Country stars of all stripes cheered on Kacey Musgraves during her trophy-winning sweep at the 2019 Grammy Awards on Sunday evening (Feb. 10). For Kassi Ashton, however, the Golden Hour singer's victory meant more than just celebrating a fellow country artist's success: Ashton feels a kinship with Musgraves' particular style of country music, too.

"Someone asked me a while back if I could think of any current country songs that run along the same lines [as my new single, "Violins,"] and "High Horse" came to mind," Ashton explained to The Boot in an interview following the awards show. "It's just kind of playful, not taking [things] too seriously, and sassy."

The up-and-coming artist goes on to say that she also sees Musgraves as a musical influence in a broader sense: "I have always really loved Kacey for the fact that she does traditionalism, but incorporates art at the same time. You don't find that very much in our genre, in my opinion," Ashton points out.

"You find more reality, which is totally cool and awesome for where it belongs, but in her case, she really creates this whole visual, artistic, awesome thing," Ashton adds. "I've always wanted to do that myself, and it's important to me."

Musgraves' attention to visual detail has long been an important part of her aesthetic, right down to her clothing choices: At the 2018 CMA Awards, she wore a custom-made Versace suit that hearkened back to the Nudie suits of country's roots, but also offered a touch of futuristic glitz, in tribute to the blend of traditionalism and experimentation that she seeks to encapsulate in her music. Similarly, at the Grammys, she wore a dress with a fan-shaped tulle neckline as a nod to her album's cover art.

Ashton is also known for incorporating fashion and hand-chosen visual aesthetics into her work. She often creates the outfits she wears in music videos and on red carpets herself, explaining that the precise visual effects she's looking for often don't exist -- until she creates them.

"So to see that awarded so heavily ... really inspires me and excites me," Ashton admits. "It gives you more faith, you know? You're blazing a trail, and you're cutting stuff back with your machete, but [a thing like Musgraves' Grammys wins] gives you more faith that you're not wandering into a dark hole.

"I'm doing this with a destination that will be worth me hacking at all these trees and weeds," she relates.

The Grammys response to Golden Hour also proves that country music can be successful, even if it doesn't necessarily fall in line with common views on what the genre should be. That's a fact that's gratifying to Ashton, who is signed to both a pop label and a country label, and often puts out genre-defying music herself.

"I thought it was so beautiful how [Musgraves] was like, 'I love country music, and I just want to show the world my version of that,'" Ashton adds.

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