July 7

Mickey Guyton’s “What Are You Gonna Tell Her” is A Call to Action

Mickey Guyton, together with Karen Kosowski and Victoria Banks, wrote “What Are You Gonna Tell Her” as a reflection of the marginalization experienced by many. Far from just being another emotional song, Guyton’s new single speaks on the sad societal fact where people’s appearances and gender become the determining factors on how others should treat them.

Guyton first debuted her song through a live performance last February 20 during the Country Radio Seminar luncheon and showcase. Several other artists also presented their latest singles and new tunes, but it was Guyton’s “What Are You Gonna Tell Her” that gained the most attention. Guyton’s new single becomes the voice to the heart cries of not a few aspiring artists because of the injustices that marginalization has brought to the industry.

A Single that Speaks for Itself and Represents Many

Over the years, there have been many conversations between radio stations and music executives about whose songs deserve more airplay. It turned out that the air time between male and female artists’ songs has been separated by a great margin. This was one of the facts which Guyton addressed in “What Are You Gonna Tell Her.”

Female artists, especially colored artists like Guyton, have struggled over the years to obtain a chance to make a clear and loud statement for themselves. The myth about country fans’ preference to hear more male than female artists on radios has been debunked by several data and through road-tested artists’ experiences. On the other hand, these facts could also be considered as one of the major factors why female singers were appropriated less air time on radios.

With this spectacular performance, Guyton received a well-deserved standing ovation. Yet it presented an irony. Following a viral twitter post in January, there has been at least one radio station recorded that plays songs produced by female artists. Thus, most of the people in attendance during Guyton’s performance, if not all, played a bulk of songs produced by male artists. Guyton’s performance was a divine moment for many with their battle over the injustice brought by marginalization.

It was not just Guyton who was emotional after the powerful performance. Victoria Banks who tweeted “I’m still shaking” was also watching in her set. She also did not expect the extent of the impact of the song which she co-wrote with Guyton considering that it was just 3 weeks since they completed it.

But songs written in a short span of time had years of turmoil behind them. That’s what gives them power. Back to Mickey Guyton, she made sure that her point would be heard, and rightfully so as this has been an overwhelming conflict in the industry for many years. It’s about time that it ends.


Mikey Guyton

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