Kacey Musgraves is following her own arrow in the music business.
In a wide-ranging interview with Billboard, the country star, 29, revealed the folksier language she has popularized in her music is all thanks to her personal life experiences. From admitting she has an affinity for recreational drugs to the inspiration behind her “unintentional” LGBTQ anthem, Musgraves shared what she’s encountered in the five years since her breakthrough in Nashville.
“Honestly, psychedelics really made a giant impression on me. I was probably 21 or 22 when I tried mushrooms. I had profound experiences,” the Golden Hour hitmaker said. “I feel like it made my music better, it made me miss my family and care more about them and also know my place egotistically in the universe. Like, I’m nothing.”
But nothing she is not. Since her debut album, Same Trailer, Different Park, in 2013, which was followed up with 2015’s Pageant Material, Musgraves has made a name for herself, especially after the release of, arguably, her biggest single thus far: “Follow Your Arrow.”
“At 18, I was a lot more redneck than I am now. I think back to who I was then: being in a small-town high school and seeing a gay guy get made fun of, I’d like, laugh along and not really think much about it,” Musgraves recalled about her past before becoming an ally to the LGBTQ community, which has embraced her 2013 hit.
“A best friend came out to me right after high school, and that’s when I started getting it — my perspective completely changed. Moving to Nashville, I started hanging out at this gay club called Play all the time, and I made so many friends,” shared the star, who wed husband Ruston Kelly in September 2017. “It really hurt my heart that I had ever even been close to being the opposite of that.”
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In fact, the response to “Follow Your Arrow” validated her new perspective.
“It became this unintentional anthem. It was really redeeming for me, because I come from where I come from,” Musgraves said. “Part of me felt a little guilty that I was the ‘Arrow’ girl and a long time ago … it has not always been my viewpoint. But I guess people can change.”
However, one thing that hasn’t changed is her belief that there is a double standard for women in the music business.
“All you have to do is not smile. And then they’re like, ‘She’s a bitch.’ There’s so much extra pressure on females in the music industry to be accommodating and nice, and it’s such horses—,” Musgraves said. “They would never say that to [Chris] Stapleton, or Eric Church, who wears his f—ing sunglasses all the time. If I wore my sunglasses all the time, people would be like, ‘She thinks she is hot s—.’ “
With the current wave of female empowerment, thanks to Time’s Up and #MeToo movements, Musgraves opened up about a particularly uncomfortable moment while promoting her first album.
“I’ve been lucky enough to not really experience much of that, or if I have, either I don’t remember or I’ve blocked it out. Maybe it’s just so written into societal norms that sometimes I’m blind to it — but it’s definitely there,” she said.
“I’m lucky; I only work with people that I don’t get creepy vibes from. I won’t work with somebody if they give me any kind of … touch-me-inappropriately vibes. But every now and then, you run into it in radio interviews or whatever,” Musgraves remembered.
“I, God forbid, showed my legs on the Same Trailer, Different Park cover. On air, this DJ was like, ‘Love the album cover, you have really nice legs. Can I touch them?’ And I was like, ‘Uh… no?’ What’s wrong with people? Ugh,” she said.
Golden Hour is available Friday.