Photo: Kelly Christine Sutton
Kacey Musgraves On 'Golden Hour,' "Space Cowboy," Katy Perry & More
Kacey Musgraves has undoubtedly entered her Golden Hour. Not only is that the title of her most recent studio album, released March 30, but it reflects the period of music-making the GRAMMY-winning country singer/songwriter has entered.
Packed full of irresistible, reflective and even joyful tracks such as "Space Cowboy," "High Horse," "Rainbow," and "Slow Burn," Golden Hour shows depth, range and a more personal side of Musgraves. She may have her new husband, Ruston Kelly, to thank for some of the upbeat inspiration on the album, but the credit for its authenticity belongs all to her.
Golden Hour peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200, and it has already landed on a variety of best-of lists for 2018. We caught up with Musgraves to bask in the glow of the album's success, talk about the disco-themed "High Horse" and ballad "Space Cowboy," and learn about her wide-ranging touring experiences.
Congratulations on Golden Hour. Now that it's been out for a few months, has your perception or connection to the album changed and, is there a track that's really speaking to you right now?
I'm super proud of this album. I guess I say that about anything that I make but this album feels very special and different to me because it feels like my most personal. And I've been very excited to share that with people. I don't feel like I've really let people in on this scale previously. I've made more observations about the world around me. But I feel like on this album I'm really going in deep and expressing my feelings and showing a little bit more of myself, which has been really exciting. And to see people really embrace musical change for me, and a step in maybe a different direction, or an evolution of sound, and embrace that warmly and openly has been really exciting, because it can be scary to change up what you're doing and put something else out there that you aren't sure if the people that have been there since the beginning are gonna like or not.
My favorite track on the record is "Slow Burn." It's definitely my most autobiographical song to date. And I couldn't help but put a little bit of a humor in there, 'cause I love lyrics like that. And though I wanna [go] in a different direction, it was important for me to keep a little bit of that around.
The music video for "High Horse" came out recently. Tell us a little bit about how that came together. How did you determine the video's direction and visuals?
The video for "High Horse" I thought could go in a million different directions, so I wasn't really sure what to do. But I knew that it had to include some very important aesthetics to me, which are karaoke, obviously a western aesthetic, which I've always loved. At it's core, it's a disco song, so some disco flavor. I love Harajuku style, and recently went to Japan, and I'm about to go again. And I'm very inspired by the style there, the sentiment, so a little bit of that made its way into the video too. And also, I'm a big fan of Dolly Parton, and I love the movie, 9 To 5. And that was a tiny bit of inspiration for me as well. But maybe a little bit of Mary Tyler Moore, but it was a very fun video to shoot. I get to ride a horse in it. It's just all my favorite things combined. And it just is portraying that scenario that we all find ourselves in when it comes to negative people wanting to burst our bubble a little bit.
Talking a little bit about "Space Cowboy," the chorus's lyrical turn in particular, did you know that you had something special when you wrote that song?
I wasn't sure about "Space Cowboy" at first, to be honest, but I really love the song now. And it's funny, I was in the horse arena one day, and there's a line in the song that came from something that my riding teacher said. She was talking about this horse that was bucking and going crazy in the arena. It was a little scary. And she basically said, "Girl, you better close the gate. When they wanna run, they're gonna run. It's not gonna matter if the gate's closed or not, they're just gonna go," basically is what she said.
And I thought, "Oh, OK, I can apply that to many areas in my life." So I wrote that down. And a few days later, I was stepping on the treadmill and the words, "Space Cowboy," popped in my head. And I was like, "That would be a really cool title I think." But I wasn't really sure what to do with it. Then the proverbial comma popped in my mind, and I was like, "Oh, wait, it could be you could have your space, cowboy."
I wrote the song a couple days later with Shane McAnally and Luke Laird. And I'm really glad that I had close friends and family fighting for the song to be on the record, because I think that it was a really nice addition to the rest of the love songs that make the larger part of the album up.
Yeah, I've been really fortunate to be able to tour with a very wide array of people, all different backgrounds of music. I remember one summer we toured with Willie Nelson and then literally turned around and toured with Katy Perry. And it made me really happy, because I love many sides of music. And you won't find somebody who loves traditional country music more than me. I love it so much, but I love so many other things too. So to be able to keep a foot in that world and a foot in the other things in the worlds that inspire me is really gratifying. From day one, I always wanted to be the kind of artist that could play a country festival and then turn around and play Bonnaroo or Newport Folk or whatever it is. Music is music.
So there's been a lot of great memories over the years, and definitely being on tour with Katy Perry was one of the most fun and wild experiences ever, and seeing that type of show every night, that production, her flying around with a bouquet of balloons. And it was just unreal, and it was so fun. It was like a Vegas show every night. But it was cool, because before that, I would just get up and do what I do, and sing my songs, and somehow it works. And we just finished a tour with Harry Styles and I feel the same way. I mean, at first, on paper, a lot of people are like, "This tour doesn't really make that much sense." But in the end, it ended up being just an amazing pairing and really fun. And it just goes to show you that a good song is a good song. It doesn't really matter what category it falls into.