Mickey Guyton has released “Black Like Me,” an intimate new piano ballad that chronicles her journey of navigating American life, and the country music industry, as a black woman.
Guyton co-wrote the song with co-producer Nathan Chapman, Emma Davidson-Dillon, and Fraser Churchill. The song’s plaintive chorus puts a fine point on racial inequality in the United States: “It’s a hard life on easy street/just white painted picket fences far as you can see,” Guyton sings. “If you think we live in the land of the free/you should try to be black like me.”
“This song was a God moment,” Guyton tweeted after its release. “He put it on my heart to write it. I thought it was to heal my heart but now I realize it’s meant to heal every heart.”
The 36-year-old Texas native has released a string of singles ahead of her long-awaited debut studio album, which throughout the decade has been delayed by a struggle between Guyton and her record label, Capitol Nashville, over how to present her as an artist.
“They ended up messing with my artistry because I was trying to fit into this mold I thought that they wanted,” she told the Los Angeles Times earlier this year. Eventually, she says, “my whole frame of thinking went from me just singing about my relationships to then just singing about being a black woman in country music.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Guyton will participate in a virtual panel titled “A Conversation on Being African-American in the Nashville Music Industry,” presented by Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU).