Sep 24, 2021 - Economy & Business

Mickey Guyton has officially arrived

Mickey Guyton sings in a gold dress.

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Mickey Guyton's debut album, "Remember Her Name," is a watershed moment for country music, a genre with precious few commercially successful Black female artists.

Why it matters: Rave reviews and industry buzz signal Guyton is ready to break into a new strata of mainstream success as country music faces an ongoing reckoning.

  • As virtually every aspect of American life was scrutinized for systemic racism, the genre faced withering criticism over its lack of diversity. The controversy over Morgan Wallen using a racial slur intensified the conversation.
  • At the same time, Guyton brought searing songs about racism and sexism to country's biggest stages. Her continued success could open doors for artists and fans who once felt shut out.
  • "Black Like Me," a song Guyton released last year after George Floyd's death and nationwide protests, was a turning point in her career.

The latest: The initial reviews of "Remember Her Name," which Guyton dedicated to Breonna Taylor, are glowing.

Yes, but: Guyton, 38, has Grammy, CMA, and ACM nominations to her name and a series of successful singles. But she has yet to score a country radio hit.

  • Guyton told The New York Times that radio success wasn't her main goal: "I can't write songs that don't mean something."

Context: Guyton is the latest example of an overnight Nashville success who was more than a decade in the making. She first signed with Capitol, a Universal Music Group label, in 2011.

  • In that sense, Guyton's rise parallels Chris Stapleton, another UMG juggernaut who got Music Row buzz but sat on the national shelf before debut album "Traveller" became a smashing success — without initial support from country radio.

🔊 Listen: Guyton's deft "All American" makes a subtle argument for acceptance and diversity over a boot-scootin' beat right at home on a honky-tonk jukebox.

  • "Remember Her Name" is available to stream and purchase today.
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