February 10, 2019, is likely a date that Kacey Musgraves will never forget. The singer-songwriter swept all three of the country categories in which she was nominated including, Best Country Solo Performance for “Butterflies,” Best Country Song for “Space Cowboy,” a song she co-wrote with Luke Laird and Shane McAnally, and Best Country Album for Golden Hour. She is also the only country artists in the running for one of the night’s biggest awards, Album of the Year.
But, it is perhaps her solo performance during the live Grammy Awards show that people will remember most. In a stark contrast to the rest of the night’s performances, Kacey stood alone onstage, backed only by a piano, for a flawless, simple rendition of “Rainbow,” a letter of sorts that she wrote to herself years ago.
It was also the final song Musgraves’ grandmother heard her write. She loved it so much that Musgraves sang it at her funeral. It has since become a message of hope for anyone struggling through life.
“For a long time, that was a really hard one to hear, but I thought that it fit really nicely on the record,” Musgraves told Taste of Country. “It turned into a song as a little message to myself, and then ended up being a song for anybody with any kind of weight on their shoulders.”
It was important to Kacey that the song tell it’s own story. So, instead of a full studio musician sound, she opted to let the lyrics and her voice tell their own story.
“Every night in the studio, we would end the session with turning all the lights off and just sitting by the piano and recording a live version of ‘Rainbow,’” she explained. “It’s very vulnerable as a singer to commit to showing a live track because there’s no fixing it. Everyone sees what your capabilities are right then and there.”
The result was a masterpiece and has become one of the most beloved tracks on Kacey’s Golden Hour album. Listen to Kacey Musgraves sing “Rainbow” live at the 2019 Grammy Awards in the video below.