About Mickey Guyton
Even with a graceful yet powerful singing voice, Mickey Guyton has spent years feeling marginalized as often the only Black woman in the room. Born Candace Mycale Guyton in Arlington, Texas, in 1983, she wanted to sing country music ever since, as a kid, she heard LeAnn Rimes croon. But there weren’t many women on the country charts on most given weeks—and still fewer Black singers. Guyton first tried to break through with two EPs, the acoustic Unbreakable and the artist’s self-titled 2015 mini-album, which played it safe with a boilerplate country-pop songwriting style, forsaking Americana edge for personal yet universal details that slowly pulled listeners together. Then came years of touring and neverending hopes. But, in the midst of 2020’s political turmoil, she wrote an exceptionally powerful song. “Black Like Me” was motivated in part by the killing of George Floyd and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. She put it on her Instagram page and thought, with lyrics like, “If you think we live in the land of the free/You should try to be black like me,” this could be the end of her career. Instead, it led to sudden stardom, a Grammy nomination, and a powerful EP, Bridges, with topical songwriting like the title cut (about the need for reaching out to strangers) and the searing “What Are You Gonna Tell Her?”, about the pains experienced by women of color. Speaking of country music’s historic lack of diversity, she told Apple Music, “It’s not enough for just one of us to get through. It has to be a collective effort.” Guyton is certainly doing her part to bring more inclusivity to the genre.