Kacey Musgraves Wants to Help Young People Follow Their Arrow Into Music Education

Kacey Musgraves would like young people to follow their arrow wherever it goes, as her signature song says, and if she could provide just a little tailwind to help those arrows land in the bull’s-eye that is music, all the better.

“Music education has long been an interest of mine,” says the country-pop star. “It started when I got to hold a benefit concert for my hometown” — a 2015 show in Mineola, Texas, that raised more than $100,000 for local school arts programs as well as a nature preserve. “I felt proud to be able to give money to my own high school and see the direct benefit of kids getting to have a bigger choir department and musical instruments.”

So when it came to choosing a charity for her Variety Power of Women honor, she easily settled on the Grammy Museum, which, beyond its hall of exhibits, offers education-focused programs like an annual Grammy Camp for teen prodigies and the Music Educator Award. “Especially coming from a very small town in Texas where I’ve seen firsthand that that is the first department to take a hit when there are budget cuts, I know there are so many kids that have such raw talent that needs to be nourished.”

Musgraves fell more in love with the Grammy Museum (which has locations in Los Angeles, Newark, and Cleveland, Miss.) when she stopped by the L.A. branch’s Clive Davis Theater in February for a benefit Q&A and performance. It was five days before she would pick up four Grammys across the street at Staples Center, including what many consider the evening’s most prestigious honor, the all-genre album of the year prize, for “Golden Hour.”

While she was at the museum, “I had a chance to peruse the wonderful Dolly Parton memorabilia [in a current temporary exhibit] and I was just so enamored by all of her beautiful gowns and dresses.” Not that she needed much education on Parton before she took to the telecast with former tour mate Katy Perry to
join Parton on “Here You Come Again.”

Having her own exhibit in the Grammy Museum “would be bucket list,” Musgraves says. But if you can’t wait, another institution for which she’s done benefits, Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame, will be opening a Musgraves exhibit this summer. “I just went home and made sure to pull out some really embarrassing photos for that. I have definitely always had my own idea of style, and sometimes it did not serve me well,” she says, presumably referring to her childhood days, when she embraced full Western wear with less of a sense of irony than she did later on. Needless to say, in 2019 she’s a fashion icon. When she sits down with Variety wearing a black track suit with rhinestone rainbow stripes up and down each side, she describes her garb as “my best Elton John homage” and notes that her favorite style is “when something comfortable meets something very … extra.”

In clothes as in her music, she says she likes when “two opposite worlds come together.”

For Musgraves, a collision of worlds is a recurring theme, both in a fan base that runs the gamut from rednecks to RuPaul and in a rejiggered sound that emphasizes blissed-out folk-pop at least as much as country. She’s carrying that genre-blending forward, saying her wish list for co-writers on her next album includes Tame Impala, Sufjan Stevens and the Shins.

More Music

  • Saweetie

    Saweetie's 'My Type' Is a Smash, but Is it Too Provocative for Top 40?

    Saweetie’s “My Type” is a smash. The high-energy, up-tempto, bad bitch anthem has proven to be an undeniable force. Having won the hearts of TikTok users, radio (rhythmic, urban and now Top 40, logging more than 81,000 combined spins, according to Mediabase) and streaming, where BuzzAngle Music records 160 million U.S. streams to date and [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Peter Coyote Riffs on 'Country Music' and How He Admires and Challenges Ken Burns

    Though an instantly recognizable face from films such as “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” “A Walk to Remember” and “Erin Brockovich,” it is Peter Coyote’s voice — a coolly authoritative baritone with a Zen master’s holy roll — that has endeared him to documentary lovers and makers. Alrhough director-writer Alex Gibney used Coyote’s wisened narration for “Enron: [...]


    SAG-AFTRA Reaches Deal With Record Labels on Music Videos

    SAG-AFTRA has reached an agreement with the major record labels on a three-year successor contract to their music video agreement. The union announced Friday that the deal achieves important economic and safety gains for performers working in music videos. Details of the new agreement will not be released until after it is reviewed by the [...]

  • Album Review: Samantha Fish’s ‘Kill or

    Album Review: Samantha Fish’s ‘Kill or Be Kind’

    At a time when rock music remains in a deep recession — to put it politely — there are few more encouraging sights to see than a badass, slide-guitar-wielding female from Kansas City lobbing some blueswailing rock and roll. That’s exactly what Samantha Fish has been serving up for the better part of a decade, [...]

  • Rob Stringer

    Sony Music Chief Rob Stringer on Sustaining Growth and Recovering From the 'Dark Times'

    The Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference, now in its 28th year, gives top executives at major companies the opportunity to make their case to investors — and the Goldman analysts the opportunity to keep things on the up and up. While the analysts don’t necessarily grill the executives, they don’t lob softball questions either. That was [...]

  • AMERICAN IDOL - "119 (Grand Finale)"

    Ryan Seacrest to Return for 'American Idol' Season 3 on ABC

    Ryan Seacrest will return as the host of “American Idol” for the music competition’s third season on ABC. Seacrest will also continue hosting and executive producing “On Air with Ryan Seacrest,” his nationally syndicated L.A. morning drive-time radio show. He also serves as co-host and executive producer on ABC’s “Live with Kelly and Ryan,” as [...]

  • Nicole Scherzinger71st Annual Primetime Creative Arts

    Pussycat Dolls Reunion Coming Sooner Than Expected

    According to a source close to lead singer Nicole Scherzinger, the Pussycat Dolls will be reuniting sooner than previously expected — she’ll be back in the studio to record new music for the group starting today. Another source says that Scherzinger bought part of the rights to PCD from choreographer Robin Antin, who founded the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content