Musgraves discusses evolving sound, tour with Harry Styles KACEY COUNTRY


AP Music Writer


Kacey Musgraves and Harry Styles might sound like an odd pairing for a tour, but for Musgraves, it makes perfect sense.

That’s because Musgraves is happy to bring country music to new and unexpected audiences and, at the same time, continue to expand her own sound, like she does on her recently released third album, where the influences include Sade and the Bee Gees.

“I’ve always wanted to be the kind of artist that can play Bonnaroo or Coachella and then turn around and play a country festival,” she said in a recent interview with The Associated Press.

“Golden Hour,” which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s country albums chart, sticks to Musgraves’ country roots, but the result is more pop-leaning compared to her first two full-length albums.

“I’m really excited for this record to reach an audience that I haven’t reached yet with my other music. One thing that I’ve always been very proud of is when someone says, ‘I don’t like country music, but I love your music.’ That’s a huge compliment to me.”

Musgraves has been playing the new songs on the road with Little Big Town, and she’ll reach more – and new – fans when the two-time Grammy winner begins touring with former One Direction member Styles in June.

Q. How do you feel that you’ve grown in the last couple of years?

A. If you kind of start off from Day One just being yourself, you really don’t owe anything to anybody from then on. There’s a lot of freedom in just coming out and just saying, ‘This is me. And if you like it, cool and if not, that’s fine, too.’ It’s been really fun over the years, just following those inspirations and just kind of rolling with it, whether its country or not.

I love the idea of country music translating to people of all kinds, everywhere. And it doesn’t have to be about only five subject matters, tailgates and beer. Those are great things, but country music – real country music – is about life, and that’s what this album is about.

Q. Was the goal of reaching more people in the back of your mind when you were recording?

A. A lot of influences were in my ear going into making this. I’m a big fan of Sade and I grew up listening to her and the Bee Gees and Neil Young and all these things, Imogen Heap and Daft Punk. I was like, ‘Where’s a world where all of these things can live, [along] with the things that inspire me about country music?’ Like, pedal steel guitar, banjo, my country center, my organic center.

It was real important for people not to hear this and go, ‘Where’s Kacey? Where’d she go? This is the third album. Oh, she just tried to get weird for weird’s sake.’ No, it’s like, I was very adamant about finding the balance and not losing my spirit or my character within all of this, but also evolving.

Q. Are you excited to go on tour with Harry Styles?

A. I love the challenge of being put with an artist that you normally probably wouldn’t think to put me with. I think it’s a brilliant combination, especially considering where his album ... the direction that went. When I got asked to do it I was like, ‘Yes, I can totally see this being so fun and making sense.’

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