Arist: Kacey Musgraves
Home Base: Nashville, Tennessee
Country music has always had a soft spot for rebels, but it's never met one quite like Kacey Musgraves. After appearing on Nashville Star in 2007, and cowriting songs for Miranda Lambert and ABC's Nashville, Kacey's fourth record, Same Trailer Different Park, finally nudged her into the spotlight last year. Her music easily found fans among the country faithful, but the Texas native's pop-rock production style—plus her knife-sharp wit, which takes aim at social conventions skirted by mainstream country—has helped win her fans among crowds less inclined toward twang. "If you save yourself for marriage, you're a bore/If you don't save yourself for marriage, you're a horr...ible person," she sarcastically drawls on "Follow Your Arrow." She may have raised some traditionalists' eyebrows, but she's got a hit record, chart-topping singles, a globe-trotting tour, and as many 2013 CMA nominations as Taylor Swift to show for it. Though the past year has done a number on her bucket list, there's at least one item left: a headlining gig at the Ryman Auditorium. She may be a rebel, but she hasn't forgotten her roots. "It's ridiculous to think that you're on the same stage as Johnny Cash and George Jones and Kitty Wells," Kacey says. "It is kind of a hallowed place."
Musical Hero: John Prine
Her New Fave: Brandy Clark