Black History Month

Mickey Guyton Is Breaking Barriers For Black Women In The Country Music Industry

"I feel like I’m every woman."

Mickey Guyton's star is on the rise, and she's bringing some much-needed diversity to the country music world. The singer, 33, listened to artists such as Dolly Parton when she was growing up in Texas, but she tells People magazine that people are often surprised to see a Black woman singing country.

"I have people saying things all the time, like, 'Oh my God, you sing country? That's not you.' But it is me," she said. "Why can't it be me? Why is it not normal? My family is so country!"

Still, Guyton admits that the country music world is not as diverse as it should be. And while Black men such as Charley Pride and Darius Rucker have made names for themselves in the genre, The Guardian points out that it's been more difficult for Black women to find success, particularly in recent decades. 

Linda Martell became the first African-American woman to play the Grande Ole Opry in 1969, and Tina Turner and Beyoncé have since had country turns. Now, with two EPs under her belt, Guyton is proving, to borrow her own words, that "music doesn't see color."

"It is really hard for women [to get played on country radio], period," Guyton told People. "Do I face extra obstacles? Absolutely."

Guyton gained popularity with her single "Better Than You Left Me," which, according to CBS, had the highest radio debut in country music history, playing on 79 stations in its first week. In 2015, she received a standing ovation during her Grande Ole Opry debut and went on tour with Brad Paisley. Guyton recently released "Heartbreak Song," off her forthcoming debut studio album.

Guyton dreams of winning a Grammy and collaborating with Dolly Parton, whom she met for the first time last spring when Parton surprised her during a TV interview. "I'm just happy I've been an inspiration of some sort to you. That means so much to me," Parton told her at the time. 

Now it's Guyton's turn to be an inspiration, as she continues to break barriers in the industry.

"I get a lot of messages on Facebook and Twitter from women about how I am opening doors for them," she told People. "And that's what pushes me, reading messages like that. I feel like I'm every woman."

We can't wait to hear more from her.

(H/T: People)

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