Kacey Musgraves’ sophomore album Pageant Material isn’t out til June 23, but it’s already earned the 26-year-old singer-songwriter one surprise distinction: on June 30, she’ll become the first country artist to grace the cover of indie music mag The Fader, which is best known for putting artists like Kanye West, Lana Del Rey and Sam Smith on its cover months, if not years, before its more mainstream peers.
“She writes melodies that are really sticky, in the same way that, say, Future or Rich Homie Quan does,” says The Fader editor-in-chief Naomi Zeichner. “We didn’t want to single her out as a token liberal country star. Kacey happens to be one of the most exciting writers and guitar players out there, and we want to be a definitive place for music profiles that dig deeper and get the stories behind the people making music that matters.”
Part of that story includes the detail that Pageant Material takes its title in part from the flak Musgraves caught in country circles after the 2013 CMA Awards camera showed her frowning during Miranda Lambert’s acceptance speech for Female Vocalist of The Year (Musgraves was nominated and lost.)
“Especially for women, you need a certain face at award shows when you lose or you’re an asshole,” Musgraves tells The Fader’s deputy editor Duncan Cooper in the cover story, released on The Fader.com Thursday (May 28). “You can’t have a potty mouth or an opinion. In the South, getting judged on superficial stuff is a real thing. And I’m not attacking the people that might get something positive out of pageantry, I’m just not into being judged in that way. I’d rather lose for what I am than win for something that I’m not.”
The Fader also sits down with Musgraves’ frequent co-writer Shane McAnally, whose first-ever collaboration with the singer, “Fine,” appears on Pageant Material. McAnally recalls of their first meeting: “‘This is the combination of every artist that has formed my musical path. From Lee Ann Womack to Willie to Dolly, the people that I have been obsessed with, they’re all rolled up right here in Kacey. It’s not what’s on the radio right now, but I would like to think that we’re working to change that. Those choruses, and the way she sings? It’s all right there, the sing-along-ability of commercial pop songs of all of our history.”
Musgraves isn’t the only country act The Fader has embraced as of late — in March, Sam Hunt played the Fader Fort at South By Southwest, while Cooper has maintained a semi-regular column on TheFader.com called Another Country that’s profiled genre outliers like Chris Stapleton, Lucinda Williams and Sturgill Simpson over the past year.
The Fader’s Summer Music Issue will feature four artists on its cover this year: the previously announced Meek Mill, who denies his rumored engagement to Nicki Minaj, and two more artists to be revealed “next week,” Zeichner says.