More than six years ago, Mickey Guyton released her first single on Capitol Nashville, the stirring breakup ballad “Better Than You Left Me.” Now, after a long journey through the country music ringer as one of the genre’s most prominent and groundbreaking — and thus, criticized — Black women, Guyton will release her debut album, featuring that song along with 15 others. Remember Her Name, out September 24, is a years-in-the-making project for Guyton, coming after a breakout 2020 that saw Guyton perform at the Academy of Country Music Awards (as the first-ever Black woman soloist) and earn a Grammy nomination for Best Country Solo Performance (again, as the first Black woman in the country field), and led to questions over her stalled career.
While “Better Than You Left Me,” first released on her 2015 self-titled EP, is Remember Her Name’s oldest track, the album also features three songs off her 2020 EP Bridges: the Grammy-nominated “Black Like Me,” along with “What Are You Gonna Tell Her?” and “Rosé.” Guyton cowrote all of the album’s songs, save for a cover of Beyoncé’s “If I Were a Boy” — a rarity for an album on a major country label, never mind a debut. (Also rare, much of the album is produced by a woman, Karen Kosowski.) She recently told Billboard that the title track was dedicated to Breonna Taylor, while a New Yorker profile teased lyrics from “Love My Hair” (“If I could go back to twelve / I would tell myself / Straight up or down / Baby, that’s your crown”) and “All American” (“We got the same stars, same stripes”). In a statement alongside the announcement, Guyton called Remember Her Name “a culmination of the last ten years of my life in Nashville.” “This album is the closing of a chapter,” she said. “All those years ago, I set out to create music that would make people feel self-empowered, loved, and comfortable with being themselves and this album holds true to all of that.”