Earlier this year, Mickey Guyton made history at the 63rd Grammy Awards by being the first Black solo female artist to earn a nomination in a country music category. A month later, at the 2021 Academy of Country Music Awards, she became the first Black female artist to host a major country music awards show. Most recently, Mickey performed her song “All American” at the 2021 American Music Awards, which also featured performances from Jennifer Lopez, Carrie Underwood, Silk Sonic, and more.
— American Music Awards (@AMAs) November 22, 2021
Mickey’s AMAs performance continues her incredible year. Five years after her debut single (2015’s “Better Than You Left Me”), she dropped Bridges, a six-track EP that Sounds Like Nashville dubbed her “most powerful and moving work to date.” The Grammy-nominated song “Black Like Me” reached No. 29 on the US Adult Contemporary chart and earned her critical praise for how it addressed her experiences as a Black woman navigating life in country music. “This nomination is a testament to never give up and live your truth,” she said, per CMT, after the Grammy nods were announced. “I can’t think of a better song to make history with than ‘Black Like Me,’ and I hope that I can continue to help open doors for other women and people who look like me.” Here’s what you need to know about Mickey:
1. Mickey Is Just A Nickname.
The singer was born Candace Mycale Guyton in Arlington, Texas, on June 17, 1983. She has gone by Mickey for her entire professional career, which is likely a take on her middle name.
2. Mickey Auditioned For American Idol But Wasn’t Selected.
After moving to Los Angeles following high school, she eventually auditioned for season eight of the then-Fox hit singing competition in 2009. She was cut before the series went to the live shows with the final 24 contestants.
3. Mickey Is The First Black Female Country Artist Signed To A Major Record Label.
In 2011 she was signed by Capitol Records Nashville, after wowing Universal Music Group Nashville’s Chairman Mike Dungan by auditioning with a song by country singer Patty Loveless, 64. With her signing, Mickey joined a roster of powerhouse country talent that includes Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Dierks Bentley, Lady A, Jason Aldean, Little Big Town, and Mickey’s good friend Keith Urban.
5. Mickey Found Success Without The Help Of Country Radio.
Mickey’s “Black Like Me” was nominated for Best Country Solo Performance at the 2021 Grammys. It lost to Vince Gill’s “When My Amy Prays.”
Mickey has faced an uphill battle, and country music radio apparently hasn’t helped at all. Her three singles – “What Are You Gonna Tell Her?” “Black Like Me” and “Heaven Down Here” – got a combined 0.01 percent of the annual airplay in 2020, according to NBC News’ Jada Watson. Around 70% of that airplay fell in the evenings and overnight hours. “It was played just enough for programmers to say they tried, but not enough for the song to have a real chance to be heard by country radio audiences,” wrote Watson.
“It’s not like country radio is jumping at the chance to support women,” Mickey told Billboard while discussing “Black Like Me’s creation. “A white friend of mine signed to a major label was told by a radio promo person that country radio will not play Black people. So I realized I’m not going to get on any kind of country station. And I’m certainly not going to do that by falling in line and shutting up and singing. I’ve made peace with that.”
“I may not ever have some massive career, but I’m going to use the influence I have to open those doors for the future generation,” she adds. “And for young Black and Brown girls who have dreams that people will never consider, I’ll consider them. I’ll see them. And I will use the connections that I have to help them.”
5. Mickey Is A Mom.
She and her lawyer husband, Grant Savoy, welcomed a son named Grayson on Feb. 8. In an Instagram post that day, she showed the newborn swaddled in his hospital bassinet with an adorable pink and blue striped knit cap on his head. Mickey wrote in the caption, “The hardest and most beautiful thing I have ever done. Welcome to the world, Grayson!” She added, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. – Psalm 30:5.” She told pal Keith Urban on Mar. 11 that, “Motherhood is the greatest thing I’ve ever done. Nothing else matters.”