Kacey Musgraves has thanked Dolly Parton for being a "great teacher" and helping her write honest music.

The 30-year-old country singer was honoured at Variety’s Power of Women event in New York on Friday (05Apr19) for her efforts in pushing for more music education for young people across the U.S., and credited her fellow musicians who have inspired her to be truthful in her career.

Recalling a guitar teacher who she studied with, she went on to name the other "great teachers" in her life.

"Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton. OK, they got the big hair and they’re frilly and they’re rhinestone and they’re glamorous, but they’re important for more than that. They’re writers and they wrote about real things – birth control, women’s libido, husbands that drink," the Grammy winner explained.

"And even if the subject matter was thought to be controversial and banned by radio, they had the courage to stay true to these visions in the face of disapproval, especially at that time. It must have required some gigantic balls," Kacey added.

The Slow Burn hitmaker also revealed it was an uphill struggle to get her debut single released, as the male record execs pushed her to work on something "that everyone's gonna like".

"So I really fought for my first single, which was Merry Go Round, saying, ‘I’m willing to go down in flames for this song, which you’re saying is not going to work. I just wouldn’t feel proud of myself if I altered this to try and sell more'," Kacey shared.

Appalled by the attitude of one of the men who told her she had to "do things she wasn't proud of" to succeed, the country star ignored his advice and put the song out anyway.

“It’s still my highest charting single, and it ended up winning a Grammy for (country) song of the year. Little gold stars just reinforcing what I instinctively felt, that a woman’s perspective is important – but it’s even more important to have the courage and the opportunity to share it," she gushed.