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.
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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.
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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