ACM 2019 Nominee Kacey Musgraves: Inside the Grammy-Winning Singer's Rise to Fame

Kacey Musgraves walks into the 54th annual Academy of Country Music Awards (ACM) on Sunday with five nominations. Here's a look back the singer's rise to stardom.

Before Musgraves won the coveted Grammy Award for Album of the Year in February, ABC News reports she first performed on-stage at about eight years old. At nine, she penned her first song, titled "Notice Me." 

"The first song I wrote, called 'Notice Me' was when I was nine," Musgraves, 30, told CMT in 2014. "I just turned a poem into a song. My mom still has the piece of paper I wrote it on. But I didn’t really start writing more songs until I had more stuff to write about. Like when I was 15 and going through breakups. All that led up to this. I just kept at it and kept at it."

The Texas-born talent's family was very hands-on and supportive of her music career. As she was starting out, her grandmother served as her booking agent. Her sister, Kelly Christine Sutton, remains her photographer to this day, and even shot the cover for her highly praised Golden Hour record—an album, which debuted in March 2018, that won Grammy awards within five categories.

Musgraves self-published three albums before appearing on the USA Network's Nashville Star in Season 5. She didn't win the singing competition series, ultimately concluding her run in seventh place. However, the experience encouraged her to move to Nashville. 

Upon moving to Nashville, Rolling Stone reported that Musgraves joined the label Mercury Nashville in 2012, releasing her debut single "Merry Go Round" later that year. She also landed a publishing contract with Lost Highway. Through this deal, she was able to help pen songs like Miranda Lambert's "Mama's Broken Heart," which debuted in January 2013. By March 2013, Musgraves would release her first studio album Same Trailer Different Park. This record features her most popular song to date, "Follow Your Arrow." Since this, she's becomes known for creating music that defies country standards. She abstains from sugarcoating in her songs and instead bluntly express her thoughts.  

"It's weird because the ideas in my songs aren't controversial to me," she told Elle in 2013. "I feel like I should be able to sing about anything."

After Same Trailer Different Park, Musgraves dropped her sophomore effort Pageant Material in 2015. She would later release A Very Kacey Christmas, her third album and first Christmas record, in 2016. By 2018, Musgraves would surprise her loyal fanbase—and honestly the world—with her fourth studio effort Golden Hour.

Golden Hour incorporated some of the ingredients a typical Musgraves album would feature, including strong and straight-forward lyrics. Despite this, the record ultimately veered away from her standard folksy country sound. Instead, Golden Hour featured a sound that could be classified as contemporary meets country. Or, as Musgraves puts it: "galactic country." The sound featured on Golden Hour opened her up to a wider audience as well.

"With this record, I tried to change it up a little bit," Musgraves told NPR in April 2018. "This record to me is all about feeling. It's not about thinking as much. My prior records have been more about thinking—thinking about each line, thinking about the way that I'm flipping a phrase. And thinking is great, but if you have all thought no feeling ... I think that's a mistake."

Musgraves is currently on the road for her Oh, What a World: Tour. She added several new North American dates in February.

Kacey Musgraves Rise to Fame Kacey Musgraves is pictured attending the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on February 24, 2019, in Hollywood, California. Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Join the Discussion

Editor's Pick