Mickey Guyton was honored at the 2021 CMT Artists of the Year event on Wednesday night, an accolade that celebrated the singer’s breakout year with singles such as “Black Like Me” and the debut album Remember Her Name. Guyton also gave one of the event’s standpoint performances, singing the title track from Remember Her Name with a little assist from Yola.
“Remember Her Name,” which deals with themes of resilience and finding inner strength, is a fitting choice for Guyton, who went a full decade signed to Universal Music Group Nashville before her debut album came out in 2021. Guyton begins the performance alone, showing off her rangy voice and commanding stage presence. Yola, who also released her album Stand for Myself this year, takes a solo on the next verse and complements Guyton’s shimmering silver with her own sparkling gold gown.
When the song reaches its bridge and Yola stretches her voice into a soulful, extended cry, the audience audibly erupts into applause. For the final seconds of the song, Guyton stays with her originally melody while Yola improvises with soulful runs, earning them a standing ovation at the finish.
We are SO proud of you, @MickeyGuyton!
— CMT (@CMT) October 14, 2021
“When the Lord closes a door, somewhere he opens a window. In my case, he shattered a whole glass ceiling,” Guyton said in a speech accepting her award. “I made it my life’s purpose to show that country music really is everyone’s music.”
The 2021 CMT Artists of the Year, which celebrated Chris Stapleton, Kane Brown, Kelsea Ballerini, Luke Combs, and Gabby Barrett, included performances from Boyz II Men and Pentatonix’s Kevin Olusola on Chris Stapleton’s “Cold,” Brown singing Randy Travis’ “Three Wooden Crosses,” and Walker Hayes giving the live awards debut of his smash “Fancy Like.”