Mickey Guyton grew up in Texas and has been singing country music ever since she was a little girl, yet people are usually surprised to learn she’s a country singer.
“I have people saying things all the time, like, ‘Oh my God, you sing country? That’s not you.’ But it is me. Why can’t it be me? Why is it not normal? My family is so country!” Guyton, 33, tells PEOPLE.
“Still, I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy,” she says. “There isn’t a lot of diversity in country music. But I get a lot of messages on Facebook and Twitter from women about how I am opening doors for them. And that’s what pushes me, reading messages like that. I feel like I’m every woman.
“I don’t even realize how crazy what I’m doing is,” the “Better Than You Left Me” singer continues. “It is really hard for women [to get played on country radio], period. Do I face extra obstacles? Absolutely.”
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But Guyton says it’s simply a matter of following her heart – and it’s all country. In fact, last year she experienced the proudest moment of her career and she’s still pinching herself over it.
“I made my debut at the Grand Ole Opry,” she says. “There is no higher honor in my personal opinion, in country music, than getting to sing on that stage. When the crowd gave me a standing ovation, I just bawled my eyes out.”
Of course, that’s just the beginning. Guyton, whose new single “Heartbreak Song” is out now, has her sights set on many more milestones to come.
“I want to headline my own tour, maybe do some acting, put out another album and win a Grammy,” she says. “No pressure, but being the next Dolly Parton would be up there. I mean, what girl wouldn’t want her own theme park?”