Country singer Mickey Guyton has attained a lot of impressive firsts in her career. In 2011, she became the first Black female country artist signed to a major record label, and since then, she’s racked up a series of trailblazing moments, including becoming the first Black woman to earn a Grammy nomination in the Best Country Solo Performance category, and the first Black female artist to both perform at and later host the Academy of Country Music Awards.
But it’s an entirely different type of first — the first day of school — that is on Guyton’s radar these days and that has spurred her partnership with 3M’s School Zone Safety Initiative. School is obviously a ways off for Guyton’s 1-year-old son, Grayson. But with road traffic accidents being the leading cause of death for kids 5 and older worldwide, the new mom jumped at the chance to help give more children a safer path to and from school. In April, she helped kick off 3M’s first school zone transformation — remodeling school zone roadways to include reflective signs, visible street markings, and pedestrian crosswalks — at Robert Churchwell Museum Magnet Elementary School in Nashville. By 2024, 100 schools in 23 countries will receive similar upgrades to improve safety and visibility.
Fresh off her performance at the 2022 CMT Music Awards, Guyton spoke to SheKnows about her involvement in the initiative, trusting her instincts, and the song that’s the soundtrack to her new-mom life right now.
SheKnows: Congratulations on your amazing performance last night! What’s next for you?
Mickey Guyton: Right now I’m working on new music. I started working with Tyler Hubbard from Florida Georgia Line; we’ve created this really great creative relationship and I just love working with him. So I’ve been doing a bunch of songs with him. We’re going to be releasing new music this summer, so I’m really excited. A lot of good stuff going on.
SK: We’ll be excited to hear that music. You’ve said there was a time in your career when you weren’t trusting your own musical instincts. Have you had that experience as a new mom as well?
MG: All of the time. All of the time. My own mom instincts — I question everything. But you kind of just know your child. You do instantly know exactly what to do with them. But I [still] question, ‘Am I doing the right thing for him?’ And I’m working a lot, so I’m without him a lot, and the mom guilt really seeps into my mind. I just have to keep reminding myself that I am doing this for his future and he will appreciate it one day.
SK: You mentioned Tyler Hubbard… Are you two sharing parenting stories? Is he giving you advice, being a bit ahead of you in the parenting game?
MG: Absolutely. Not necessarily advice, but really great stories. He’s such a good dad. Like, he took his daughter on a date one day and got her flowers. That’s something I’m going to make my son [do] — take me on a date and we’re going to go to a nice restaurant together. And it’s just beautiful to see those relationships. It’s such a special time in your life, being a parent.
SK: What’s the best way motherhood has changed you?
MG: Oh, man, motherhood has changed me in so many different ways. No matter what I do in my life, nothing compares to motherhood — which brings me back to 3M and school zone safety and this project. You know, going through school zones, I’ve always paid attention to them. I’ve always seen kids walking to school. But now that I’m a mom, I want to protect them. And I think what 3M is doing, ensuring that child safety is at the forefront, I really appreciate that. Being a new mom, in a few years, [Grayson is] going to be going to school, and seeing the statistics of the injuries that children are having in school zones is extremely alarming. I’m glad we’re bringing awareness to that.
SK: What else do you want people to know about this project and why you wanted to get involved — are these just issues you’re already thinking about and worrying about as a mom?
MG: Oh my God, the mom worry. And I heard it only gets worse. So 3M has made this initiative to go around to 100 schools globally and make school zone safety a priority. And they’re doing it for underserviced schools, which I think is so cool. That’s something that’s really important to me; I’ve always prided myself on wanting to be a part of being a voice for the voiceless and the people that don’t necessarily have anybody protecting them. Children are the most vulnerable and these children in underserved communities are that much more vulnerable. I love that 3M started here in North Nashville. And like I said, now that I’m a mother… I was on the CMT stage yesterday performing [but] now I’m here at a school and that is way more important than anything [else] that I’ve ever done.
SK: Finally, on a lighter note: I wanted to know if you have a motherhood theme song?
MG: Anything that’s CoComelon is probably my theme song. Like, ‘Peas, Peas, it’s time to eat your peas.’ That’s all I’m listening to is CoComelon. That is the theme song of my life.
SK: Ha! I don’t think you’re alone in that one.
MG: Oh, my God, it’s a lifesaver, that is for sure.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
These history-making Black moms were (and are!) paving the way for women everywhere.
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