ballestrini.
In 2011, Veronica began work on her sophomore album, Gotta Make A Change, a process that set in motion her inspirational "Gotta Make A Change" tour. Throughout the summer, Veronica performed shows at various camps, festivals, Girl Scout events and women’s correctional facilities across the U.S. to help spread the project’s motivational message.
"Life is full of struggles. We stumble, we fall down, and in those moments we feel we will never get up again," Veronica says on the project’s website, GottaMakeAChange.com. "Sometimes all it takes is one person to say or do something to help you to see life in a new perspective and inspire you to get up and make a change. Life will never be pain free, we just have to learn to embrace the pain and find strength."
The first single off of Gotta Make A Change is "Temporary Fix," Veronica’s most focused and polished effort to date. Released in August 2011, "Temporary Fix" reflects Veronica’s growth as a more mature singer and a more seasoned songwriter. It's a process that she acknowledges is a natural evolution in her artistry.
"It's important that people know that I'm not trying to be anyone else. I'm just trying to be who I am," she says. "I'm writing from the heart about issues and things I'm experiencing, and hopefully people can identify with that."