Mickey Guyton, National Anthem Singer for Super Bowl 2022: What to Know

Mickey Guyton is set to sing the U.S. national anthem before Super Bowl LVI, which will feature the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals. Guyton is the first Black female country singer to perform "The Star-Spangled Banner" before the NFL championship game. Guyton is best known for her Grammy-nominated hits "Black Like Me" and "Remember Her Name."

The NFL announced Guyton would perform at the Super Bowl back on Feb. 1. "Look at God. I am shook, I am grateful, I am praise dancing... So excited to be singing the national anthem at #SBLVI on February 13th," she wrote on Instagram.

Guyton, 38, was born in Arlington, Texas, and moved to Los Angeles to pursue her country music dreams. While attending Santa Monica College, she worked various minimum wage jobs and also booked gigs as a backup singer. She even sang in Nick Cannon's movie Underclassman. She also sang on American Idol but was cut before she could reach the live shows.

After meeting producer Julian Raymond, Guyton met with other industry professionals and decided to move to Nashville. Once there, she scored a contract with UMG's Capitol Records Nashville. She released an EP, Unbreakable, in 2014, and her first single, "Better Than You Left Me," hit the charts the following year. The single peaked at 34 on Billboard's US Country Airplay chart, putting Guyton on the path to success. The song's success lead to her New Female Vocalist of the Year nomination at the Academy of Country Music Awards in 2015.

A string of more singles followed, but she really broke through when she began writing songs about her personal experiences and struggles as a black woman. "Black Like Me" quickly became a big hit, earning her a Grammy nomination for Best Country Solo Artist. She was the first Black female artist nominated in the category.

Guyton has continued to break barriers in the country music world. In 2020, she was the first Black woman to perform at the Academy of Country Music Awards. Last year, she hosted the show with Keith Urban, making her the first Black woman to host. She was nominated for New Artist of the Year at the County Music Association Awards and New Female Artist of the Year at the ACM Awards in 2021.

In a recent PopCulture.com interview, Guyton said she did feel some "pressure" as the most popular Black female singer in country music today. She's up for the challenge though. "We must all walk the walk. And when I say we must give Black women opportunities, I must do the same," she said. "This isn't just lip service for me. I talk to a lot of these up-and-coming country singers. I check in on them. I connect them to industry leaders that I know can help them. It's a lot of work and pressure because I don't want to ever forsake them. And I won't." 

After releasing several EPs, Guyton finally released her first album, Remember Her Name, in September 2021. The album includes "What Are You Gonna Tell Her?" and "Black Like Me." The title track was nominated for Best Country Song and Best Country Solo Performance at the 2022 Grammys, while the album secured a Best County Album nod. Guyton and her husband, lawyer Grant Savoy, are also parents to son Grayson, who was born in February 2021.

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In an interview with The Los Angeles Times earlier this week, Guyton reflected on what it means to her to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" while she's been the target of racism and sexism. "What does patriotism mean? Anybody can wave a flag, but is that patriotism?" she said. "I can buy a flag right now on Amazon, so is that patriotism? For me, it's deeper. I feel like a patriot is loving everybody, a patriot is someone who sees people hurting and wants to do everything in their power to fix it. And patriotism is inclusion."

In fact, on Wednesday, Guyton shared a screenshot of a comment left on her Instagram page, accusing her of only getting the Super Bowl gig because she's Black and a woman. "This is what I see in my mentions on a daily basis. It never stops," she wrote. "But guess what. I will never stop."