Mickey Guyton Can't Wait to 'Bring Togetherness for America's Birthday' as She Hosts 'A Capitol Fourth'

"America is pop; America is country; America is R&B; it's Broadway; it's everything," the country star tells PEOPLE

Mickey Guyton
Mickey Guyton. Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty

Mickey Guyton is spending her Fourth of July holiday onstage as the host of the nation's Independence Day celebration A Capitol Fourth broadcast live on PBS, but while she's celebrating in front of the cameras she'll have her family by her side in Washington, D.C.

"I think what I'm looking forward to is holding my son and watching him get to experience this," the country star tells PEOPLE of her working holiday with her 16-month-old son Grayson Clark and her husband Grant Savoy in the wings.

She's eager to take in the country's largest and most spectacular fireworks display with Grayson, a first for the toddler. "I've gotten to see some amazing fireworks in my life. I've not got to see A Capitol Fourth's fireworks in person and I get to do that — not only hosting the event, but I get to have my son there with me and I think that's going to be the best part."

"I cannot wait for Grayson to be able to see the fireworks," the "Black Like Me" singer continues. "Something that's the best part of being a parent is watching your child see certain things that we loved in life for the first time, and I think this is going to be really cool to see him see fireworks for the first time. Like, really see fireworks!"

Guyton will be sharing the stage with an impressive array of musical artists, including actress and vocalist Cynthia Erivo, country star Jake Owen, actor and pop star Darren Criss, gospel superstar Yolanda Adams, singer-songwriter Andy Grammer, disco icon Gloria Gaynor, blues artist Keb'Mo, pianist Emily Bear, chart-topping singer-songwriter Rachel Platten, stage star Loren Allred and Broadway legend Chita Rivera.

"I'm excited because that's what America is," says Guyton. "America is pop; America is country; America is R&B; it's Broadway; it's everything. And that's what this program is. And that's what's so important and why I'm so excited to be a part of it… I just want to be high-energy and relatable at this show. I just want people to be able to see me and see my personality, but also bring togetherness at America's birthday."

She admits — other than performing on the Capitol lawn near the many monuments, museums and institutions nearby — her packed hosting schedule won't likely allow much time for sightseeing.

"Probably not – I never get to do all that stuff!" she admits with a laugh. "But my husband, he'll be out there with my son so a lot of times he'll branch off, because it is a lot of waiting for them. He'll probably go and see some sights."

Guyton retains fond memories of the family trips to the area from her own youth.

"The first time I went to Washington, DC was on a family vacation where my dad packed up his Ford Explorer and took all of his kids from Texas to Washington D.C.," she recalls. "I remember going to the Smithsonian – and losing my sister at the Smithsonian, by the way! Our whole family lost my little sister and spent hours trying to find her in there. That was one of my first experiences being in Washington, DC, then I got to do A Capitol Fourth [virtually] last year, and now I'm hosting it this year. So it's a crazy time – It's an emotional time for me and I just feel really honored that I was asked to be a part of this."

Guyton, the second Black woman to host A Capitol Fourth after Vanessa Williams, recognizes that her own swift and dramatic rise to stardom after years of dues-paying and nearly quitting performing entirely is a textbook American success story.

"My life was definitely different," she says. "I had no money; my career was non-existent. And to be here two years later, it's wild to think that I've been able to support my family and have a career. It's been such a blessing."

Mickey Guyton Super Bowl LVI
Mickey Guyton. Kevin Mazur/Getty/Roc Nation

Not that it's come without challenges, especially as a new mom, she admits. "Let me tell you: it never stops!" she laughs. "You can go from singing the national anthem at the Super Bowl and hosting the ACM Awards or hosting A Capitol Fourth and you still have to go home and change that baby's diapers — like, no matter what — and it's humbling. I'm exhausted. I am legitimately exhausted. And every person that told me you are going to be tired the moment you have this baby, they were 100% correct!"

"if they're sick and you're sick, doesn't matter," she adds. "You still have to take care of this kid. And I enjoy it, as exhausting as it is. I really enjoy it, as challenging as it is. He wakes up at 4:30 in the morning crying because he wants his mom and he wants milk, and me walking in there and feeling him feel comforted by me, me waking up in the morning and him smiling and doing his little dance, because he is excited to see me — it just makes it all worth it."

Mickey Guyton and Grant Savoy
MIckey Guyton, Grayson and Grant Savoy. Mickey Guyton Instagram

On a professional level, Guyton is especially excited that she'll be singing her hit song "All American" at the event, which is a personal meditation on true patriotism. "What's crazy to me is when I wrote it, I didn't think, 'Oh, I'm going to sing this on PBS at A Capitol Fourth," she explains. "I was just writing a song that was from my heart and I wanted to sing. And I just wanted to show what makes America so great, which is all of our differences."

"When I wrote 'All American,' I was at the heart of the pandemic. I was watching the news a lot. I was watching Twitter a lot and all of these social media platforms, and I was just heartbroken," she reveals. "I don't know if it was because everybody was stuck at home and our tensions were so high and we were angry, but that was what I was feeling when I was looking at social media and the news and a lot of times I still feel that. And I just wanted to show that 'Why are we fighting, again?' At the end of the day, humanity is what matters."

"If you're in need and you need help, the American way is not going to be like, 'Well, what political party are you affiliated with?' They're not going to ask that first. Our first natural instinct, human instinct, is to just help one another. And that's what I was hoping people would feel from the song."

Guyton's gratified that the song has been embraced by such a wide audience. "When I sing the song live, I do feel this sense of pride, and for a moment, I do feel that everybody just stops and they start waving their flag," she says. "A lot of times people bring American flags to shows and you see that instantly go up. And that was what I wanted people to feel when I wrote it."

A Capitol Fourth airs on PBS Monday, July 4, 2022 from 8 to 9:30 p.m. ET, as well as to the nation's troops serving around the world via the American Forces Network. The program can also be heard in stereo over NPR member stations nationwide and will be streaming on YouTube and www.pbs.org/a-capitol-fourth. The program will also be available as Video on Demand for a limited time only, July 4 to July 18, 2022.

Related Articles