Mickey Guyton to Host 'A Capitol Fourth' : 'It's Absolutely a Real Honor'

"To be asked to host such an event as this, in a really trying time in our country, I just feel like it could be a huge opportunity to try and encourage more togetherness in this time," the country star tells PEOPLE

From Cuties to Beauties
Mickey Guyton. Photo: Broadimage/Shutterstock

Mickey Guyton is ready to set off some celebratory fireworks, literally: the history-making, four-time Grammy nominee will be hosting A Capitol Fourth, the 42nd annual national Independence Day celebration, broadcast live on PBS from Washington D.C. on July 4, she tells PEOPLE exclusively.

"It is absolutely a real honor," the country music star says, pointing out that her hosting stint for the nation's official birthday party — which traditionally features an all-star assembly of top talent from a broad spectrum of musical genres, along with the most epic-scale fireworks display in the country — will mark the celebration's return to a live broadcast since 2019, after the pandemic prompted pre-taped performances for two years.

"I'm so excited about that," Guyton, 38, says, "And just the representation, me being a Black country singer on that stage: I just hope to bring fun and happiness to everybody, at home, at this event…To be asked to host such an event as this, in a really trying time in our country, I just feel like it could be a huge opportunity to try and encourage more togetherness in this time."

Noting that she and so many Americans have recently felt a seemingly non-stop array of stress and concern of late, "I hope I can take this opportunity to just bring some love and light into people's homes this summer."

"I love Fourth of July – it was always one of my favorite holidays," the "Black Like Me" singer recalls of her time growing up in Texas. "Because Fourth of July was always so crazy, we would have 'Fifth of July' so that we could actually celebrate. We would always go out to my friend's house in the country and just shoot off fireworks. And it was just one of my favorite times, getting together and celebrating with your friends and family and America. It was always super cool."

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

And Guyton's no stranger to performing patriotic songs: she's sung the National Anthem in particular countless times publicly, from the time she was a teenager through to her rendition of the song at Super Bowl LVI last February before an audience of 112.3 million people.

"That was such a special moment for me," she says. "The National Anthem is where it all started for me when it comes to, with me wanting to be a singer, so it was just such a whole-circle moment."

As always, she relied on the advice her father gave her long ago about approaching the notoriously challenging song, "just to sing it straight and to put your heart into it. Don't do too much, don't try to do any acrobatics – just sing the song."

"The National Anthem has every note that you ever need to showcase your voice, it really does," she laughs. "You don't have to do much to it. And so, it is a daunting thing, but I always remind myself that it is not about you. The National Anthem is not a song about yourself. I guess it is a song about everybody, personally, but it really isn't about you…You have to just remember that. This isn't your moment, this is the nation's moment and as long as you do that, I think you can succeed in singing it."

As the title-holder of a number of impressive firsts — including the first Black woman to ever be nominated in the best country solo performance category, the first Black female solo artist to sing her own song at the Academy of Country Music Awards and first Black woman to host Academy of Country Music Awards — Guyton recognizes that, after years of struggle and nearly giving up before her breakout success, in many ways hers is a quintessential American success story.

"It means so much," she says. "We all have these dreams and aspirations of things that we want to do in our lives, and oftentimes we give up before we even start. And people have to realize like, you have to keep going, no matter how hard it gets. I am the definition of that."

2022 CMT Music Awards – Arrivals
Mickey Guyton. Mike Coppola/Getty

"I hope it just shows an example to the people out there, especially young people," she explains. "Society has put these timelines on our lives, like, 'Oh, you have to be successful by the time you're 20,' and that's not realistic. We're not even in our primes until we're in our thirties with a greater understanding of life. I'm an example of that, and I just hope that when people see me and see me on that stage, they see themselves. No matter how hard it is, you just work for it. You really do have to work for it. Nothing good comes easy."

Guyton says that while she's proud of the big, game-changing inroads she's made, she's also eager to share more of herself on stage hosting A Capitol Fourth.

"I'm just excited to show people my personality and really get to see who I am," she says. "So often, I've been in situations and have had to have heavy conversations about race and that kind of stuff in America. And this is an opportunity for people to see me. And I'm a really fun, funny person, and it's just going to be really exciting for people to see that aspect of me."

Mickey Guyton
Mickey Guyton. Kevin Winter/Getty

She's even up for dressing as patriotically as she can get away with. "I am here for all of it! I better have to get a red, white and blue option. It's freaking Fourth of July!"

More performers at A Capitol Fourth will be announced in the next several weeks, The broadcast 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.

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