Kelsea Ballerini Wraps 2023 with Five Tours, A Landmark Homecoming Show in Knoxville, and Flawless Performance by Sennheiser
February 1, 2024
Sennheiser Digital 6000 System is the Top Choice for Ballerini and her crew for both dependability and sound quality
Knoxville, TN – February 1, 2024 – 2023 was another busy year for multiple GRAMMY Award nominee Kelsea Ballerini, having completed no less than five tours that included both coasts of the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland as well as a run with Kenny Chesney as his special guest on the 'I Go Back' tour. On November 2, Ballerini brought it back to her hometown of Knoxville for a sold-out show to cap off an enormously successful year.
The 'Homecoming Show' was particularly important for Ballerini, not just because her career is rooted there, but also because it is where she grew up and influenced by many of her musical idols. It was also a milestone performance, since it marks her first sell out arena show as a headliner. Throughout the show, Ballerini sung through a Sennheiser SKM 6000 wireless microphone transmitter, coupled with an MD 9235 dynamic microphone capsule.
Bringing it all home with Sennheiser
"Knoxville is her hometown, and where she saw her first concert, which was Britney Spears," says Chris Diener, who served as both production manager and front of house operator on the tour. Aside from breaking a new attendance record for a female-headlined sold-out show with over 14,400 tickets sold, Diener says that this performance was special: "From both a career and personal perspective, this show is very important to Kelsea and all of us. This was her ‘arriving’ and representative of the trajectory that we have been on. It is so cool to see a culmination of that which is so important to her personally," Diener says.
Ballerini's momentum in the music industry has been palpable since she first hit the country music scene in 2017, having received a GRAMMY nomination for Best New Artist that year. Since then, she has been recognized with several other GRAMMY nominations, including Best Country Album (2019), and Best Country Solo Performance (2023). In 2021, she was recognized by the CMA for Vocal Event and Video of the Year for “Half of My Hometown" - which was also nominated for 2022 CMA Single of the Year.
Enter the Sennheiser Digital 6000
Ballerini has been using Sennheiser's digital wireless systems since 2017, as Diener explains: "Kelsea was on the Lady Antebellum tour in 2017 and she was doing a lot of guest spots with them on their show. They were using the Sennheiser Digital 9000 system, and she loved it," he recalls. After I joined Kelsea's team as Production Manager and FOH, we rebuilt her entire show and I wanted to make sure every piece of the puzzle was working for her, including consoles, microphones, crew and everything else."
"We got every capsule and every transmitter from all the manufacturers and went through everything," he continues. "When we came upon the Sennheiser MD 9235 coupled with the Digital 6000, it was unanimous." He says the deciding factor was that 'she sounds like herself when singing through that mic.' "It just sounds like her at a flat EQ, without adding any color. Kelsea herself simply said, ‘This is the one’." Since then, Kelsea and her crew have never looked back. "We've taken it everywhere we’ve gone: every award show, every overseas appearance, and everything in between. We have had remarkable success with it."
Currently, Ballerini is using six channels of Digital 6000 wireless - two primary mics in both black and white, two spares and a set of guest microphones. "Kelsea is a girl's girl and she always uses a blinged mic, so we took it upon ourselves and secured a few of them. We take them everywhere and alter between black and white depending on which cluster of songs she is singing, and where we are in the scenic set," says Diener.
Sennheiser Digital 6000: This Is The One
Monitor engineer Chris Newsom explains why he appreciates the Digital 6000 and MD 9235 capsule: "It cuts through and gives me that top end I need for clarity." He says that the microphone combination shines in the upper frequency registers.
Diener adds that the capsules - and the entire system - have been extremely reliable: "Everything has held up very well. The capsules don’t seem to get tired, and they are all very consistent. Also, regarding radio frequency transmission on the system as a whole, I can't think of a single time we’ve ever had an issue - and we've been using the Sennheiser Digital 6000 now for eight years." Diener adds that during her performances, Ballerini will typically walk the perimeter of the hall or arena. "The mic signal hasn’t dropped in all this time, and don’t believe we’ve ever had a transmission issue."
Flawless support through the years
The Kelsea Ballerini crew also appreciates the unwavering support from Sennheiser, which Chris Diener says extends beyond traditional expectations: "Tim [Moore] at Sennheiser is your best friend," he says. "I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t have Tim fighting on my side. anything I’ve ever needed, anything I ever wanted to try - such as the new Sennheiser MD 435 capsule - Sennheiser is just a phone call away. I’ve never met a predicament that Tim Moore couldn’t get me out of."
Monitor Tech Marissa Creelman also says that Sennheiser's Tim Moore has been helpful in accessing new equipment that may prove useful on future tours: "He has been very helpful responding if I have questions on any of the Sennheiser equipment we are using."
Currently, the team is in a well-deserved recuperation mode, and delighted about what has been accomplished throughout the year: "We couldn’t be prouder of what we’ve done," says Diener. "We’ve faced some pretty steep hills that we have climbed them with smiles on our faces, and Sennheiser has been a big part of that."
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