Quantcast
GRAMMY PREVIEW: MICKEY GUYTON

A TALE TO "TELL"

By Holly Gleason

Mickey Guyton didn’t intend to be country music’s conscience. But after a decade spent waiting her turn, wanting to cut songs that felt true to her experience as a woman, a Black person and a girl raised on a dirt road in Texas, she decided to speak her truth and own her experiences.

“What Are You Gonna Tell Her?,” which decried sexism, sexual battery and the glass ceiling, earned the only standing ovation—other than Keith Urban’s performance—at this year’s Universal Nashville acoustic show at the Ryman Auditorium in front of the notoriously jaded Country Radio Seminar attendees. “Black Like Me” delivered a big reality check to an almost completely white genre in a way that earned massive national exposure and, more importantly, captured actual life.

By writing her own songs, Guyton didn’t just become the voice of so many unseen people of color; she also showed the world a dynamic vocalist using her voice to offer insight, bring communities together and heal divisions through clarity and understanding.


What do the Grammy Awards mean to you?
I’ve been obsessed with the Grammys since they were at Radio City Music Hall. For me, it was and still is the most prestigious award in music. It’s been a dream of mine to win one since I was a little girl watching Whitney Houston sing Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You.” I used to practice my award speech in my room in front of my stuffed animals lined up on my canopy bed.

Is there something about “Black Like Me” and “What Are You Gonna Tell Her?” that—to you—finds greater meaning in terms of the Grammys?
“Black Like Me” and “What Are You Gonna Tell Her?” are about the marginalization of oppressed groups. They are songs hoping to inspire change in our country and in the world. For them to be considered for a Grammy would mean people hear me and hear what we’re all trying to do, which is to make the world better than when we found it.

As a female country artist speaking hard truths, are you emboldened by the examples of so many of the bold women of country music who spoke their minds and their politics?
I am absolutely emboldened by the examples of Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Mary Chapin Carpenter and The Chicks. Whether you like them or not, they stood and still stand for something. So often, I found myself scared to speak my mind and speak my truth. And it was women like Dolly and The Chicks who gave me the strength to use my voice.

As a songwriter, you came into your own as an artist when you started writing. What would a Country Song of the Year nomination mean to you?
It would mean the world to me. I, however, could not accept it without the amazing women that helped me write these songs. I would not be standing here if it weren’t for these women pouring their hearts out with me.

HITS LIST: SIGNS OF A
WHOLE NEW DEAL
The sounds of a brighter day to come? (1/15a)
RAINMAKERS:
STEVE COOPER
Turnaround specialist becomes a music man. (1/15a)
BIG CHANGES AT RCA: EDGE UPS PITTS TO PREZ, FLECK TO COO; RICCITELLI TO EXIT
Recalibrating for changing tastes. (1/15a)
DANGEROUS TIMES: A CONVERSATION WITH MORGAN WALLEN
As his song says, "Livin' the Dream." (1/14a)
ACADEMY AND DUGAN
DUE TO SETTLE?
A messy divorce nears its resolution. (1/15a)
RAINMAKERS
Bring your umbrella.
GRAMMYS: WHERE TO FROM HERE?
After the snubs, the show.
HOW TO FIND 11,780 VOTES
It's the way all the biggest mob bosses did it.
MOVING THE NEEDLE
When vaccination schedules and touring schedules meet.
 Email

 First Name

 Last Name

 Company

 Country
CAPTCHA code
Captcha: (type the characters above)