As a part of her creative process for writing her upcoming fifth studio album, Kacey Musgraves took a guided psychedelic trip that put her in touch with her childhood self, reuniting the singer with the nine-year-old girl she used to be when she first started performing music.
Now, during an appearance on an episode of the A Slight Change of Plans podcast, Musgraves recounts how that experience affected her music-making process, as well as her perception of herself.
“I had all these childhood memories pop up that I hadn’t remembered,” she says. “They played out in my mind like I was watching a home video, but it was me, and it was actually things that actually happened.”
Some of those recovered memories were more painful than others. “Like, there was a time in my life where…I had a little bit of an eating disorder, for a little bit,” Musgraves recounts. “In my early teens. Now, looking back, it all downloaded, in this moment. It’s like, ‘Oh, yeah, I was wanting to relieve pressure of some kind. Relieve pressure. Find some control. You know?”
At earlier points in her life, Musgraves says, she’d buried or belittled the memories of this time in her life. From the vantage point of the newfound clarity of her trip, she saw the eating disorder for what it was — perhaps for the first time.
“I think I wrote it off, like, ‘No, that wasn’t an eating disorder.’ No. It was,” she continues. “It was a bout with bulimia. And I didn’t talk to anyone about it. I didn’t know how to. ‘Cause I didn’t really know that it was bad. I mean, I just instinctively, for some reason, felt like I needed to do that.”
While Musgraves’ eating disorder is in the past, some of the pressures and fears that were behind it have persisted into her adult life, she explains. Now, learning to understand the reasons behind her actions — including the eating disorder that she suffered from as a teen — helps the singer let go of harmful habits and thought patterns.
“It I guess just showed me that everyone has their way of dealing with pressure, and you wanna control more — I’ve learned a lot about control — you wanna control when you don’t feel safe,” she points out. “And that’s…I mean, I can really relate to that. Whatever is in your outside environment that’s making you feel out of control, it just makes you grab on even harder.
“So knowing what you’re doing, and why you’re doing that, can at least maybe help you stop,” she adds.
During her appearance on the podcast, Musgraves also shared snippets of two new songs off the project, “Camera Roll” and “If I Were an Angel.” Their lyrics — and much of the new album as a whole — were inspired by her divorce from fellow singer-songwriter Ruston Kelly, which she announced in July of 2020. Their two-year marriage and love story famously inspired Musgraves’ Grammy-winning 2018 project, Golden Hour.
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