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, nearly 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.
Veronica Ballestrini might not be the household name that our modern American Idol-era industry is capable of producing overnight - - yet. But there's no doubt that Veronica is well on her way to mastering the art of our new media age and bringing a legion of fans with her in the process.
"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. Veronica Ballestrini
With one modest dream and an Internet connection, the enthusiastic yet mature-beyond-her-years teenager 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. On Myspace alone, that number totals more than 120,000 friends, 7.5 million page views and 11.5 million plays of her music. On country-lifestyle portal DigitalRodeo.com, Veronica is one of the most in-demand artists on the entire site.
"What Veronica has done without a label, without television and with virtually no press is absolutely astounding," says Digital Rodeo Director of Marketing and Promotions John Pyne. "She is one of the most self-motivated artists I've ever seen and knows how to use the online tools at her disposal exceptionally well. It just so happens that she's also a very talented young singer, and I personally think there's no end to what she can accomplish."
Those accomplishments first began at the innocent age of 13, when Veronica first picked up a guitar and unknowingly logged on to a career. The bubbly teenager, 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 country, that doesn't mean that it can't have it's 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."
She continues, "It's important that people know that I'm not trying to be anyone else. I'm just trying to be who I am. I'm writing from the heart about issues and things I'm experiencing, and hopefully people can identify with that."