After a huge year that included releasing a critically acclaimed debut album, touring constantly and winning a Country Music Award for Best New Artist, Kacey Musgraves finally took time this month to decompress. “I went to Texas and hung out with family and did nothing but eat a bunch of Mexican food,” says the singer. Musgraves counts her highlights of the year as playing Bonnaroo on the Tennessee fest's sweaty final day and touring stadiums with Kenny Chesney. Musgraves also reveals she wrote some songs with superfan Katy Perry. “Writing with her was amazing,” says Musgraves. “She’s undeniably a huge pop star, but there’s incredible substance and wit there, too.”
She's still getting used to the spotlight. Earlier this month, Musgraves scored some new fans with a standout performance at the CMAs, where in addition to her win, she was nominated for others including Album of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year. But Musgraves received some unwanted attention when the camera caught her seemingly flat reaction to Miranda Lambert’s win for Female Vocalist of the Year. “As a new artist, I’m still getting used to cameras being on me 24/7,” Musgraves explains. “And there’s no way you can be caught smiling at all times. If you know me, sometimes when I’m just sitting there, it looks like I’m not having a good time, but I am!"
Her reaction got picked up by blogs like Perez Hilton, prompting Musgraves to set the record straight. “I’ve reached out to Miranda and let her know that that I didn’t mean anything and we laughed about how dumb those things can get. I don’t like that because it can take away from music at certain points. I didn’t mean anything by that. It’s funny because I was clapping and smiling before and after that clip. I guess I’m still kind of getting used to everything.”
Adds Musgraves, “If anyone should be offended, it should be me! I mean, did you see my face? I look like a dumbass. It was a long day. My feet were hurting.”
In January, Musgraves heads out on a huge arena tour with Lady Antebellum. “They’re a really nice group of people,” she says. “I’m getting the rest of my year set up after that. I don’t know if they’re things I can actually talk about yet, but it’s bucket-list, dream shit. I’m just really excited for next year.”
Among those plans: she has already started working on the follow-up to Same Trailer Different Park. “I’m really pumped to get the ball rolling on being creative again,” she says, counting John Prine as a huge influence. "“He leaves no stone unturned as far as lyrics go. Everything counts. That’s where my head is at.” She's also been influenced by long, difficult stretches on the road. “Being away from family and friends is an unfortunate part of this, but it’s also inspiring because it causes me to think. I reserve time when I can to write here and there. I think it’s important to keep the creative vein flowing. I’ve got a good handful that I’m really excited about but may or may not ever see the light of day. But it’s something to be excited about for now. They’re the same kind of simple [songs]-- all of my favorite parts of traditional country music are, with fresh, blunt ideas.”
This article originally appeared on Rolling Stone: Kacey Musgraves on Writing With Katy Perry, 'Same Trailer' Follow-Up