Behind the Lyrics with Kacey Musgraves

In Her Own Words

“The idea came when a friend was moving to Paris to study and she needed a boost of courage. I found this arrow necklace and wrote a little poem – something like, ‘Have lots of fun, smoke lots of joints and follow your arrow wherever it points.’ I liked the idea of a song called ‘Follow Your Arrow’ and came up with a rough chorus and melody. I brought it when I was writing for Katy Perry for her record, and she loved it but said, ‘Honestly it sounds like something you would sing. You should keep it.’ Eventually, when I was back in Nashville writing with Shane and Brandy, we finished it in an hour. I knew it wasn’t going to be a radio song—and it was banned in a lot of places–so it’s kind of crazy to me that it’s nominated for a CMA. But if there are kids in small towns–or big towns–who don’t feel like they belong, and this song gives them courage to walk taller, that’s better than any award I can ever hope to win.”

“I love sprinkling humor with truth—and it’s true. If you turn on the TV, someone’s either too fat or too skinny, too this or too that. It’s ridiculous, and it sends mixed messages. You’re never going to please everyone.”

“The CMAs censored that line when I performed last year, but it backfired. People Googled the song to find out what I said.”

“It’s insane the amount of tattoos this song has generated. People love to show me their arrow tattoos. Literally hundreds and hundreds of people!”

Follow Your Arrow

If you save yourself for marriage, you’re a bore

If you don’t save yourself for marriage

You’re a horrible person

If you won’t have a drink then you’re a prude
]But they’ll call you a drunk

As soon as you down the first one

If you can’t lose the weight then you’re just fat

But if you lose too much then you’re on crack

You’re damned if you do

And you’re damned if you don’t

So, you might as well just do

Whatever you want


So, make lots of noise

Kiss lots of boys

Or kiss lots of girls

If that’s something you’re into

When the straight and narrow

Gets a little too straight

Roll up a joint or don’t

Just follow your arrow wherever it points, yeah

Follow your arrow wherever it points

If you don’t go to church, you’ll go to hell

If you’re the first one on the front row

You’re a self-righteous son of a

Can’t win for losing

You’ll just disappoint ’em

Just ’cause you can’t beat ’em

Don’t mean you should join ’em


Say what you think

Love who you love

‘Cause you just get so many trips around the sun

Yeah, you only, only live once


“We wanted to represent everyone – every arrow. I knew it would be controversial, but I didn’t want that to stop me. It really summed up the song’s idea. We just said, ‘Can we say this? We’re going to say this!'”

“I love this line ’cause a lot of people let themselves be bowled over by other people. It’s saying, ‘You don’t have to fight them, just be. Do your own thing.'”

“Life is too short to live censored based on what people think of you. A lot of people on their death beds wish they hadn’t cared so much about pleasing others. That’s what I try to think about.”

Updated by Shane McAnally
Related Articles