Kelsea Ballerini understands what Tim McGraw is talking about when he sings “Humble and Kind.” That much was clear when she performed the song live in the Bobby Bones studio, accompanying herself sparsely on an acoustic.

The singer-songwriter not only showed off her vocal prowess, but her genuine connection with the lyrics as she performed the ballad with conviction, line by line.

The subtleties in Ballerini’s voice shined as she floated over the melody — at times belting, at times hanging back. As a young artist, the lyrics are likely to resonate with her, as they are directed at a new generation stepping into adulthood. McGraw says he could hardly get through the song — written by Lori McKenna — when he recorded it, thinking about his daughter Gracie, who was heading off to college at the time.

“I cried through every take,” McGraw admits to Taste of Country. “I would try to get myself together and I’d get halfway through it and I would just start blubbering every time I tried to sing a line.”

The song has become a movement for the country star, who started a campaign to encourage young people to give back to others and share their stories of kindness. The clips ended up being compiled in an inspirational video McGraw shared with fans. It’s also becoming a book featuring the lyrics alongside powerful imagery.

“It is a rare moment when a song comes along that speaks equally to the world and the individual,” McGraw says. “A song that transcends. A song that reaches into the heart of everyone who hears it. ‘Humble and Kind’ is one of those songs.”

Ballerini is gearing up to head out on her first ever headlining tour called, appropriately titled the First Time Tour. The run kicks off Oct. 21 in Houston.

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