Artists to Watch in 2015 – No. 4: Mickey Guyton
Earlier this month, Mickey Guyton's debut single 'Better Than You Left Me' went for "adds," meaning it officially launched as a potential single for radio stations nationwide to consider. It was a hold-your-breath moment for the singer -- and maybe for the industry at large.
In this age of male-dominated radio, how would a female talent like Guyton fare? Have we progressed to the point where race won't play an issue? Will all the whining about bro-country bring true change in 2015?
The answer was definitive and overwhelming. 'Better Than You Left Me' had a superstar debut, meaning the number of stations that committed to playing Guyton's song equaled a total that a superstar like Luke Bryan or Carrie Underwood would celebrate. For a new artist without a track record, that's astonishing. It's a statement. It's ... a relief.
Great songs can still rise to the top. Great singers can overcome all odds and obstacles. The sky isn't falling.
The Texas-raised, LeAnn Rimes-inspired Guyton likely didn't consider the greater impact her song would have when penning it. She tells Taste of Country Nights radio host Sam Alex she was just venting after breaking up with a guy.
"One minute he wanted to be with me, and then he didn’t want to be with me, then he wanted to be with me, then he didn’t want to be with me …” she says. Then she played for the president, and he wanted her back. He said, "Don't make me find someone else!"
Oh yes he did!
“The whole time I thought he was the prize, and then I realized that I was the prize,” she reveals, adding that she wished him luck in a "Bless your heart" sorta way. The wound is still fresh. One senses her blood beginning to boil each time she retells the story.
That performance for the president happened in November 2011, after the singer had moved from Texas to Los Angeles to study at Santa Monica College. While there she busted her butt, working at a cigar club (she has asthma) and as a cocktail waitress to pay the bills and stay fed.
"The owner was really mean," Guyton says, recalling the Manhattan Beach club. In L.A. she met producer Julian Raymond, who introduced her to artist manager Gary Borman (Faith Hill, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum). They worked out a deal with Capitol, and helped her release her debut EP 'Unbreakable' in 2014.
'Better Than You Left Me' was written with help from Jennifer Hanson and Jenn Schott in about 30 minutes, and after years of development with Capitol Nashville, Guyton had her debut single.
... And country music has its most promising new female solo artist since Taylor Swift.