Kacey Musgraves has had a whirlwind of a year since walking away with four Grammy wins in 2019 — including Album Of The Year for Golden Hour. The country star toured the world, graced multiple covers, and hosted her own star-studded Christmas special. And all that momentum is what makes her newest project — a candle collaboration with Boy Smells — a welcome change of pace for the busy star.
"While being off the road this year, I'm learning to take a breath and stimulate other creative aspects of my brain, other than touring and running myself ragged," she tells Refinery29. "I'm getting to work on fun projects like this and take a minute to just sit the fuck down and light a candle."
Musgraves worked with Boy Smells to transform her song "Slow Burn" into, fittingly, a limited-edition candle. "I was organically a big fan of the brand," Musgraves tells me in a dimly-lit venue in downtown New York City. "I discovered their candles at a little shop in Nashville that was around the corner from my house and all the elements of their candles were really unique to me," she says, saying she initially fell in love with the brand's KUSH candle. So, Musgraves did what any international country-pop star would do, and casually slid into the brand's Instagram DMs.
It was an easy 'yes' for brand co-founder Matthew Herman, a fellow Texan who has been following her musical career for years. "[Kacey] is trailblazing her authentic version of what it means to be an artist, and we feel like we're doing that in our industry, so we feel lucky to be partnering with somebody that we feel aligned with," says Herman.
As for the scent, Musgraves wanted to bring her song "Slow Burn" to life by recreating the exact place where she wrote the lyrics: on her porch in Nashville with a fire burning nearby and a strong drink in her hand. "When you smell this candle, you're smelling where I was when I was writing the song," she shares. "That was a couple of summers ago, but I remember exactly how it felt, what the temperature was like outside, and what the air smelled like. We brought that to life."
Practically speaking, that meant blending together notes of black pepper, guaiac wood, raspberry, and smoked papyrus — a blend that makes for a bright, yet smokey, incense-like scent. The packaging is also reminiscent of that evening, resembling a fading sunset sky with frosted ombré glass.
Musgraves couldn't be prouder of her creation, which represents much more than a product collaboration to the star. "There's nothing more cringe-y than seeing a brand or an artist do something that's just an obvious money grab," she tells me. "This couldn't be further from that. It started out of genuine excitement to really create something and bring a song to life in a different, dimensional sense."
Ultimately, the award-winning artist hopes that this candle inspires others to take a moment for themselves — something she's also trying to do with a renewed focus on self care. "If sitting down and lighting a little candle for yourself brings you happiness, that's fucking awesome," she says.
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