Country music star Mickey Guyton hosts ‘A Capitol Fourth’ celebration live on PBS

Hear our full conversation on my podcast “Beyond the Fame.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Mickey Guyton at 'A Capitol Fourth' (Part 1)

“A Capitol Fourth” returns live to the U.S. Capitol this weekend on the Fourth of July.

The annual PBS broadcast will be hosted by country music star Mickey Guyton.

“I’m performing the national anthem and I’m singing a song from my album called ‘All American,'” Guyton told WTOP. “You’re gonna have Chita Rivera, Yolanda Adams, Cynthia Erivo, Darren Criss, Emily Bear, Gloria Gaynor, so many amazing artists, Jake Owen, it’s just going to be such an eclectic, diverse group of artists that’s going to be amazing.”

The lineup also includes Keb’ Mo’, Andy Grammer, Rachel Platten, Loren Allred and Jack Everly conducting the National Symphony Orchestra, Military District of Washington, the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” and the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets.

Guyton has experience singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” from this year’s Super Bowl.

“I felt like I was about to give birth the first time … in front of the whole world, that’s how nerve-wracking it was,” Guyton said. “I wanted to [meet the halftime performers] so badly, I actually shared a dressing room with Snoop Dogg and he was in there, but I was too scared to say hi. I don’t know why, I follow him on Instagram. … I had one job!”

Born in Arlington, Texas, in 1983, Guyton fell in love with country music at an early age.

“I wanted to become a singer after I heard LeAnn Rimes sing the national anthem at a Texas Rangers baseball game when I was a little girl before she became famous,” Guyton said. “My grandma also was a huge Dolly Parton fan. … She would have Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers VHS tapes … along with ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’ and ‘Steel Magnolias.'”

In 2015, she turned a real-life breakup into her debut single “Better Than You Left Me.”

“He always thought the grass was greener,” Guyton said. “He was constantly breaking my heart to the point I had fear of abandonment. When he finally broke up with me, I said, ‘Alright.’ Then I got to sing at at PBS’ ‘In Performance at The White House’ for [President Barack Obama]. Two days after that performance, he called trying to get back with me.”

She was signed by Capitol Records Nashville for her EP “Bridges” (2020), featuring the powerful and personal single “Black Like Me,” which earned her first Grammy nomination.

“I wrote ‘Black Like Me’ back in 2018 as a therapy song for me personally that I never thought in a million years would be put out,” Guyton said. “Then the pandemic happened and Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd happened and I had this song finished, mixed in my inbox that was ready to go. Spotify caught wind of it and asked for it and here I am now.”

The EP also featured the tearjerking single “What Are You Gonna Tell Her?”

“I had this beautiful Filipina girl that has a stunning voice who got accepted into Belmont and asked me what she had to look forward to,” Guyton said. “That was a heavy question for me because the struggle for women in country music and women period is really, really hard. … I remember sitting in the writing session with all women sobbing our eyes out.”

She reprised all three songs on her first full studio album, “Remember Her Name” (2021), featuring a title track about the fearless girl from her youth staring at her in the mirror.

“I was actually inspired by Breonna Taylor; I kept seeing people saying, ‘Say her name,'” Guyton said. “As I was writing the song, it turned into a song about not giving up on myself. I wanted that to be a message for women: no matter how hard it gets, remember that little girl who has no concept of what life does. … Remember the fire that she had.”

Recently, Guyton dropped the patriotic unity anthem “All American” (2021) with the inclusive hook, “We’ve got the same stars, same stripes, just want to live that good life.”

“I was quarantined in Los Angeles pregnant,” Guyton said. “I could see a lot of the protests out my window … all the different diverse people out there. I was like, ‘Wow, that’s what makes America so beautiful.’ We are so different from so many different walks of life. We are a nation of immigrants. We come from all over. That’s something to be celebrated.”

In her short four decades on Earth, she has seen country music become more diverse.

“I have so much faith that is happening,” Guyton said. “It’s been beautiful to watch. I feel like the Nashville community has always wanted to be more diverse, but when you don’t exactly know where to go, you just continue the path you know. It just takes one or two people to start talking about it. … You see more fans coming out. … It’s beautiful to see.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Mickey Guyton at 'A Capitol Fourth' (Part 2)

Hear our full conversation on my podcast “Beyond the Fame.”

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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