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.
Harry Styles, Kacey Musgraves When: 8 p.m. Saturday Where: United Center, 1901 W. Madison Tickets: Sold out Info: ticketmaster.com
“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. I love both sides of the coin — whether it’s going on tour with Willie Nelson or Katy Perry,” she said in a recent interview.
“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. She said while crafting the songs she was “trying to think bigger, think more globally.”
“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. I love being an ambassador.”
Musgraves, who opens for the former One Direction member Saturday at the United Center, talks about her new album, switching up her sound and her recent marriage to musician Ruston Kelly.
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: How did you decide 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.” And I honestly think that his fans are going to dig the record. And they may not know anything about country music, but hopefully they like it.
These days, people don’t think in terms of genre. You know, genres might have been created for store shelves, a categorizing system of sorts. And we don’t have that anymore obviously as much, so I really just see music falling into two different categories: good and bad. I think most people are starting to see that way. A good song is a good song no matter how it’s dressed up.
Q: How has married life been for you?
A: Married life has been really fun. It feels just really solid and like I have a teammate for life. I married my best friend, so we have each other’s backs so that feels really good. Although it is hard, both being touring musicians; we’ve got to, like, pencil each other in. But we can get through the next couple years being really busy and, you know, take some time.
Q: You’ll turn 30 in August. How do you feel about that?
A: It feels really good, to be honest, to be kind of in the golden hour of my twenties. That was kind of a factor, thinking about this album. I turned 29 on Aug. 21, which was the same exact day that the total solar eclipse happened in Nashville. And there we were, we were like smack dab making the record, it was my 29th birthday, I was about to get married, and then we had the path of totality of Nashville, and it just felt like the culmination of so many events, cosmic and personal. It was really cool. I hear from everybody that is 30-plus that your 30s are your best. I’m personally excited. Everything gets better with time. And I’m still finding inspiration and having fun, so I can’t really ask for more.