On Golden Hour, Kacey Musgraves‘ third studio album and one of the most critically-acclaimed releases of 2018, a bold reinvention took place. The Texas-born singer-songwriter combined the moving country storytelling of her first two records with newfound disco grooves and took her career to new heights. For that, she was a natural choice for the Innovator Award at Billboard‘s 13th annual Women in Music event Thursday night (Dec. 6) in New York. She matched those honors with an inspiring speech and performance at the Manhattan ceremony.
“I feel really hopeful and proud about the state of the modern woman,” Musgraves said. “Her bravery, her unapologetic celebration of rights. Her life, her mind, and her art. And definitely most of all, her realness. And I’ve been craving realness for so long.”
The very genuine talk followed an uplifting performance of her Golden Hour track “Butterflies.” Written shortly after she met her now-husband, alt-country artist Ruston Kelly, the stripped-down rendition — a true sonic sunbeam — captured beautifully the track’s hopeful message.
“Now at age 30 I feel more connected than ever,” she said, referencing her birthday four months back. But it was a big picture observation that got her first big round of applause: “The female perspective is so important.”