Don't Call Kacey Musgraves a Progressive Artist

4.30.2014

By Stacy Lambe

The singer rejects the label in the modern-era of country music: 'I'm just writing and singing about things that inspire me and inspire a lot of people.'

Photo: Getty

At the 2014 GLAAD Media Awards on Saturday, May 3, Kacey Musgraves will make history as the first country artist to perform at the event. Thanks to her crossover hit, "Follow Your Arrow," about acceptance, the 25-year-old singer has been labeled a "progressive artist" in the conservative country music genre. It's a label she flatly rejects.

"The fact that I'm considered progressive in this day-and-age is kind of sad to me," Musgraves says. "I'm not. I'm just writing and singing about things that inspire me and inspire a lot of people. Country music, especially, is supposedly a genre where you talk about real life, real things. I don't think it should be considered that crazy."

In fact, she's just following in the footsteps of other "progressive" artists before her. Musgraves cites both Willie Nelson ("He never once flinched on who he is") and Loretta Lynn ("She said, 'I don't care. I want to do my thing' ") as her personal inspirations. According to Musgraves, these artists are role models for whom she aspires to be.

"Just because a few people may not like what you're going to say, I don't think that should make you not say it," Musgraves told Out, when asked about standing by her message about tolerance and acceptance.

With the lyrics, "Make lots of noise / Kiss lots of boys / Or kiss lots of girls / If that's something you're into," that she co-wrote with out singer-songwriter Brandy Clark, Musgraves suddenly found herself embroiled in controversy for casually supporting the gay community.

"When we were writing the song, we weren't aiming to make it any kind of gay anthem," Musgraves explains, when asked about the inspiration behind "Follow Your Arrow." "It's an anthem for all kinds of people. It just so happens that that's the part that sticks out to most people."

Conservatives, such as pastor Kevin Swanson, however, have condemned her for "promoting homosexuality."

"He says I'm promoting homosexuality and he's promoting the idea of me being killed," she says in disgust when his comments are brought up. Musgraves says she's not interested in his bigoted opinions.

As for her upcoming performance at GLAAD, she says it's an honor to perform for a community that has embraced her. But she also admits getting involved was all thanks to Jason Owen, who owns Sandbox Entertainment and manages the singer. "There are perks to having a gay manager."

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