There’s a certain poetic justice about Kacey Musgraves winning Album of the Year at Sunday’s Grammy awards — seven years ago this month, the then unknown artist from Texas made her debut at Country Radio Seminar (CRS) as part of Universal Music Group’s annual luncheon at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. The goal, as with every CRS, was to introduce a new artist to country radio’s gatekeepers.

With her grandparents sitting in the pews, Musgraves made quite the impression, stunning the audience with her song “Merry Go ‘Round.” She made them laugh, cry and talk for weeks about her lyrics that so honestly captured the stifling pull of small-town life. Those in the room that day often remember it as one of those unforgettable, star-making moments — Ally walking onstage to sing “Shallow,” except with a Lone Star twang and an upright bass player.

But “Merry Go ‘Round” never exploded on Billboard‘s Country Airplay chart. Instead, it peaked at Number 10, while songs like Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise,” Dierks Bentley’s “5-1-5-0” and Luke Bryan’s “Drunk on You” topped that particular chart that year. Still, Musgraves kept pushing songs from her 2013 debut album, Same Trailer Different Park, to radio: first, “Blowin’ Smoke” (which peaked at Number 23 on Country Airplay); then “Follow Your Arrow” (Number 43), which some conservative stations blocked for its LGBTQ-inclusive lyricism; and a final single, “Keep It to Yourself,” which died in the Thirties.

On Music Row, that’s considered consecutive failures. But in the critical world, Same Trailer Different Park became a country classic, and won Best Country Album at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards that year. If Musgraves had stopped pushing her material to country radio then and there, no one could blame her. They weren’t playing her songs and, as she eventually spoke to Reese Witherspoon about in the actress’s series Shine on With Reese, it wasn’t a fair playing field. “One thing I’ve experienced as a woman on this path,” Musgraves told Witherspoon, “is I can be meeting the same radio station people or people in the industry as a male artist, but there’s an extra pressure on me to be accommodating or nice.”

Even so, Musgraves soldiered on. To support 2015’s Pageant Material, she returned to CRS to play “Biscuits,” the album’s first single. It barely did better than “Follow Your Arrow,” never charting higher than 41 on Country Airplay. “Dime Store Cowgirl” saw a similar end at 44. But Pageant Material, a pitch-perfect work of stoned Countrypolitan, found itself nominated for a Grammy and a CMA Award. Radio, however, wasn’t biting.

So when it came time to promote Golden Hour, Musgraves was faced with a decision: whether or not to devote more promotional budget and time into pushing radio singles. It’s not that Musgraves and her label offered nothing to the airwaves — “Space Cowboy” and “Butterflies” were delivered for rotation, with the latter peaking at Number 56. But it quickly became clear that radio wasn’t going to play ball, or at least Musgraves’ type of country music. And thus, she moved on.

We all know how the story ended: Musgraves won Album of the Year at the Grammys and Sunday’s ceremonies were seen as a triumph for country and Americana in general, but especially for women in those genres. Brandi Carlile, after winning three awards, blew the world away with her performance of “The Joke” and instantly saw the song and her LP By the Way, I Forgive You among the top entries on iTunes. The mainly women tribute to Dolly Parton, including nominee Maren Morris, was a performance highlight, and Best New Artist nominee Margo Price had her profile boosted. In fact, female artists dominated the broadcast overall, from Best New Artist winner Dua Lipa to the Grammys’ wry host Alicia Keys.