Mickey Guyton delves into the stories behind the songs on her new album 'Remember Her Name'
Mickey Guyton has gone from strength to strength in recent years. The powerful vocalist has found a team of writers to surround herself with and together they are addressing topical issues within their music. It's hard to believe that the GRAMMY nominated singer is releasing just her first full-length album today. We caught up with her to find out more about the creation of the record.
I followed your career for a while now and I know that you surround yourself with some really talented writers. Can you tell me about some of the writers you've worked with on this record?
I call these women like my Canadian Army. I have three women, Emma-Lee, Victoria Banks, and Karen Kosowski that have been absolutely essential and crucial to this album. Victoria Banks was one of the first people that I started working with in Nashville. We stopped writing for a while because I was going through the whole Nashville assembly line of writers. When I finally stopped and wanted to focus on people that have gotten me as an artist, that have always been willing to write with me, Victoria Banks was the first person I thought of. Karen Kosowski, I met her a few years ago, and she was the first person to ever record my voice where it stopped me in my tracks, and I was like, ‘Wow, like she actually really hears me’. Whenever we build and write songs together, she focuses on my voice first, and she is going to blow up as a producer. Nathan Chapman and a guy named Frasier Churchill, who's British is also a part of this.
You've talked to some difficult subject matters on some of your songs recently, but addressed things that needed to be heard by everyone on songs such as, ‘What Are You Gonna Tell Her’ and ‘Black Like Me’. How important is it for you to use your gift as a writer and singer to raise awareness of these issues?
It's extremely important. It wasn't intentional, that I became an advocate writer. It took time, it took pain, it took trial and error to get me to this point. When I wrote songs like ‘Black Like Me’, and ‘What Are You Gonna Tell Her’ it was just therapy for myself, I needed an outlet to get it out and to move forward. I never had the intention of people hearing the songs. It's just what happened then I guess it's my purpose, that I didn't even realise was my purpose. So now it's so important for people to be heard, especially in a time where there's so much pain around the world with this pandemic. And then the oppression of women, which is also a pandemic that is so important for me to sing about.
Can you tell me the story behind ‘Love My Hair’?
So I wrote love my hair after I saw a YouTube video of a little girl with braids being sent home, because the school said her hair was distracting. It just brought me back to my own insecurities with my own hair as a child and me thinking that I didn't have beautiful hair, when in fact I have gorgeous hair just like everybody else. So I wanted to write a song about loving yourself, you’re allowed to love exactly who you are.
If there's one song on this record that the world needs to hear, which one are you telling people to listen to?
I would say ‘Lay It On Me’ is one that I just think is so great. I wrote that song about my husband because he was really sick. For a year, I had to watch him go through all of these tests, like even a bone marrow biopsy to try to figure out what was going on with him and to watch someone that you love so much that is your superhero, struggle and be in a vulnerable space, that's really hard to watch. I wrote that about him and it's a beautiful love song.
Congratulations on becoming a mum. How have you found juggling a successful music career with motherhood so far?
It takes a village I would literally not be able to do this without the help of my family. I'm still learning and I'm still balancing it but he will always come first. That baby will always be first.
You’ve achieved a lot especially in the last few years, what’s been your proudest moment?
Having my baby was my proudest moment; that has changed everything. Being able to perform at the GRAMMYs was also another incredible moment that I'll never forget, hosting the ACM awards… There were so many really cool moments that I got to do that I'll forever be grateful for.
A few silly questions for you now, if you were to describe your personality as a flavour of potato chip, what flavour would you be?
I'm a salt and pepper kettle, because I'm a little salty, I'm a little peppery. I'm kind of a mix of all of it.
If they would make a movie about your life, who would you cast to play yourself and what would be the opening theme tune?
That is a good question. I don't know who would play me to be honest but the opening scene would probably be ‘Red Dirt Girl’ by Emmylou Harris.
What’s next for you?
I would love to go on my own tour, I want to start a record label and I want to continuously fight for equality and for marginalised artists in country music.