Country music trailblazer Mickey Guyton joined forces with a psychedelic soul band, the Black Pumas at the 2022 CMT Music Awards. On Monday (April 11), the crossover collaboration brought fans to their feet as they delivered an eye-opening performance of “Colors.”
The Black Pumas lead vocalist Eric Burton kicked off the show-stopping performance as guitarist Adrian Quesada backed his retro-funk sound with electrifying guitar licks. With a steady drumbeat holding down the melody, Guyton’s explosive vocals brought the good-vibe anthem to new heights.
The flawless blend proved that Guyton is more than a country music star, but a genre-bending artist with soulful pipes and R&B potential. During the groovy act – the group fed off of each other’s laid-back vibe as the stage changed “Colors” and silhouette’s danced on the gigantic screens behind them.
Their happy-go-lucky energy-filled Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium, but their inspiring message of inclusion surpassed the walls of the venue.
Ahead of their chill-provoking performance, The Black Pumas and Guyton caught up with CMT to explain why this collaboration is a transformative moment in country music history.
“The Black Pumas are such incredible artists,” Guyton gushed. “They’re so soulful and just badass human beings. That alone is going to make a stand-out act. What this represents is coming together. I really applaud the country music industry for really trying to step up and (be inclusive). I just think that’s awesome, and we’re so much better together than we are apart. I think it makes for such a more entertaining award show, just seeing all the different types of country music and different acts that love country music,” she stressed.
Guyton continued to detail what it feels like to witness the positive shift and what it is like to be a driving force behind the change.
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“I saw people of color and women specifically were having a really hard time finding our footing in this industry,” she pointed out. “That was something that was really hard for me to sit by and allow to happen…I guess I was boiling up. I finally was like, ‘Look, I may never make it…but you guys have to do better for all of these people that feel marginalized that are marginalized,” she added.
While pushing for inclusivity – the Black Pumas emphasized that their debut CMT performance was also an excellent opportunity to bridge the gap between country and soul.
“It means a lot how CMT is kind of crossing genres,” said the Grammy-nominated performers. “It feels amazing to be a part of the CMT Awards because it represents American music. It also feels like our music is very much American. We want them [the fans] to feel like this music is as familiar to them, as the music that they came here to support and what is being nominated,” said Burton. “It’s always been a goal just to be inclusive. It’s not about whether you like soul or whatever, ideally everybody would be able to enjoy it equally,” Quesada added about their style of music.
Burton mentioned that it was an easy task to incorporate Guyton’s sound, as he penned “Colors” with other genres in mind.
“As a kid, I learned how to write music by listening to different types of artists. I was raised to embrace different people from different walks of life. So, I’ve never really seen my music as something that was separate,” the vocalist said about the writing process. “It was really easy generally because the song obviously started on the acoustic guitar. Mickey Guyton definitely fits right in with this, her voice is so soulful. I think both Eric and Mickey’s voice, style, and music just transcends genres,” said Quesada.
The Black Pumas made it clear that their relationship with Guyton will go beyond the 2022 CMT Music Awards, as their next project together was already a topic of conversation.
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“We would probably be hanging out and making music together in the studio, whether we were here or not. The fact that we just enjoy each other. We’re writing our next album, and it was brought up as an opportunity – it was a no-brainer. It’s been really nice to collaborate with Mickey,” the group said full of excitement.
The soul-touching performance of “Colors” featuring the Black Pumas and multi-platinum artist Mickey Guyton will be included in the CMT Music Awards Extended Cut on April 15 on CMT. The must-watch version will consist of 30 additional minutes and will have extra never-before-seen content.