Mickey Guyton’s “Remember Her Name” demands respect, power in a genre reluctant to change

Good country music is always filled with honesty. It’s a simple formula that many of country music’s biggest stars have followed for decades.

Despite this trend, country music rarely sees the honest stories of black women, especially the resilient and strong stories in today’s political climate. This unfortunate fact is what makes a dazzling gem like Texas native Mickey Guyton so special.

Many became aware of Guyton’s presence with his moving performance of “Black Like Me” at this year’s Grammy Awards. A song released amid protests surrounding the murder of George Floyd and the larger Black Lives Matter movement, Guyton detailed her raw, hard-hitting story of growing up as a black woman in America.

The song itself, dedicated to Breonna Taylor, a victim of high-profile police brutality, earned Guyton recognition as the first black woman to be nominated in the country category.

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Due to the frank political positions in his music and career, Guyton pushes the boundaries of what country music wants to accept as mainstream. In a genre too quick to praise Morgan Wallen, Guyton takes on a daring task. After all, we are discussing the kind who not so long ago blacklisted a girl group just for speaking out against the militaristic actions of a Tory president.

There is almost something Kacey Musgraves-Esque about Guyton’s career path. He is someone who has established himself as a character in mass media, loved by television and social media, but almost completely absent from radio stations too hesitant to play women who are too outspoken with their beliefs. Some would say this is due to the records of Musgraves and Guyton experimenting with other genres, but neither is too far removed from the music of Miranda Lambert or Carrie Underwood.

In an interview with the Grammy Awards, Guyton explained what it’s like to be one of the only black women in the country. For years, the singer found herself driving four hours to Atlanta for every Nashville red carpet event because there was no one in Nashville well equipped to style her hair type. This, along with other difficulties, impacted the image others in Nashville painted her with.

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“[Industry people] would always describe me as the “girl next door,” Guyton said. “I’m like, ‘What if the girl next door is Black? Does that make her less of a “girl next door”? “

On “Remember Her Name,” Guyton’s long-awaited debut album released Sept. 24 on Capitol Records Nashville, she demands that her voice be heard, continuing to tackle racial topics in her writing of songs that country music lacks.

The album was preceded by singles such as “What Are You Gonna Tell Her,” a heart-wrenching ballad detailing the world of iniquity little girls are born into, who delve deeper into the uncomfortable conversations about race that are to occur. .

A co-author on every track but a magnificent cover of Beyonce’s “If I Were a Boy”, Guyton establishes himself as an impossible-to-ignore songwriter.

Notable tracks such as “All American” and “Lay It On Me” reflect Guyton’s southern musical origins and roots, shining like beautiful feelings dedicated to love and patriotism. On the latter, she plunges into a vocal arrangement inspired by gospel, proving that all the enemies of her talent are wrong.

The album is also packed with uplifting tracks, such as the ‘Different’ celebration, where Guyton radiated body positivity and confidence. There is something particularly beautiful about her lyrics, “I love my hips, I love my thighs, the way they move and they shake when the beat is right.”

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On “Rosé”, a song reminiscent of Miranda Lambert, she declares her love for a bottle of chilled wine through her equally sweet Texan twang. Songs like this make her a jack of all trades, able to properly balance light and heavy messages.

The amount of content covered in the sixteen-track project almost serves as a reminder of Guyton’s ten-year journey through Nashville to his debut album. Guyton is probably not going anywhere anytime soon, as we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg in what she’s capable of.

If “Remember Her Name” proves one thing, it’s that Guyton is the country rebel the genre needs.

Find out “Remember Your Name” here.

Featured Image from Instagram: @mickeyguyton

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