Mickey Guyton tells the story behind her new single Sister!
Mickey Guyton is winning audiences across America with her power house vocals and heartfelt songwriting. I was excited to meet her when I went to Nashville for CMA Fest and was really keen to chat to her about her influences growing up and the new music she has coming out! This was one of my favourite interviews, Mickey was so enthusiastic. There are currently no plans for Mickey to tour here in the UK but she says it would be a bucket list moment.
I’ve done a lot of interviews this week but this is by far the one I’ve been looking forward to the most!
Oh my God that makes me feel so special! Thank you for taking an interest in my music all the way over there.
No worries! So first of all can you tell me about the first moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?
I was about 8 or 9 years old, I grew up singing in the church, my Dad was the one who discovered I could sing. It wasn’t until I went to a Texas Rangers Baseball game and I heard LeAnn Rimes sing the national anthem for the first time, she was about 10 or 11 years old and it was before her big hit Blue came out and I was just mesmerised and from that day I knew music was what I was supposed to do.
Growing up what did your parents play to you and what are you choosing to listen to now?
Well my Dad was a Deacon and my Mum was a Deaconess so I grew up listening to a lot of Gospel music so that’s where I started, it was Gospel music and Whitney Houston. It wasn’t until I’d visit my Grandma and she listened to Dolly Parton, so she had all these VHS tapes of Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton and I’d watch them. Any woman who was a great vocalist, Faith Hill or Shania Twain, Reba McEntire and Trisha Yearwood, they all tickled my fancy. Now my musical taste is all over the place, I listen to Adele obviously as she’s just a national treasure. I have been listening to a lot of old school country and old school R&B music too like Chaka Khan. I’ve been inspired by the likes of Carly Simon, Carol King, Aretha Franklin, I’ve gathered a lot of inspiration from them.
You mentioned Gospel music there and we see a lot of Country artists take a break from the genre to focus on a gospel record, do you think that’s something you can see yourself doing in the future?
Well let me tell you my Mum would sure love that! So yeah I can see myself doing that, I have so many ideas and I would love to do a Gospel record, I would love to do a record paying homage to Old School Country at some stage, I love soulful music as well.
So when it comes to your own songwriting, where do you draw inspiration from, is it mainly personal experience?
It absolutely is personal experience. For a long time I was trying to write what I thought everyone else wanted to hear from me. The funny thing is I started going to Therapy just because I was going through it and needed to address some things in my personal life and once I did that, I went back to the drawing board and I had released so much of what I’d gone through and what I was dealing with and it enabled me to live my truth and that’s the only way I know how to write, by living my truth. When you listen to my lyrics it’s basically something I’ve said to somebody at some point it’s really my words, my truth.
There’s a couple of songs in particular that I’d like to ask you about so let’s start with Why Baby Why, how did that come about?
That is one of the songs I haven’t written, there’s some fantastic songwriters out here, Emily Shackleton, Victoria Banks and Phil Barton and they wrote that song. Victoria grew up loving George Jones and she wanted to do her own take on Why Baby Why and I hadn’t even met these songwriters yet but I heard the song and I just felt like it was something I would have said. Again I love soulful 6/8 ballads that just make you feel something. When I heard that song I just knew I had to record it, it’s the song I wish I’d written.
The second song I wanted to talk to you about is your brand new single Sister, can you tell me the story behind that one please?
Yeah, I wrote that song with Victoria Banks. I probably wrote it about four years ago before the #MeToo movement came about and there was all this controversial talk about Women not getting played on Country Radio and that was a frustration for all of us but I didn’t want to dwell on that I just wanted to find a way to keep pushing forward in the hopes that one day it will change, I’ve just got to keep on writing my truth and write for my audience. So we decided to write a song called Sister and I call all my friends Sister, I call every woman Sister. If I’m out and about at a Grocery Store I might say thanks Sis to the Cashier or whoever because that’s a term you don’t ever feel offended by like Sweetie, don’t call me Sweetie! But if you say thanks Sis it’s more like we’re in it together and that’s what I wanted to write about, the relationship between your friends. It’s one of the most intimate relationships you can have your friends, your sisters are there for you in ways that a man never can be. I can’t watch Real Housewives of Atlanta with my Husband, I couldn’t watch Downtown Abbey with him, he didn’t get it but I can watch it with my Sisters, I can drink Rose’ with my sisters. They are the ones who pick up the phone at 2am when you broke up with your boyfriend or who hold your hair back when you’ve had a little too much in the club, they’re true things that have happened to us and I wanted to write about it and I’m super passionate about it!
Who are your favourite collaborators?
Out in Nashville there are so many writers, you can’t keep count of them but I’ve been drawn to write with Women because who better to tell a woman’s story than a woman? So I’ve been writing with Victoria Banks who is a wonderful woman, a lady named Karen Kosowski she’s Canadian too like Victoria, she’s incredible and I don’t know if you’ve heard the song yet but I wrote a song for The Breakthrough called Hold on it’s a beautiful spiritual song and Karen produced it. There’s a lot of upcoming writers people don’t necessarily know yet like Johnny Simmons and Forest Whitehead who is producing my record, he’s worked on Kelsea Ballerini’s last few records. It’s just finding the people who have been working with you from the very beginning and I’ve kept with them.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever written a song about?
That’s a good one! It’s not too strange but I wrote a song called If My Jeans Could Talk and it’s basically saying if they could talk they’d be telling a lot things about me that people don’t necessarily know because they’re with me all the time, and I don’t necessarily want people to know either haha.
Will it make the next record?
I hope so! Haha.
When you’re on stage are you completely focused or do you let your mind wander?
I am focused but I do try to let myself be in the moment because that’s what being on stage is about, it’s about feeling the music because music is a healer. So I lose myself, if I start Crying I’m truly in the moment, it sucks, I hate doing it because I’m an ugly crier haha but yeah I cry when I completely get lost in a performance.
When we met in Nashville you met Ellie the Elephant, do you have any mascots that travel with you?
Yeah I take my dog Charlie, he’s my road dog, he’s a tiny little rag-a-muffin of a dog and he goes everywhere. He knows the drill, I have a little bag for him and I’ll say get in your bag Charlie and he’ll jump in and go with me. It gets lonely on the road and he’s my the one per… I almost called him a person but it’s like he is haha but he’s the one constant that makes me feel good and calm, but if he’s freaking out, I’m freaking out!
Finally what’s next for you?
Well I’m shooting a music video for Sister which I’m super excited about, I posted a little picture of the set and it’s a piece of art. There’s going to be beautiful, strong, goddesses of women. I have new music that is absolutely coming out and we’ll see where it goes from there, this is the most excited I’ve ever been!