Mickey Guyton Channels Heartbreak For The Masses

(Radio.com) For Mickey Guyton, a career in the music industry was always the plan, she just took a roundabout way to get there. After graduating high school in the early aughts in Waco, Texas, Guyton moved to California to pursue a business degree at Santa Monica College while working on her songwriting. "If I couldn't become a singer, I'd do something in the industry," Guyton tells Radio.com over the phone.

It was a rather timid approach for a girl who grew up singing in the church choir and says at just nine years old she knew she wanted to be a singer after going to a Texas Rangers baseball game.

"I'll never forget it. We were all the way up in the nosebleed section and the announcer said, 'Please rise as 10-year-old LeAnn Rimes sings the national anthem,'" she says. "Before she even opened her mouth, the fact that she was 10 caught my attention. She sounded like a grown woman and that's when I knew I wanted to be a singer."

While Guyton knew her ultimate goal was to be a country singer, it took a while for her to get to Nashville. When she finally met manager Gary Borman, who works with Keith Urban and Alison Krauss, she was still in California working two jobs--one in the hosiery department of Nordstrom which inspired her song "Pretty Little Mustang"--and perhaps a little run down from her crazy hours.

"I sang some songs for him and he said they sucked in the nicest possible way," she laughs. "But he believed in me and was willing to work with me."

Guyton kept working on her songwriting and in 2011 her hard work paid off, Borman had gotten her an audition with Mike Dungan, the chairman of UMG Nashville. Luckily, this time, she didn't suck and Borman offered her a record deal. Six months later, she quit her two jobs in California and moved to Nashville, where she still lives. "Once I got that opportunity I did not look back," she says.

It's now four years later and Guyton is on the road with Brad Paisley, playing for the biggest audiences she's ever seen. "First of all, Brad Paisley is an amazing human," she gushes when asked about the summer tour. "To see how he treats his crew that works for him and how happy his crew seems is a testament to the person that he is. He is just so kind."

Every night, Guyton takes the stage with Paisley to sing "Whiskey Lullaby," something she says is "insane." More insane may be the fact that it was actually Paisley's idea to play the song, which originally featured Alison Krauss, after she introduced herself to him at the ACM Awards in April.

"As I'm sitting and talking to him, he looks over at me and goes, 'I'm thinking 'Whiskey Lullaby' every night. How do you feel about that?' I'm like, 'Um. Yeah! I'll never be able to sing it as good as Alison [Krauss] but I will absolutely love to sing that song with you.'"

Guyton says she has always loved the song, but to nail Krauss' inflection she studied it for months. "It's so perfect how it was sung," she says of Krauss' version. While she stays true to the original, Guyton also manages to make it her own with her distinct pop country spin on the vocals. Read more here.

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Copyright Radio.com/CBS Local - Excerpted here with permission.

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