Frankie Ballard Delivers Personal Anthem With 'Helluva Life'

(Radio.com) Frankie Ballard has never taken the easy route. At Western Michigan University, he was certain he'd become a pro baseball player. As graduation neared, he discovered music was his passion and dove into writing and performing his songs at local bars.

In 2011 he released his self-titled debut, which included two singles, "Tell Me You Get Lonely" and "A Buncha Girls." While both songs received radio play, neither flew up the charts in quite the way most country music newcomers hope. He questioned things but never gave up the dream, eventually earning a Top 10 country hit with his latest single "Helluva Life," off his upcoming album, Sunshine & Whiskey (out February 11 through Reprise Records Nashville). It's a song that echoes Ballard's can-do attitude.
"The first time I ever heard 'Helluva Life,' it really moved me because it's very parallel with the journey I've been on," he told Radio.com. On the chorus of the song Ballard sings, "The bad times make the good times better," and he says those lyrics sum up his musical journey.

"I'm more mature," he said of the years since his first album was released. "I feel like a better artist because of those things that I've been through. Because I've played in bars and honky-tonks and things that I've learned. I was selling beer long before I was selling myself as the product."

"Helluva Life" has become an anthem for many country fans too, which doesn't surprise Ballard. "I knew that it would be that way for a lot of people," Ballard explained. "No matter what they are trying to achieve on their journey in life, it's important to remember that those struggles, and the good times as well, everything together is what makes your life what it is. That statement of saying, 'Man, it's a helluva life,' it just evokes some hope. It's a coping mechanism for some people."

Ballard spent the past two years working on the follow-up to his debut and has enjoyed watching the success "Helluva Life" has brought. It has in a way given him a second chance in music.

"It's been cool to watch it take on a life of its own, people making it their own," he said. "The lyrics mean different things to people's journeys. It's such a blessing to see it take on a life of its own." more on this story

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Copyright Radio.com/CBS Local - Excerpted here with permission.

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