Grammy-award winning 'Album Of The Year' recipient Kacey Musgraves needs no introduction, with her latest album 'Golden Hour' having gone down in history as one of the most beloved records of recent times.
Coup De Main caught up with Musgraves while she was in Australia recently, ahead of her very first ever New Zealand show...
...when you are in the right relationship, it in turn allows you to learn how to love yourself better - to kind of forgive yourself for not being perfect because you’re not having to walk on egg shells to make this other person happy. So after having that in my own life, I think that's what a lot of the album is about.
COUP DE MAIN: Hi Kacey! Are you looking forward to coming to New Zealand for the very first time ever this week?
KACEY MUSGRAVES: Oh my gosh, I’m so ecstatic and excited to be coming for the first time! I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about New Zealand and Auckland, so I’m really excited to get there. I love coming to new places.
CDM: Last time we talked back in 2014 when you were promoting 'Same Trailer Different Park', you said it was on your bucket-list to one day come to New Zealand! And now you finally are!
KACEY: Yeah! Definitely! What is it, like six years later maybe?
CDM: I broke a foot recently and will be in a moon boot, but there's nothing that can stop me from being at your show next week.
KACEY: Perfect. You should just bedazzle it.
CDM: Do you have a message for your New Zealand fans ahead of the show next week?
KACEY: Oh man, if I could just say thank you so much for spreading the love and bringing me over to New Zealand for the first time. I think that we’re gonna have a special night and I can’t wait to share the songs and get to know everybody there. Hopefully, I’ll get to come back many more times! This will be the first of many trips, hopefully.
CDM: Has it been fun performing 'High Horse' live? That song is peak sass.
KACEY: 'High Horse' is definitely one of the more fun and uptempo songs that I have to play live. The record itself is pretty chill, it kind of coasts along. I've never really been known for having a lot of high tempo songs, so when 'High Horse' comes along in the set I think that it’s a nice chance to let loose for everybody, including the band and I.
CDM: Your latest single 'Oh, What A World' is such an anthem of positivity and thankfulness. What are you most grateful for in this world?
KACEY: I’m really grateful that I have met my husband, and on a more grand scale, that I’m alive at this exciting time. I feel like it’s an interesting time to be alive. There’s a lot of awakening happening on a lot of social fronts, and it’s cool to see. I can’t wait to see where things move to in the near future and ultimately I just feel grateful to be alive and to experience what it’s like being a human right now. Seeing so much great art, seeing all these different perspectives come to light, I think it’s a really beautiful time.
CDM: I love how you personify love as "running like a river tryna find the ocean" in 'Love Is A Wild Thing'. Do you think love is the strongest human emotion?
KACEY: I think love can really conquer all. I feel like it is at its base level the answer to pretty much everything. And we all have it inside of us, and we all deserve it equally. Life and karma on a positive versus negative sense, the more positive you put out there, just mathematically, the more that you’re gonna get back. I’m still learning how to apply that to my own life and practice, but I think if you can keep that on your brain and we can all navigate through life with that on our minds, I think that we’d all be better off.
CDM: 'Velvet Elvis' is one of my all-time favourite love songs ever. It's such a bop. What do you think is the most magical thing about love?
KACEY: Thanks! When you are in the right relationship, it in turn allows you to learn how to love yourself better - to kind of forgive yourself for not being perfect because you’re not having to walk on egg shells to make this other person happy. So after having that in my own life, I think that's what a lot of the album is about.
CDM: In 'Golden Hour' you say, "All that I know is you caught me at the right time." Is timing key to relationships?
KACEY: Timing is definitely a giant component of life. I feel that way even in regards to music and the industry. You could have the greatest talent in the world and the greatest song, but if time isn’t on your side it’s just harder for people to hear them. So timing is everything in a lot of ways, and it’s interesting what little facets of life lead to the next without you even realising it. How one thing can be completely thrown off if you hadn’t gone a certain route or made a certain decision. I guess at the end of the day you have to just rest in the fact that it’s gonna work out in some way, and later on, it may be apparent as to why it was great that you made a certain choice that you did. So I try not to stress too much over choice A or B.
CDM: What are your favourite lyrics you wrote for your 'Golden Hour' album?
KACEY: I would have to say that my favourite song on the record is probably 'Slow Burn' - it’s my most autobiographical song in a lot of ways. It’s me being able to poke fun at myself a little bit, but also me kind of telling my story in a different way than I have before.
CDM: It’s the perfect embodiment of that old adage, 'Good things take time.' Why do you think it's important to really live in every moment and appreciate the now?
KACEY: All we have is now! It’s a beautiful gift if you can look up and acknowledge it and be present in it. There’s a lot of beauty around and there’s a lot to be inspired by! So I’m really intrigued by the fact that inspiration is all around at any given second. It’s hidden in the little things and it’s a gift to those who notice it and use it as inspiration - no-one is allowed more than the other, as far as inspiration goes. It’s always there, so I think being present and tuning in is a nice way to be inspired by the mundane.
CDM: "You can have your space, cowboy / I ain't gonna fence you in," from 'Space Cowboy' is an iconic line! What was running through your mind while writing that?
KACEY: Haha yeah! 'Space Cowboy' is ultimately just about making peace with something that isn’t fitting into your life, and allowing more space to be open for the right thing to come in. I think that when you’re really close to a situation emotionally it can be hard to see that something better might come along. It sounds cheesy, but when you close one door you’re leaving more space for something else to come in, and sometimes it’s the thing that you never really saw coming.
CDM: Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig has said that after going to your September 2016 show at the Greek Theatre, your direct and conversational lyrics made him reconsider his more avant-garde lyric style. Do you think forthright lyrics are more powerful because they're easier to connect with and relate to?
KACEY: Not always! In my previous albums I kind of relied more on a linear and more literal writing style, and I think that that’s one strong-suit in songwriting, but I think that there’s a lot of other beautiful colours that I wasn’t really using on the canvas, so to speak. I’ve always admired writers that can be a little bit more ambiguous with what they’re saying in a sense, and who kind of give the listener more space to interpret the lyrics on their own. I think it takes a lot of courage to do that. It was something that I consciously wanted to play with this time on this album; writing with more of a stream of consciousness versus really overthinking every single line and trying to beat the next and make it over clever, which is something that I can do sometimes and I love those kinds of songs, but it was nice to step back and give the songs more of an aerial painting versus a microscopic tone.
CDM: Is 'Happy & Sad' a song you still relate to, now a year on from the release of your 'Golden Hour' album?
KACEY: Yeah, 'Happy & Sad' is a layman way of describing a mix of emotions that I tend to feel a lot in life. It’s my favourite juncture when happiness and sadness come together, it’s a beautiful feeling and it’s a little bit uneasy, but it’s good, and I guess melancholic would be the closest description for it. It’s easy to sometimes feel anxiety when you’re in a really happy moment because you know that it’s about to be over. I experienced that with putting this record out - working on any project and putting your absolute soul into it, getting close to it for a year, creating it in your mind and growing closer to the people that you made it with, and then you have to put it out, and there it is! It belongs to the world. Your private creation time with it is over, so it’s a little bit bittersweet. It’s kind of sad, it’s like you end one chapter and begin the next, which is all the promotion and inertia of putting a record out and it’s a little daunting, but it’s also a really happy thing because you’re excited to share everything with everyone. So I thought it was a fitting song to have on the record.
CDM: Have you started thinking about your next album yet?
KACEY: I’m always thinking ahead to the next creative venture that I want to get myself into, whether that’s writing a song here or there, or going and singing live music, or shaping our live show, or creating a colouring book with my mom and thinking about merch, or picking openers - I just never really stop shaping things here and there. But I do have some songs that I’m really excited about that are new and I’m not going to rush anything because I think my best work happens when I have the time and space to just try and throw paint on the wall. That’s how ‘Golden Hour’ came about, so I think I’m just gonna take my time and let ‘Golden Hour’ glow just a little longer, but I’m really excited about some sounds I’m playing with.
CDM: Last time we talked you expressed an interest in one day publishing a book of perhaps short stories and illustrations. Have you thought any more about that?
KACEY: Well I did just come out with a colouring book that my mom illustrated and it’s based on the entire album of ‘Golden Hour’. It’s got lyrics in it, and I was very involved with all the details and all the colouring pages, and there’s also some activity pages in there too. So in lieu of what you were just talking about, I think that this is a really fun way to dip my toes into something like that. It was really fun, but it was a lot of work, and my mum's really talented so I was really excited to put it out.