Kacy Hill's Bug Foreshadowed A Breakup

But don’t call it a heartbreak album.

Kacy Hill jokes that she manifested a breakup when she made her fourth studio album, Bug. She didn’t set out to write a heartbreak record, but the Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter says she found herself singing about feeling unfulfilled in her six-year relationship on its songs — songs that preceded a real-life split. “It's funny looking back now because I'm like, wow, I didn’t know I was feeling all these things,” she tells NYLON. “Now that it's over, yeah, it's sad.”

But you wouldn’t sense that sadness for the most part listening to the album’s delicate, folkish songs, which flutter, buzz, and twinkle from sweeping pedal steel and synths, and — amid the blue — also celebrate her love of making music and her friends. And if you ask Hill about her memories making the record, she’ll largely recall instances of joy: of toiling in her garden, cooking homey meals, and going to vintage stores. “When I think of inspiration for the album, it's things that kept me going,” she says, breaking it down in full, below.


HILL: [My ex and I] moved into a house in March 2022, and there were a few patches of dirt that I was able to make into two little gardens. I think I was depressed for a long time, but honestly, gardening and just watching things grow and sticking my hands in the dirt, it connected me to nature and things that feel like they have real meaning in life.

It sort of changed my perspective on life, quite frankly, and on music, the idea of success, and letting go of the idea of being entitled to a certain level of success. Instead, focus on the joy and the process of doing something, the way you do with a garden. When you stick a seed in the ground, there's a very good chance you will get nothing from it. But when you do get something, it's so beautiful and exciting and you feel really grateful for it, even if it's one tomato or one snap pea and you're like, "Oh my God, I got a tomato." That was really enlightening to me. I was like, “That's how I need to think of any creative endeavor.” It's enjoying whatever I can get from this, while I can get it.


The cover of Kacy Hill’s ‘Bug.’Nettwerk

HILL: My nickname has always been Bug growing up, and still my family calls me Bug. I think with the last three records, I've been trying to get closer and closer to who I am. I feel like the first record [Like A Woman] felt so disconnected from me, like I was in a different world that was not my own.

Like gardening, I've been very inspired by connecting with the outside and with bugs and all of that. I've always been really into bugs. As a kid, I was going in the backyard and digging up dirt to find worms. So [naming the album Bug] just felt full circle. I had the idea of using bugs for the album artwork, which I think tied everything together. So that's my name.

Cooking a meal for people you love

HILL: As I've gone through this breakup, I’ve been even more in touch with the profound female friendships in my life, and I think cooking has always felt like such a beautiful act of love. I love cooking; it fills my soul. A lot of days when I would write lyrics, because lyrics always take me longest, I would make a good meal for myself and for my partner or whoever was over the house at the time. That sort of filled my cup, and created a sense of normalcy and routine and hominess and stability that I craved so much in my adult life.

I think there was [also] this tug of war in myself too, in doing things like that and making a meal for someone that I love, and at the same time feeling these feelings of dissatisfaction where I'm writing lyrics about not feeling totally fulfilled. I think it was in doing all of those things [like cooking dinner], that I started to wake up and be like, "Oh, I'm not getting any of this back." In a way, that created clarity, and probably was the catalyst to writing a lot of these songs, too.

Beaded animal keychains

HILL: Most of [these keychains] are made in Guatemala, and occasionally, you will find them at gas stations, flea markets, or random little gift shops. There is something about them that I cannot resist. They do something to me energetically. They're so soothing to touch, and I've started lightly collecting them. I've got a radish, a frog, a great hummingbird, an octopus, [and] they were sitting on my monitors as I was recording vocals and making a lot of the record, so they were looking at me most of the time. They just have brought joy, and they're sort of a funny little item.

Antique malls

HILL: Antique malls are always a source of joy and inspiration because I always find little trinkets, treasures, and things that I didn't expect. If I'm stuck on lyrics or if I'm stuck on production, I'll always go to a thrift store or an antique mall to wander around and to find old things. It sort of refreshes me or awakens me in a new way and takes me out of the context of what I'm in in that moment.

I got a really good t-shirt in October. It's a very old and yellow and it has blue text and a raccoon on it that says, “Hang on, Cher. Edwin's coming.” It's like someone's high school graduation T-shirt from 1984 and I just like it a lot. I have a tiny little ceramic holder that you can nail onto the wall and it says "Rings and Things," but I've been putting my cat's whiskers in it. Why not? I feel bad throwing them away. When you see a whisker, it's like, “Ooh, this feels like good luck.”

Kacy Hill’s ‘Bug’ is out May 3 via Nettwerk.