When Kacey Musgraves was just 9, she wrote a song called “Notice Me.” And, boy, did we ever.
It may have taken 16 years for everyone to notice her, but still.
When she was in Chicago last week, Musgraves told me about her early attempts at songwriting.
“The first song I wrote, called ‘Notice Me,’ was when I was 9,” she said. “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.”
But there were times when the teenaged Musgraves’ love of Western swing music wasn’t doing much for her high school popularity.
“I remember being in ninth and 10th grade and being like, ‘Mom, nobody thinks this is cool my age. I’m such a nerd,’” she recalled. “At school, I’d be hanging out with friends, and then on the weekends, I’m wearing a 10-gallon hat and fringe and I’m yodeling. I was such a freak.”
However she’s quick to add that once she started writing more songs, she found her voice as a singer-songwriter.
“Looking back now the things I thought were dorky back then, I grab inspiration and elements of that,” she said. “I am really glad I had that.”
Dorky? Maybe. But Musgraves says her unique musical roots gave her an edge.
“Early on, I figured out that you’ve got to stand out and set yourself apart. I had people in my world that really made an impression on me,” she said of the music teacher who inspired her at a young age. She learned the mandolin first, then it was on to banjo, guitar, harmonica and more, including yodeling.
“My sisters and I would wear white button-ups and red bandanas, and we would stroll the stockyards and sing old country songs with this group of kids,” she said. “We were called the Buckaroos.”