How Mickey Guyton Overcame Hardship to Make Country Music History

How Mickey Guyton Overcame Hardship to Make Country Music History
Mickey Guyton (Credit: Super Bowl Soulful Celebration/FrontPage Company)

the singer Mickey Guyton She has been making a name for herself in the music industry for decades. The Texas native sang the national anthem at Super Bowl LVI, made history as the first Black country singer to be nominated for Best Country Solo Performance at the 2021 Grammy Awards, released the poignant social justice anthem “Black Like Me” in 2020, and took on a racist country. The music fans, who sent her into early labor during her 2021 pregnancy.

Now, Guyton takes center stage as the headliner for the final installment of “CMT on Tour.” Starting in September, the four-time Grammy Award-nominated artist will bring her immense talent to major cities across North America, making her one of the first Black women to headline a country music tour.

The journey to a 22-city tour was not easy. In December 2011, Guyton moved from Arlington, Texas to Nashville after finally landing a record deal. The singer told Black Love co-founder and friend Cody Eileen Oliver on “My New Best Friend” Podcast. She arrived “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed” to town, eager to learn more about Nashville and get started on her career. Guyton quickly became keenly aware of the challenges that had plagued black country artists for generations.

“It was difficult trying to find my footing in an industry that was mostly white male-dominated,” Guyton says. In an interview on Grammy.com. “I had to get really comfortable with who I am, and find my own voice and way in an industry that seems to have a set path you have to follow to make it happen.”

Four years later, she almost gave up on her dreams. Guyton, following the long-awaited release of her debut single “Better Than You Left Me” — a song she wrote in 2012 — thought this was her time. However, when her emotional anthem was aired on country radio, she hit an all-time low. She shared on the podcast that at 33 she was “broke,” had significant debt and was financially dependent on her husband, Grant Savoy.

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“I didn’t have a backup plan; “Music was everything,” she told Oliver on the podcast. “I had no plan.”

At that moment, she felt like giving up on her dreams of Nashville and moving back to Los Angeles with her husband. However, Savoy encouraged her to continue. A decade after signing with her record label in 2011, Guyton released her debut album, Remember Her Name.

“I haven’t been seen in so long, and now I feel seen,” she said on the “BFF” podcast as she reflected on her journey and the album. “I finally had the opportunity to write music that mattered to me.”

The 16-track album cemented Guyton’s stardom in country pop music, showcasing her full talent to the world. The selections on Guyton’s debut deviated from the genre’s strict framework for women in country music. For years, Guyton struggled to adhere to the unwritten guidelines placed on her art. The industry wanted her to write about love, without a lot of heartbreak. She could not write about anything political or about drinking, because it was inappropriate for a woman.

“There’s a small window into what they want women to sing,” Guyton explained. “I was very miserable because it is not normal for me to keep my mouth shut and not have an opinion.”

After her debut album, Guyton’s career continued to flourish. Since the album’s release, she has been named TIME Magazine’s 2022 Breakthrough Artist of the Year, toured with country music star Shania Twain, and more. The sky is the limit for Guyton, as she prepares to embark on the upcoming tour in cities like Atlanta, New York, Washington, D.C., and Chicago.

While she admits that it was her voice, songs, and message that gave her success, she attributes a large part of her standing in life to her innate ability to open doors for other Black people, especially Black women. Whether it’s a quick phone call or guidance

“I think watching other black women in country music get their opportunity because of me [feels] “As I did,” Guyton tells Black Love. “My career wouldn’t be where it is if I didn’t lift [other Black artists]”.

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