Country Star Mickey Guyton Recalls Attempting To Conform To Peers When She First Started Her Career: I Ran Away From My Blackness
Mickey Guyton is dishing on her experiences as a Black woman in country music.
Country music star Mickey Guyton, 37, recently opened up about her experiences in the industry. She initially began by reflecting on the hardships she faced, revealing that she wanted to quit her music career as recently as 2019. She stated:
“In 2019, I was ready to stop it all. Really, 100 percent, sometimes on a daily, I was like ‘Why did I choose to do this? Like, this makes no sense.’ I remember crying to my husband, mad at him because he would never let me quit…And he kept saying ‘Because you need to be here. If you’re not out there, then for every Black girl that wants to sing country music, that dream has gone if you’re not there.’ Then I was like ‘Okay, fine.’ And I’m so glad I didn’t stop.”
Mickey Guyton then recalled an eye-opening conversation she had with her husband, Grant Savoy, about her career:
“I just asked him, ‘Why do you think country music isn’t working for me?’ And he said, ‘Because you’re running away from everything that makes you different. Why aren’t you singing country songs from your perspective? Why are you trying to write somebody else’s perspective of country music?’… And I was like, ‘Wow. Why am I not doing that?’ And so I really started writing my honest-to-God’s truth, whether it was going to make someone feel uncomfortable or not. I was just going to write about that, because I felt like it was important. It was kind of cathartic and therapy for me.”
Shortly thereafter, she began composing an array of country songs told form her perspective as a Black woman–such as “Love My Hair” and “Black Like Me.”
It’s worked for her because she recently made history as the first Black female artist to receive a Grammys nomination in the country category, the first Black female artist to take the stage at the Academy of Country Music Awards, and the first Black woman to host the ACM Awards ceremony.
As Mickey Guyton embarks on a new stage of her career, she’s left with memories of trying to conform to the country music industry when she first moved to Nashville in 2011. She recalled:
“I ran away from my Blackness. I ran away from everything that makes me different. Because I was trying so hard to fit into this tiny box that I just did not fit. I just didn’t. And in doing all the events in Nashville and me trying to prove that I’m this girl-next-door, great-time kind of a person, that was a very toxic environment… And what do you do when you cope with things? For me, it was drinking. It was me drinking wine. That was definitely something that helped cope with where I was. And for a long time, I was in a pretty dark space, in that sense.”
She went on to state:
“In order for country music to truly work for Black people, it is not enough for a Black country star to come up every 50 years, or just a couple here and there. There has to be a plethora of extremely talented Black country artists to walk in the door with me. And I realized that with the little platform I have, I started just looking for every Black country artist that I could find and posting about it, because I knew a lot of people in my industry follow me.”
Mickey Guyton‘s debut album, Remember Her Name, will be released this Friday (Sept. 24th).
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