Kacey Musgraves wrote her first song when she was nine years old. Fourteen years later, she released her debut single "Merry Go’ Round" off her new album Same Trailer Different Park—her first record with Mercury Records which is due out on March 19th. But don’t expect to hear any songs about cheerleaders and smiles that could light up a whole town. Musgraves’ lyrics are more audacious than her contemporaries. And she’s causing a stir, while also garnering rave reviews. Perhaps her most daring track is "Follow Your Arrow," a song about being your own person and making your own decisions. Sounds inspiring, right? But lyrics like "If you save yourself for marriage, you’re a bore. If you don’t save yourself for marriage, you’re a horrible person," are a little too PG-13 by some radio station’s standards. You can preview the album here and tell us what you think.
Depsite the controversy, Musgraves has received four nominations (New Female Vocalist of The Year, Female Vocalist of The Year, and Video of The Year as both artist and producer) for the Academy of Country Music Awards, which you can watch on April 7th on CBS. In the meantime, she has just finished touring with Little Big Town and is now preparing to go on tour with Kenny Chesney, which she says is "going to be the first time I’ve played in front of that many people."
Music aside, Musgraves has caught our attention for another reason: her effortlessly chic southern style. This Texas native has a knack for shopping out vintage stores and combing through sites like Etsy to find inspired looks that are perfect for girls who crave a one-of-a-kind style—while on a budget. But Musgraves enjoys the occasional splurge. She’s "really into" Rag and Bone pants and likes to shop at Free People, Betsy Johnson, and TopShop. And "anything with a peplum shape is really flattering," she adds. You’ll never guess that grandma is her biggest style inspiration. "We’re always like ‘Damn, nanna! That’s cute!’" says Musgraves, "It’s just funny that my grandma’s super on par. I guess because she likes gaudy, big stuff and I’m usually into it."
We spoke to Musgraves to get the scoop on touring with some of country’s biggest names, how she likes to decorate the tour bus, what she considers style essentials, and, of course, to ask about her precious pup, Pearl.
Lucky: You just finished your tour with Little Big Town. What was that experience like?
Kacey Musgraves: I had a blast on tour with Little Big Town. We got to play some beautiful rooms around the country—some really amazing old theaters. And it was just cool to see a band that’s been together for so long. They’ve been together for 15 years. They really love each other and its a family environment. They have their kids on the road with them. They’re super sweet and hard working and their crew is nice and their audience was really receptive to new songs and new music.
What is your favorite song off your new album, Same Trailer Different Park?
I guess my favorite one would be "Follow Your Arrow." It was kind of a last minute addition to the record and I feel like, though everyone may not agree with what I’m saying in the song, hopefully they can agree with the fact that I feel like we should all be able to live how we want to live and love who we want to love.
How do you respond to people saying that it is inappropriate for country radio? How would you feel if they wanted to edit the song to a "cleaner" version or not play it at all?
It makes me a little sad that people in country music don’t think that country is ready for some change. It’s 2013, you know? Even if you don’t agree with everything I’m saying, we’re all driven by the same emotions. If it’s not your cup of tea, then it’s not your cup of tea. But it’s some people’s and I think it’d be really cool to widen the subject matter that’s excepted in country. But it doesn’t look like its going to happen yet.
You’re going to be up against some big names at the ACM Awards this year. What would it mean to you if you won?
It would feel really cool to win that, but to be honest it feels really cool just to be nominated. It’s funny because I don’t think of myself as a super technical vocalist, so to be in a category with women that are, and I’m such a new person at that, a new artist out there, it’s a huge compliment and it’s also a little bit scary because I want to have a career that last a long time. To be knocking stuff off of my bucket list so early on, it’s kind of like wait a minute, my record’s not even out yet! This is pressure! But it’s also cool and I’m thankful to have been nominated.
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style is a big mix. A lot of it’s pretty vintage. I love vintage looks. I’m obsessed with the mid ’60s era, even ’70s, it was a good era for clothes, hair, music, and cars. For some reason, I really gravitate towards that time period. I like to mix it up with new stuff. It’s like a mixture of old and new. Some of it is a little tongue and cheek at times. I’m into leggings and hightops. Hightop tennis shoes! I love vintage cowboy boots and some days I’m into platform stilettos encrusted in jewels. It’s really all over the place.
Do you have any favorite designers?
I don’t really wear designers. I think Alexander McQueen is badass. Hopefully I’ll be able to afford it one day.
Where are your favorite places to shop?
Vintage stores. There are several around Nashville that are really good that I try to check in with whenever I’m home. There’s one called Savant. It’s a huge mix. It’s all crammed into this tiny little vintage house and it’s got a mix between modern furniture and art, but also handbags, shoes, old accessories and dresses. It’s really cool. Also, there’s another one called Katy K and it’s pretty famous. It’s right next door to Dolly Parton’s studio. It’s super kitschy ranch wear, but they also have a big mix of suff—a lot of dresses from the ’50s through ’70s. I found a lot of my album artwork stuff there. It’s super cowgirl in a fun, almost pinup cowgirl kind of way.
You tweeted a picture wearing a star-shaped hair clip from an Etsy designer Giant Dwarf. Do you shop often on Etsy?
I do try to shop online and support people who handmake their stuff, and because you can find stuff that nobody else has. That lady from Giant Dwarf makes amazing hair accessories and head pieces that are made out of German glass glitter. It’s really pretty.
You also tweeted a picture of your tour bus, which you spent a lot of time making cozy. How would you describe your decorating style?
A lot of my stuff is either refurbished off of Craigslist or garage sales. I have a lot of my mom’s painting art in my house. She’s a visual artist and does amazing work. I love vintage show posters and candles. Even if I’m going to be in a space for a day, I feel like I have to bring stuff with me to make it my own. I’ll walk on the bus with a box full of Christmas lights, candles, the garland, stuff like that, and my tour manager will be like, ‘We’re going to be off of here in three days, don’t you know that?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, it’s fine. I’ll deal with all this stuff.’
But your band probably appreciates it.
It’s a bunch of dudes, so in the beginning they’re probably like, Oh my God, what is she doing? But I think in the end it makes it feel like home a little bit more, not just like a rolling hotel room.
Tell us about your dog, Pearl! Do you ever dress her up?
I have a big pearl necklace, hence the name Pearl. It looks cute on her. It’s hard to find clothes for a three-legged dog. She’s a rescue and she’s missing her right front leg, so any kind of dog sweater, it never works for her. She’s got a lavender collar with cupcakes all over it.
Read on to shop Musgrave’s country-chic look.
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