Interview: Kacey Musgraves on Pointing Her ‘Arrow’ at Gay Acceptance in Country Music
By Annie Reuter
“Music has always been a male-dominated game,” she recently told Radio.com. “I feel like it’s that way in every business scenario. But this is 2013 and we’re moving forward. There’s a lot of guys on the charts, but there are a lot of girls that aren’t on the charts that haven’t been heard yet that are making great music. I think it’s a really good time for girls.”
In order for women to leave more of a mark in country music, they do have to speak up, Musgraves advised.
“For a while, I think it was popular to be pretty and have a great voice and not have much substance. But I think it’s cool that it’s coming back around where you’re expected to have something a little more hefty to say — something different, a different perspective,” she said. “You can’t just be a pretty face anymore.”
Musgraves knows this firsthand. Her first two singles, “Merry Go ‘Round” and “Blowin’ Smoke,” struck a chord with country fans because of Musgraves’ outspoken lyrics. Her third single, “Follow Your Arrow,” was released to radio this week and turns the real talk up to ten. In it she discusses a few controversial topics, including one mainstream country rarely — if ever — tackles: homosexuality. “Kiss lots of boys/Or kiss lots of girls if that’s something you’re into,” she sings.
“Well I hope it gets attention because I think it’s definitely time for those issues to be accepted in country music — I mean it’s 2013,” she said. “Regardless of your political beliefs, everybody should be able to love who they want to love and live how they want to live. We’re all driven by the same emotions; we all want to be loved and want to feel the same things. So, hopefully people will put aside their personal, political agenda and just agree with that fact.”
“Follow Your Arrow” is a big step for Musgraves, and she thanks strong females who came before her — like Loretta Lynn — for allowing her to talk about things that haven’t been talked about before.
“I think the song ‘Follow Your Arrow’ is the most me as far as where my brain is at or where my mindset is at about life and people in general,” she told Radio.com earlier this year. “It’s one that maybe six years ago I couldn’t have written. I had a different outlook but just growing and learning more about people and life, it’s just allowed to write that. It’s about just doing whatever you want, regardless of what society is going to say.”
Musgraves will play alongside fellow LGBT supporter Katy Perry — as well as Tegan and Sara, Sara Bareilles and Ellie Goulding — at Wednesday’s We Can Survive concert, thrown by Perry, Radio.com and Citi. The Hollywood Bowl show benefits Young Survival Coalition, the global organization that is dedicated to the critical issues unique to young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer. (To donate directly to Young Survival Coalition, head to the YSC site or text “SURVIVE” to 80888 to give a one-time donation of $10.)
(Additional reporting by Shannon Carlin, Radio.com)