Grammy nominee Mickey Guyton shares emerging Black artists to have on your radar

Yola, Reyna Roberts and Brittney Spencer are some of the artists she recommends.

February 18, 2021, 4:00 AM

Mickey Guyton is honoring trailblazers who have paved the way for artists in the music industry and sharing new faces to look out for in honor of Black History Month.

The "Black Like Me" singer, 37, who made Grammys history last year when she became the first Black female solo artist to ever be nominated in a country category, shared some of her early influences in an interview with "Good Morning America" in January.

The late renowned singer-songwriter Ray Charles, the legendary "Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin and country music icon Charley Pride are just a few of the figures who she counts as her inspirations.

"Ray Charles did a country album, 'Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music,'" she shared. "He's another one that I would love to honor that took a chance to be seen in a genre that wasn't necessarily ... he wouldn't normally be seen."

Along with paying tribute to those that came before her, Guyton is passionate about using her platform to open doors for new artists venturing into the country music realm. She recommended several artists to keep on your radar.

"I've discovered some really cool ones," she said. "Yola is a Grammy-nominated Americana Black artist from the U.K., and she is incredible. If you have not checked her out, you should. Her voice is insane."

The British artist released her debut album, "Walk Through Fire" in 2019, and the project received a Grammy nomination for best Americana album. She earned three more Grammy nominations the same year -- in the best new artist category, best American roots performance category and best American roots song category.

Nashville artist Reyna Roberts is another name Guyton suggests country music lovers should listen to.

"She has a song called 'Stompin' Grounds,'" Guyton said. "She's a little firecracker."

"I like to say she's a shot of fireball," Guyton added. "She's amazing."

Guyton also recommends another Nashville-based artist, Brittney Spencer, who, like Roberts, was named to CMT's "Next Women of Country" class of 2021 last month.

"Brittney Spencer is a lyrical genius -- poetic -- beautiful woman," Guyton said. Spencer's latest release was her 2020 EP "Compassion."

Two male artists Guyton recommends include Rvshvd and Breland.

"Rvshvd, he's like a Black Jason Aldean and he really has a cool perspective of country that I think people would really love to hear," she said.

"Breland is another one that is just amazing," she shared. "He has a song called 'My Truck.'"

In order to act as an ally and support Black artists trying to make their way in the music industry, music fans must put in the work, Guyton said.

"Actively go out and support them, actively stream their songs, call out radio stations that aren't playing women," she urged. "This is a collective effort. We can't do this all on our own."

"You are doing such injustice to certain groups of people when you actively choose not to play women and choose not to play and accept diversity in this genre," she continued. "That's a problem."

Guyton, who often calls out racial injustice in the country music realm -- most recently during the Morgan Wallen racial slur incident -- said that many people don't understand how "bad it is" and how "difficult" it is as a woman in country music.

"Start calling out these people that are actively refusing -- consciously refusing -- to support women and support people of color and support marginalized people," she urged. "That is a problem and they need to be called out on it."