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Kacey Musgraves' influences run deep: 'I grew up singing Western swing'

Kacey Musgraves, 'Follow Your Arrow' (2013)
Kelly Christine Musgraves

Kacey Musgraves has slowly built her empire through her songwriting, an unlikely avenue considering the saturation of singing competitions. But don't be fooled, even the newly-minted Grammy winner threw her cowgirl hat into the ring on USA Network's "Nashville Star," finishing in seventh place in 2007. However, it wasn't until Miranda Lambert's "Four The Record" (2011) that Musgraves began seeing an appreciation for her own music, having penned the chart-topping hit "Mama's Broken Heart."

She signed with Mercury Records in 2012 and released her off-beat, melancholy debut single "Merry Go 'Round," the lead-in to "Same Trailer Different Park." Eventually, the song became her first Top 10 hit on the radio airplay charts, setting in motion her boiling career. She walked away New Artist of the Year at the 2013 CMA Awards and two Grammys in January, for Best Country Album and Best Country Song. It's not her new-found fame that she enjoys the most, though. “A lot of people probably would have jumped at getting signed or whatever, but I guess that’s because they’re more driven by wanting to be famous or something," she shares in this week's CMA Close-Up. "I just wanted to make great music that really mattered to me. I knew that whenever it was right, it was gonna feel right, and the right people would hopefully be onboard.”

She adds, "“If you have one chance to say something to the music world, then it better be what you are ready to say."

Throughout "Same Trailer Different Park," Musgraves explores deep-rooted tradition through examining the human condition, however depressing it may be. Her influences truly run the gamut, but she prefers to stick to what she knows best, making everything new again in the process. “I grew up singing Western swing and really traditional Country Music — Ernest Tubb songs, Jimmie Rodgers songs, Patsy Montana, Patsy Cline,” she says. “At the time, I liked the performance aspect. But I was like, ‘Mom! Nobody my age likes these songs!’ I was feeling kind of nerdy."

"Now, looking back, that gave me a huge, huge schooling in eras that came way before me, so now I can take bits of pieces that stand out to me and make them fresh," she explains.

As far as a follow-up goes, Musgraves choose to relish in her success (so far) before leaping to the next chapter. “There’s something just really special about a first record. I just want to hold onto that as long as I can.”

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