Producers Ian Fitchuk, Daniel Tashian Reflect on Creating ‘Golden Hour’ With Kacey Musgraves
Kacey Musgraves' Golden Hour brought home Album of the Year at the 2018 CMA Awards. Now it and its songs are nominated for four Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, Best Country Album, Best Country Song ("Space Cowboy") and Best Country Solo Performance ("Butterflies").
This record is a new turn for Musgraves, who chose, along with her record label, UMG Nashville, not to market it to country radio. She knew her audience and knew what she wanted, so she worked with new collaborators for the project, too: pop producers Ian Fitchuk and Daniel Tashian. During the Nashville Grammy Awards nominees party in January, the two told The Boot that they were on opposite sides of the country when they first found out they were nominated.
"I was in a bathtub in New York City," says Fitchuk. Adds, Tashian, "I was in a bed in LA. We were on the phone not too long after that."
Both Fitchuk and Tashian agree that taking a creative, non-traditional route paid off in the long run for Musgraves. Golden Hour turned heads and paved a new road for genre-bending country music, while also appealing to many non-country fans. The two admit that while the Grammys nominations weren't their motivators, it does make them feel validated.
"I think its validation of our process hasn’t really changed that much. I think we’re just music makers who love fooling around with that stuff," Tashian says. "It just is validation that you don’t have to follow a formula."
Continues Fitchuk, "We’ve been making music for a long time. I think it finally feels like it was worth it to kind of stay the course for the last 20 years. I’m really proud of a lot of the music that I’ve made; I know that Daniel is as well. You finally get something where it really demonstrates what you like most about music, and there’s a lot of that in that record for both of us and for Kacey.
"When it all comes together," he adds, "you kind of enjoy that."
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Fitchuk says he's most proud about making Golden Hour because of his kids: "They’re not really genre-based listeners. When they started to listen to Kacey’s record and started to sing the songs around the house, I was like, 'Bingo,'" he recalls. "That’s all that really matters to me, that they have music for their future that they like that I was a part of."
Tashian, meanwhile, is glad he didn't get a day job: "A couple years ago, I was thinking, 'Should I go to Home Depot and get a job application?' I just wanted to be around some funny people and make some money, so I thought, 'I could work at Home Depot,'" Fitchuk says with a laugh. "So it’s a great thrill to not be working for Home Depot and be nominated."
Fitchuk and Tashian say that the most important element of Golden Hour, however, was trust. Musgraves and her label allowed them all room to grow and blossom during the writing process, so when Musgraves brought song titles to writing sessions, the three of them created something extra special.
"I think we always felt like we were given space to run with ideas, even if she had to pull us back sometimes. Her management and her label both allowed us to kind of disappear for chunks of time and not hear anything really until the very end," Fitchuk reflects. "She’s earned that trust because she’s been a really successful artist. Us? I guess we had to earn that trust a little bit. That’s an important ingredient in making art: either trusting yourself or trusting the people that you’re working with who are gonna be alongside you in that process."
The 2019 Grammy Awards will take place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif., on Feb. 10. The televised ceremony will begin at 8PM ET on CBS; the pre-telecast Premiere Ceremony will be available to stream online earlier in the evening.
The Boot will be staying up late covering the most buzzed-about country winners, fashion and moments at the 2019 Grammy Awards. Readers can watch along with us by checking back to TheBoot.com for the latest Grammys headlines, liking The Boot on Facebook and following The Boot on Twitter.
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