Kacey Musgraves - "I've Been Everywhere"Kacey Musgraves performs "I've Been Everywhere," the classic country made famous by Hank Snow and Johnny Cash, during Opry Goes Pink in 2015.
Kacey Musgraves - Full Circle Kacey Musgraves joins the Opry backstage to talk about her musical influences, her respect for country music, what performing at the Opry means to her, and more.
Kacey Musgraves tells it like it is. She grew up in Golden, Texas, a town of 600 about 80 miles east of Dallas that Kacey admits is "out in the middle of nowhere." Her household was creative, though not necessarily musical. Kacey's mother is a visual artist; together, her parents run a print shop in nearby Mineola – "a little mom-and-pop Kinko's kind of thing."
Music came naturally to Kacey, a precocious kid who wrote her first song well before her elementary school graduation. ("It was called 'Notice Me,'" she remembers. "I can't help but wonder now what the hell a 9-year-old would've had to write about!") Kacey made her public singing debut at church when she was around 8 years old. From there, she hit the regional opry circuit. "In Texas, every few towns have an opry house," she explains. "Performers come up onstage and sing old country songs with a live band. I did that every weekend. It got me familiar with being in front of people and working with musicians."
After she moved to Nashville, she sang on other artists' demos to make money. The work allowed her to pay the bills and introduced the industry to her voice and songs. "I went around to all the publishing companies with little EP-type things," she says. "I was, like, 'Hey, you might need a new voice for demos…and also, these happen to be my songs.'" Kacey soon had a publishing deal with Warner/Chappell. "I developed a real passion for the construction of songs and probably wrote a couple hundred during that time, putting aside the ones that felt the most like me."
There was some early label interest and Kacey was booked on a few sessions with some well-known producers, but it wasn't really her thing. "What we did sounded like them, not me," she explains. "It just wasn't the right time yet. If you only get one shot to say something, it better be exactly what you want to say from the beginning, you know?" She stepped back. "I spent time developing my own mindset, writing more songs and honing in on how I wanted to sound. As that became more apparent, I ran with it."
During this formidable time, Kacey met Luke Laird and Shane McAnally, two like-minded writers who quickly became her good friends and later co-producers on her major label debut album, Same Trailer Different Park.
Her debut single, "Merry Go 'Round," garnered quick airplay and critical acclaim from Rolling Stone, NPR and Slate. Billboard looked to the past to qualify its praise: "Had Loretta Lynn or Dolly Parton arrived on the scene in 2012 instead of the 1960s, some of their compositions could very well have ended up sounding like this."
Kacey made her Grand Ole Opry debut on March 30, 2013. "Well this is pretty crazy," she said onstage. It's such an honor to be here."