What You Might Not Know About Mickey Guyton

If you were wondering who is set to sing the national anthem at Super Bowl LVI, allow us to formally introduce you to Candace Mycale Guyton, otherwise known as Mickey Guyton. Guyton is a Texas-native born in Arlington who signed to Capitol Records Nashville, as noted by her website, and she has been making a name for herself ever since her debut album "Unbreakable" was released in 2014. With her powerful vocals and captivating country-pop sound, Guyton has made history in the country music realm with her songs "What Are You Gonna Tell Her?," "Love My Hair" and her Grammy-nominated single "Black Like Me." She's pretty iconic, if you haven't already gathered that!

Aside from her incredible credentials, Guyton is known as a country singer who uses her powerful voice to break barriers, confront racial discrimination, and diversify the sound of country as a Black female artist. Whether you know it or not, Mickey Guyton is the country artist that the industry desperately needed, but what else is there to be known about the "Better Than You Left Me" singer? Here's what you never knew about Mickey Guyton. 

She competed on Season 8 of American Idol

"American Idol" is known for producing several iconic artists, including Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, who have competed on the hit reality competition show and became trailblazers in the music industry. However, things didn't exactly work out as planned for Mickey Guyton when she auditioned for Season 8, the same season that saw Kris Allen win and Adam Lambert become runner-up. 

Guyton tried out in 2006 after her ex-boyfriend urged her to audition, but she didn't make it very far in the competition. Billboard reported that she only made it to the Top 24 contestants, and even though she was still very much part of the season, you wouldn't have even known she was on the show since she'd largely been edited out. Fans were only really able to witness her elimination from the competition. The "Black Like Me" singer revealed to The San Diego Union-Tribune, "It wasn't the best experience for me." 

She made history with her Grammy nomination for 'Black Like Me'

Although Mickey Guyton struggled during the beginning of her career with finding where she belonged in the country realm, in March 2021, she found herself making history ahead of the annual Grammy awards. Guyton became the first Black woman to ever be nominated for the Best Country Solo Performance category for her single "Black Like Me" (via CBS News) and made her official debut at the award ceremony with an empowering performance of the song. According to The Guardian, the only other Black women to receive a country music nomination were the Pointer Sisters back in 1976. 

Although Guyton did not take home a Grammy, her single touched the hearts of millions, as it touches on the racism she faced growing up. Guyton's single is featured on her 2021 album, "Remember Her Name," and was released shortly after the death of George Floyd, according to HuffPost.

Aside from breaking Grammy history, Guyton also became the first Black woman to host the Academy of Country Music Awards in April 2021. This was the first event she'd hosted, and she did so alongside country artist Keith Urban. Guyton told NBC News that her hopes are "to bring positive light and love and acceptance to this job."

She almost gave up on her dreams of becoming a country artist

Before Mickey Guyton's Grammy-nominated song "Black Like Me" became a major success in June 2020, there was a time where she almost gave up on her country artist dreams all together. Guyton appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and opened up about the struggles she was facing at the beginning of her career and how she was running away from herself when making music. "I had been trying to pursue a country career for, at the time, like eight years, and constantly we were told — not only as a Black woman but as a woman — we've been told why we would fail in this industry," Guyton told Ellen DeGeneres. "I was ready to give it up. It wasn't until my husband [Grant Savoy] told me that the reason I wasn't making it in this industry was because I was running away from everything that makes me different, and that changed everything for me." That's when she was able to write her hit song.

Although Guyton has found success, there are still times where she wonders why she's pursued this life for herself and what impact she wants to make as an artist. "That's when I get a message from a Black girl telling me that I've given her courage to want to pursue a career in country music, or someone in the LGBTQIA+ community that are telling me, 'You gave me the strength to live my truth in this genre.'" 

She was inspired by LeAnn Rimes as a kid

When Mickey Guyton was just 8 years old, she was immediately inspired by watching 10-year-old LeAnn Rimes perform in Texas, where she was born and raised. "My church drove to Arlington, Texas, from Waco to see a Texas Rangers baseball game," Guyton told Country Music Television in May 2015. "We were all the way up in the nosebleed section, and the announcer says, 'Please rise as 10-year-old LeAnn Rimes sings the national anthem.'" Although this was before Rimes was a household name, as she hadn't even released her debut record yet, Guyton claimed that she was obsessed with her talent. 

Guyton revealed how Rimes' influence led her to taking music more seriously in her career. She began performing on stages in her hometown for small crowds and started listening to other iconic country stars. "I started doing solos in the church choir or when the school had a talent show," she stated. "I'd bring my boom box, and I'd sing 'I Will Always Love You.' I was just mesmerized by big-voiced women. So from LeAnn, I started listening to Dolly Parton and Patsy Cline and Patty Loveless and Reba McEntire and Faith Hill and Martina McBride." Since then, she has become one of the biggest new female voices in country music. 

She had a baby during the pandemic

The country singer is officially a mom! Mickey Guyton welcomed her first baby boy, Grayson, with her husband Grant Savoy in February 2021. She made the big announcement through a post on Instagram, writing in the caption, "The hardest and most beautiful thing I have ever done. Welcome to the world Grayson!" 

Guyton announced that she was first pregnant back in August 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic by sharing ultrasound photos in a post on Instagram. "Even in times of darkness, like the ones we as a society find ourselves in today, God always finds a way to shine His light on the beautiful side of life, like the miracle of life itself," the caption read. While she admitted to being nervous, she shared also shared how grateful she was to be experiencing motherhood.

As for her relationship, Guyton and Clark were together for seven years and engaged for four before they eventually tied the knot in June 2017 with a private ceremony at the Kauai Marriott Resort in Kauai, Hawaii, according to People.

She struggled to find her place in the country music scene

As much of a major star Mickey Guyton has become over the years, her start in the industry was anything but easy. In October 2021, Guyton spoke with Miley Cyrus on Rolling Stone for a "Musicians on Musicians" feature and revealed that for some time, she felt "insane" as she tried to find her space in creating country music. "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over again expecting different results. And I was insane for a long freaking time, because there's this box that women in country music are supposed to fit in, but then add on a Black woman in that box and that box is even smaller," she said. She revealed that she felt she only had a small space to explore her artistry and it was limiting. 

"I was wearing my hair and trying to dress and act like these women in country music, and it was so toxic for me," she said.

While struggling with this, she eventually realized — after a conversation with her husband, Grant Savoy — she just needed to be herself. "It was a gut punch," she shared. Guyton later released her debut album "Remember Her Name" as an ode to eliminating the pressure she put on herself for many years.

Her goal is to shed light on racism and sexism in the industry

Mickey Guyton has made it her mission to open doors for other artists in country music, a space widely known for its long history of racism and discrimination. Guyton spoke with singer and activist Becky G on the Facebook Watch series "Face to Face With Becky G" and dove into many different topics, including her experiences with racism and sexism that she has experienced as a Black female country artist. "We're used to being unseen. We're used to the micro aggressions, we're used to the constant battles of trying to just be who you are," Guyton said. "And finally, the veil has been lifted, and we're like, 'Oh my god, how did we survive for so long?' And that's the point, we were just surviving. But now we're thriving."

She continues to shed light on discriminatory comments she's received, especially online. On Instagram, Guyton called out one Twitter user in January 2022 who made racist remarks towards her and her music and who said to "get the F out of our country music!" In the caption, Guyton wrote, "Started off 2022 with a good ole batch of racism. I show you this so you guys continue the fight for equality and love and acceptance." Many country artists soon stepped in and supported the singer, including Jimmie Allen, Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild, and Florida Georgia Line's Tyler Hubbard, according to Billboard. "If only this person was educated on the history of country music," Hubbard noted.