Kacey Musgraves on Hanging With Willie Nelson, Touring With Harry Styles

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Aidin Vaziri | Kacey Musgraves hasn’t finished recording her new album yet, but she’s taking the summer off to tour with her old friend Willie Nelson. It’s becoming an annual tradition for the 28-year-old singer-songwriter from Texas whose most recent studio album, 2015’s “Pageant Material,” earned her a nomination for best country album at the 58th Grammy Awards. Musgraves earned a legion of fans after supporting Katy Perry in 2014 on the pop star’s “Prismatic” tour. Next year, she will open several dates for One Direction’s Harry Styles on his 2018 tour of the U.S. and Canada. She spoke to us from her home in Nashville.

Q: Are you home because you’re working on a new album?

A: I’ve been taking this year to get to the creative side of things, and also plan a wedding — and I’ve been renovating a house. So I’ve had a lot of reasons to stay put.

Q: Well, I’m glad Willie convinced you to leave the house. You can’t really say no to him, can you?

A: Hell no! Anytime Willie asks it’s always a yes.

Q: Your career is really going on these divergent paths where you’re courting the country audience and the pop audience. Which direction would you like to see it go?

A: Well, all I know what to do is continue to make music that makes me feel good — you know, whatever category that lands in is fine.

Q: How would you describe your relationship with Willie Nelson?

A: Oh man, he’s the best. He’s an interstellar human being. I love his crowds. People aren’t there to see a ton of fireworks, they’re just there to see a legend and hear some really incredible songs.

Q: You guys ended up singing a duet on “Are You Sure.” How did that happen?

A: I heard that song one night on YouTube. I was like, “Why doesn’t he ever do this damn song?” We were up on the bus, and I asked him. He’s like, “Would you want to sing it with me?” He pulled a guitar out of a cloud of smoke and started playing it. I was trying not to lose my mind.

Q: Has he corrupted you?

A: I don’t want to do anything after I hang out with Willie but sit there and stare and listen to music. Man, it’s just cool to see somebody who’s been doing it that long to still love it every night. He’s 84, and you can just tell he loves it so much.

Q: You’re part of the family now.

A: It is crazy. I grew up in Texas where I don’t think there’s anybody bigger than Jesus Christ except for Willie.

Q: You’re sending him a wedding invite, right?

A: He should officiate!

Q: Are you ready to switch gears for your tour with Harry Styles?

A: Yeah, it’s going to be a wall of screaming adolescent girls just wanting my set to be over.

Q: Which isn’t a bad thing.

A: I was very excited when Harry asked me to support him. It’s one of those combos like Katy Perry that at first glance doesn’t make a lot of sense to people, but it does. Ultimately, I just want people to come enjoy songs. You can have the flashiest, most expensive production, but if at the end of the day you don’t have good songs then it’s not going to mean anything.

Q: So how’s the new album coming along?

A: I’m so pumped. All I can say is it’s the most excited I’ve ever been about music that I’ve made.

 

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Woodkid, ‘The Golden Age’

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Aidin Vaziri | Yoann Lemoine is a French music-video director who has produced big-budget, high-drama clips for Katy Perry (“Teenage Dream”), Taylor Swift (“Back to December”) and Drake (“Take Care”). He takes a similarly grandiose approach with his musical alter ego, Woodkid. On his first full-length album, the 30-year-old Lemoine (who performs Thursday at the Regency Ballroom) presents a quixotic mix of folksy vocals and militaristic hip-hop beats with masterly orchestral flourishes, finding the rarely explored middle ground between Kanye West and Hans Zimmer. It can be brilliantly heart-quickening in moments (“The Great Escape”) and oppressively opulent in others (“Shadows”), but – like his visual work – it’s never less than fascinating.

Pop Quiz: Bat For Lashes

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Aidin Vaziri | Bat for Lashes appears naked with a man draped over her shoulders on the cover of her latest album, “The Haunted Man.” It seems fitting. The British indie artist, whose real name is Natasha Khan, had such a tough time making her third studio recording she briefly considered giving up music altogether before coming back full force. She performs Sunday at the Regency Ballroom. We spoke to Khan, 33, during tour rehearsal.

Q: Do you envy someone like Katy Perry, who can go onstage and do jumping jacks and make everyone happy?

A: It’s definitely a deeper thing than just going out and doing songs. But each night is different, depending on the chemical reaction between you and the audience. Sometimes when I play “Laura,” you can hear a pin drop and people are crying. Even at massive festivals. It’s quite eerie. There are quite a few songs where I’m doing more movement and dancing and stage performance.

Q: That’s funny because with the first two albums you hid completely behind masks and feather headdresses, and on this one you literally present yourself in the nude.

A: Yeah, it is ironic. Before I used makeup and adornments to make myself bigger and brighter. It felt like me stepping into the magic version of myself. Now I feel like I’m much more confident and able to just be the performer without hiding.

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