âOverdueâ is an understatement when it comes to Mickey Guyton’s debut album.
It’s called “Remember Her Name” and was released on Friday, a decade after the country singer signed her recording contract in Nashville. This is the result of Guyton writing his most personal and outspoken work to date, as heard in âBlack Like Me,â which won a Grammy nomination last year.
Ahead of the album’s release, we spoke to Guyton about his journey – which you can read in our new Hallowed Sound, Vol. 2 section – and focused on five crucial songs.
“Remember his name”
The album’s title track is partially inspired by the “Say Her Name” movement, which surged during the 2020 protests for Breonna Taylor.
âI wrote it with her in mind, but it also became my story of perseverance,â Guyton said.
âWhen we are younger the world is our oyster and we are so excited about all the possibilities. And then life gets in our way, and can often take away all that has made you who you are and what you are. trust yourself. What I was trying to say, “Remember that girl who was so strong, who took the conflict like it was nothing wrong, and leaned into it. So when you feel like you are you’re lost, it’s not. She’s always been there. “
Making his stage debut at the âCMA Summer Jamâ concert in Nashville last July, âAll Americanâ finds Guyton telling a diverse nation that we have âthe same stars, same stripes … not all of us- American? “
âI want to remind people that what makes America great are the differences,â she said. âSo just like you have James Dean, we also love James Brownâ¦ that was something that was really important to me, to let people know that I always see you. I’m not a righteous person who doesn’t. not everyone sees it. “
“Black like me”
“If you think we live in the land of the free / You should try to be black like me,” Guyton sings on his Grammy-nominated song.
She wrote it in 2019 and shared a snippet of the demo on social media in May 2020, as protests for George Floyd and others escalated across the country. Due to overwhelming demand, the song was released a week later.
âI’m excited to finally be able to build a career, but it’s built from a really painful song,â Guyton said. âIt’s built from times in our country that have been really painful. And people don’t necessarily realize that. They’re like, ‘Oh, she’s getting all this attention, it’s all right. “But they don’t understand what comes with it.”
“What are you going to tell him”
The song that ushered in this exciting new chapter in Guyton’s career was actually written to the point “where I reached despair,” she says.
“I had no other answers. I had exhausted all my efforts … And so I wrote a song just because I was sad and saw what the industry is doing specifically to women and people of color. “
On the ballad, she sings about a young woman who “thinks that life is fair … The skin is only skin and it doesn’t matter / And that her friend’s older brother is going to keep his hands for him / And that someone will believe her when she tells. “
“But what are you going to tell her when she’s wrong?” she asks in the chorus. “Are you just going to shrug your shoulders and say it’s been like this forever?”
By far the most fun and funky moment on the album (although the sparkling “RosÃ©” is just behind). At a fast pace and snapping his fingers, Guyton implores his listeners to celebrate “what makes you different / You don’t need permission / Go ahead and just flaunt it”.
âIt’s not a country song, but it’s me who embraces my inner self and I hope I encourage other people to do that too,â she says. “I’m really excited people are seeing this.”