Country music is typically a white space. Mickey Guyton is ready to change it. – NBC News

Mickey Guyton was supposed to have her breakthrough moment years ago.

“My husband and I were having drinks in L.A. and I asked him, ‘Why do you think country music isn’t working out for me?’” Guyton told NBC News. “Because I’d been pursuing country music for five or six years at that point and I hadn’t really had much success. I’ve had some success, but not that much success.”

The artist, who had grown up in Texas listening to her grandma play Dolly Parton repeatedly, decided to pursue country music after hearing LeAnn Rimes sing the national anthem at a Texas Rangers baseball game when she was 8 years old. Upon graduating from high school, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue her dream of performing music like the country greats she admired.

In L.A., Guyton recorded a handful of demos and even auditioned for the eighth season of “American Idol,” but she didn’t have her lucky break until she’d met a DJ who introduced her to managers who arranged a meeting with representatives at Capitol Records Nashville. The record company is part of the Universal Music Group (which was once part of NBC), and its Nashville subsidiaryis known for representing artists like Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban. Guyton signed with Capitol Records in 2011, becoming the only Black female country signed to a major label.

Mainstream success seemed imminent. Guyton debuted her first single, “Better Than You Left Me,” a power
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