Interview: Yes, Mickey Guyton Is Having a Very Good Year
Mickey Guyton has been at the center of conversations about race and gender inequity in country music, and it's not just because she's Black or because she's a woman. The "What Are You Gonna Tell Her?" singer is leaning in in a way so few artists signed to major labels have had the courage to do.
The newly-released Bridges EP comes during what would seem to be a rollercoaster year for Guyton, a 37-year-old from Texas who was first inspired to chase a country music dream when she saw LeAnn Rimes perform the National Anthem before a Texas Rangers baseball game. Fans and the industry have watched her release powerful, purposefully uncomfortable songs that challenged her contemporaries and anyone who paid close attention to each verse and chorus. "Black Like Me" and "Bridges" are recommended listening for the woke crowd.
Neither performed at — or were promoted to — country radio. The somber single "Heaven Down Here" is very new and it too carries a burden, albeit one with a solution in the way of faith. Love thy neighbor isn't a one-and-done issue for Guyton, who amid an often-heated conversation about two topics long swept under Music Row's rug, learned she was pregnant. If you follow her on Twitter you shared that moment of joy with her, but you've also shared her pain and anger when ignorance came calling, as has happened often in 2020. Heightened attention to those obfuscated the truth.
"They don't see that all I want is love and acceptance, that's it," she tells Taste of Country. Watch the full interview above and see for yourself that to follow @MickeyGuyton is not to know Mickey Guyton.
Has this been a good year for Mickey Guyton?
Really, honestly it has. It's crazy. I've never been on this side of blessings before. Like it's just been like — I don't like to get preachy with people, but like when God has a plan he really has a plan. When you don't think he's listening, he is. When you don't think he has a plan, he does. And then whenever his plan unfolds it's so overwhelming to see it and I'm so grateful I didn't quit.
Were you close to giving up on music?
Oh yeah, uh-huh. Absolutely. Multiple times.
What were you going to do?
Don't know (laughs). But it wasn't going to be music. I was just, you know — it's so hard. It's such a personal industry. Even though it's impersonal, your music is so personal to you. Just having to do this and hoping that people like you, it's hard. You feel like it's the first day of school and you don't know anybody. You just want people to like you. It can be hard on your mental morale, to be honest — but I had to put that to the side and go to therapy and learn to accept myself and quit drinking, that helped a lot.
Three of the songs on the Bridges EP are very much social statements as much as they are songs. Have your goals for the music you release shifted over the last few years?
Honestly I had no plans of writing social songs. That was not even a thought. I just — they were kind of like therapy songs for me, and what I was inspired by. I didn't write these songs with any intention other than getting something off my chest and not being able to not feel like I couldn't speak about it ... and then people started responding to it so well. So I was like 'How do I bridge these two together?' They're such polarizing statements. "Black Like Me" and "What Are You Gonna Tell Her?" are two polarizing statements that make you think. So I wrote this song called "Bridges" that kind of bridges everything together. We have so many issues within this country that are so unnecessary. Our political opinions don't matter. Humanity matters. Love matters. And that's really what it's really all about.
This is how it all came about. I was just writing what I saw.