Although she had been recording since 2002, she did not get her breakout until she appeared on Josh Abbott Band's 2011 single "Oh, Tonight". After that, she signed with Mercury and released her album Same Trailer Different Park, which has produced three country singles: "Merry Go 'Round", "Blowin' Smoke", and "Follow Your Arrow". She also co-wrote and sang backing vocals on Miranda Lambert's "Mama's Broken Heart", and has written songs for the Nashville soundtrack. In 2014, she won the Grammy Award for Best Country Song ("Merry Go 'Round") and Best Country Album for Same Trailer Different Park. Her second album, Pageant Material, was released in 2015. Her third album, Golden Hour, was released in 2018 to great critical success. It won her the 2019 Grammy for Best Album (along with three other awards). Making her the first country artist to win the top prize of the night since Taylor Swift won for Fearless in 2010.
In 2019, she contributed a song entitled All Is Found to the Frozen II soundtrack.
She's been married to fellow country artist Ruston Kelly since 2017.
- Same Trailer Different Park (2013)
- Pageant Material (2015)
- A Very Kacey Christmas (2016)
- Golden Hour (2018)
- Album Title Drop: Same Trailer Different Park is name-dropped in the first single "Merry Go 'Round".
- Be Yourself: Multiple:
I'd rather lose for what I am than win for what I ain't.
- The moral of "Follow Your Arrow":Make lots of noise
Kiss lots of boys
Or kiss lots of girls
If that's something you're into
When the straight and narrow
Gets a little too straight
Roll up a joint, or don't
Just follow your arrow
Wherever it points, yeah
Follow your arrow
Wherever it points
- Also, "Pageant Material:"
- The moral of "Follow Your Arrow":
- Bowdlerize: "Follow Your Arrow" censors the line "Roll up a joint, or don't" in the chorus.
- Christmas Songs: Her 2016 album A Very Kacey Christmas.
- Break Up Song:
- "Dandelion" is about her new partner who leave her heartbroken just like her previous one.
- "It Is What It Is" is about a couple who didn't love each other anymore but stay together because they don't have any better options.
- "Space Cowboy" is about a woman who let her boyfriend go because they don't love each other anymore.
- Darker and Edgier:
- Her music, in general, is quite edgy compared to most other country music. See the lyrics for "Follow Your Arrow" for details - MANY people in the notoriously conservative country music community wanted her burned at stake for writing such a blatantly liberal song.
- "Back On The Map" is this compared to most of her songs. The Signature Style mentioned below is replaced by a sad, somber tone as the singer reflects on her regrets and wishes for a better future.
- Deconstruction: "Merry Go 'Round" is a deconstruction of the myriad country songs celebrating small town life. Not only the people in the town experience crushing Small Town Boredom, the lifestyle actively stifles their potential that compel them tokeep looking for distraction from their boredom and can't seem to escape.
- Decon-Recon Switch: "Space Cowboy" is written from the perspective of the girlfriend who let her own lover goes using the imagery the old Western The Drifter cowboys riding off to the sunset. Said imagery is portrayed in a bittersweet manner: On one hand, the relationship between them is over and they likely will never see each other again... but both of them no longer love each other and is moving on with their lives.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Before her debut single, she sang guest vocals on "Oh, Tonight" by Josh Abbott Band.
- Ethical Slut: "Follow Your Arrow", see above.
- Everything Is an Instrument: "Biscuits" appropriately has the drummer playing a biscuit pan.
- Gay Aesop: "Follow Your Arrow", again; see above. (Cowriters Shane McAnally and Brandy Clark are both gay.)
- Going Commando: She admitted that she performed this way at the 2014 Country Music Association awards because they fell off and wouldn't stay on.
- Ironic Nursery Tune: In "Merry Go Round":Jack and Jill went up the hill
Jack burned out on booze and pills
Mary had a little lamb
Mary just don't give a damn no more.
- Last-Second Word Swap: "Follow Your Arrow" is somewhere between this, Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion, and Midword Rhyme:If you save yourself for marriage, you're a bore
If you don't save yourself for marriage you're a hor...rible person
- Misery Builds Character: "Silver Lining" has this as a theme:If you're ever gonna find a silver lining, it's gotta be a cloudy day, it's gotta be a cloudy day.If you wanna fill your bottle up with lightning, you're gonna have to stand in the rain, you're gonna have to stand in the rain.
- New Sound Album: Golden Hour is considerably poppier than the previous albums.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: "Miserable" is one of these, directed at someone who simply refuses to be happy, no matter what happens.
- Re-release the Song: After "Dime Store Cowgirl" failed to crack the airplay charts, it was sent to radio a second time... and failed to chart again.
- The Runner-Up Takes It All: She placed seventh on the fifth season of Nashville Star, but fared much better than that season's winner Angela Hacker, who put out only one album full of demos and was never heard from again.
- Saved for the Sequel: Rainbow was written in 2012 for Same Trailer Different Park but didnt make the cut. It was her grandmothers favorite song that happened to be the last one finished before she passed away. She even sang the song at the funeral so she didnt want to put it on Pageant Material because of its recency. The song finally found its way onto Golden Hour.
- Sibling Team: Her photographer sister, Kelly, shot the cover for Golden Hour and they share the art design credit.
- Signature Style: Her production is usually very light and loose with lots of acoustic guitar, and her lyrics often introspective and deep yet still displaying a fun and playfulness to them, especially when it comes to plays on words.
- Silly Love Songs: "Butterflies," "Love is a Wild Thing," "Velvet Elvis," and "Golden Hour" off Golden Hour, no doubt inspired by Kacey's then-recent marriage.
- Status Quo Is God: "Merry Go 'Round" mixes this with Small Town Boredom, while "Blowin' Smoke" is about a group of waitresses who want to quit their job and go off to bigger and better things, but they're just "blowin' smoke".
- Take That!: "Good Ol' Boys Club" is a take-that against the tight corporate mentality of Nashville, including the line "another gear in a big machine", an obvious jab at Big Machine Records, a large independent country music label.
- Vaporwave: Although the song itself is not an example, the lyric video for "High Horse" uses very vaporwave-inspired graphics.
- Wanderlust Song: "My House" is about life in an RV, traveling from campsite to campsite.