Mickey Guyton has been a known force in country music by her powerhouse voice and gracious persona since her 2014 debut. The singer-songwriter knows her way around all the Nashville meccas and haunts, too. She has great reverence for the history of her genre. This morning, June 26, she was looking every bit the sleek LA lady from her California abode. She was up very early four Pacific Coast time to talk with “CBS This Morning” about her deeply personal new song, “Black Like Me.” This is one you want to hear.
Beyond her impeccable talents, Mickey Guyton has newfound freedom and honesty that pulsates through every verse of the heartfelt ballad. She’s also delighted that her new confidence in creating and sharing her own music seems to be hitting all the right chords with her listeners.
Mickey Guyton penned ‘Black Like Me’ a year ago, but this moment is perfect timing
Songwriting is a divine gift, one that no true artist can explain. Just as Mickey Guyton used the heartbreak and loss of one bad relationship to fuel the sense of emancipation and reclaimed life in her 2015 breakout hit “Better Than You Left Me,” deciding that her source of heartbreak could also “be my muse.”
In the case of “Black Like Me,” Mickey had written the song a year ago, and after coping with the pandemic and the murders of Armaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd “in such an unjust way,” as the songstress relates, not to mention the losses coming in rapid succession, she knew it was time to let her heart be heard.
This time, Mickey Guyton didn’t introduce the song with a live radio event, a release party, or any typical kind of promotion. She put the song out on Instagram “for healing purposes,” sensing that others needed the raw truth and perspective that only she conveys. The reaction was instant, and the praise is still flowing.
The new music is still building momentum for Mickey Guyton
“Black Like Me” is beginning its third week since release, and Mickey Guyton is still overwhelmed by the response. Spotify asked for the song within days, and Mickey is still making time to reply to her many messages. “It’s been so beautiful,” she gushes. Her gratitude is only amplified by the many struggles that she and other female artists in country music have in simply getting played on country radio. Across stations, women in country comprise only 10 to 15% of most playlists.
Mickey Guyton confessed that her efforts in going “the Nashville way” got little results, and she knows why. “I was living somebody else’s truth and I wasn’t living my truth,” she asserts. “This is the first real-time that I’ve been honest with my words, my lyrics, and my message,” Guyton reflects as she refers to Harlan Howard’s blunt definition of country music as “three chords and the truth.”
Truth is all anyone hears on “Black Like Me,” as Mickey Guyton takes the journey as a young girl from Arlington, Texas being called “different” on the playground to becoming “proud to be black like me.”
“Daddy worked day and night for an old house and a used car,” the anthem praises. “Just to live that good life shouldn’t be twice as hard.”
The chorus is backed by a simple clap-track and choral voices, and the singer soars from the soul as she sings “I know I’m not the only one who feels like I don’t belong,” before reaching the closing of “if you think we live in the land of the free, you should try to be black like me” before the transition and assuring vow that “I’m proud to be black like me.”
Today is a special day for Mickey Guyton
It’s no wonder that Mickey Guyton has a special place in her heart for “CBS This Morning.” A few years ago, the morning show surprised the ACM nominee for Best New Female Vocalist of the Year with a visit from Dolly Parton, who was her Idol and her inspiration.
Speaking of the inspiration for “Black Like Me,” the song came to Mickey Guyton at a particularly painful juncture. She was hearing beats and “things like Timberland” dropped into every country song, and she felt that she couldn’t compete with something “that wasn’t even country.” At that moment, the ballad came to her– that became so real and “so freeing.”
Gayle King reminded Mickey Guyton that she has been defined as having “the pop sensibility of LeAnn Rimes, the balladry of Patsy Cline, and the pipes of Whitney Houston,” all-in-one. The artist’s only reaction to those accolades was “Wow!” There is another special reason for gifted and resilient Guyton to sing and smile today.
Three years ago today, Mickey Guyton and Grant Savoy were married in an intimate ceremony in Hawaii. Having such happy memories and a new, authentic declaration of her personal truth touching countless hearts has to make today mean even more. Best wishes to Mickey and Grant, and may the joys and the music from her heart keep coming! Hearing more talented ladies of country music all day on the radio would be the best anniversary gift.