Kelsea Ballerini admits she got her first tattoo impulsively -- but she doesn't regret it one bit. The ink on her left forearm is a permanent reminder to the singer to always keep it real.

Ballerini recounts the story of the tattoo in the April issue of Shape magazine, explaining that on the day before her very first photoshoot, she "panicked because I wanted a tattoo but didn't have one yet."

"I was like, 'What if this single ["Love Me Like You Mean It"] works and people start to follow me? Then all of a sudden, I get a tattoo,'" Ballerini remembers thinking. "People will be like, 'She's going off the deep end.'"

So, Ballerini headed to a tattoo parlor and got inked that day.

"It was just this youthfully innocent way of saying, 'I've got to be who I am from the beginning of this,'" the singer explains.

"A lot of artists and public people have a persona that they step into, but I can't do that," Ballerini continues. "I don't want any surprises. I just want it all to be out there."

Ballerini has since added more tattoos to her collection: The words "Love. Love." on her right side are in her parents' handwriting; she got the tattoo in New Orleans, La., around the time her debut single, "Love Me Like You Mean It," hit No. 1 on the country radio charts. A third tattoo, of a square inside a circle, is a nod to her song "Square Pegs," which celebrates people's differences; Ballerini says she got the tattoo in Los Angeles, Calif.

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