“My Kind of Country” Hosts Want to Finally Diversify Country Music

Jimmie Allen, Mickey Guyton, and Orville Peck promise to break down barriers by providing a rare platform for diverse and innovative artists in the genre from around the world

Throughout their careers, country music stars and stars of Apple+’s My Kind of Country Jimmie Allen, Mickey Guyton, and Orville Peck have learned just how much being different from your typical country musician can limit opportunity. But they never let it stifle their success. Now, all three are on a mission to change the industry narrative by creating a unique platform that would encourage country music to become more inclusive of all races, sexualities, creeds and backgrounds.

“I think unfortunately in this—not just industry, but the world—things start to really change the more we are all vocal and out there representing diversity within country music,” Peck, an openly gay South African-born musician, told LA Magazine. 

“It’s existed for a long time, but never had the platform. So now we’re saying, here’s the platform, and I think the more we all back it, it becomes undeniable for the big suits in the industry,” he said. “And it starts to make big change because the higher powers can’t deny it any longer.” 

“I’ve had the same conversation with my sister about the WNBA,” added Allen, who was the second Black artist to win the Country Music Association Award for New Artist of the Year. “She said, ‘Well, why don’t the WNBA get paid as much as the NBA players?’ And I said, ‘When was the last time you bought a ticket to a WNBA game? When was the last time you bought a WNBA jersey?’ We can’t cry and say we want to see this, to not support it. So it’s here. Now we need to see the support from the fans that wanted it.” 

The artists have now teamed up with Guyton, who in 2021 became the first Black woman to receive a GRAMMY nomination in the country category, to create a new series on Apple TV+ titled My Kind of Country. The show promises to break down barriers in country music by setting a stage to showcase diverse and innovative artists from around the world. 

In the series, Allen, Guyton, and Peck each act as scouts, hand-picking a roster of up-and-coming artists whom they invite to try out their unique sound in a competition setting in Nashville, Tennessee, the home of country music. The winner will receive a life-changing prize from Apple Music and receive support and exposure on the platform.

Allen has had brushes with singing competitions before, having auditioned for American Idol in 2011. The GRAMMY-nominated artist wishes a new diverse show like this existed back when he was a fledgling musician, musing that participating in something like My Kind of Country could have potentially saved him from experiencing some racist interactions when he was up-and-coming. A record label executive once told Allen he couldn’t work with him because he was “afraid he might be fired” for signing a Black country artist. 

“What I realized, and what kept me going was, no matter how people view me and what they might think, they don’t control my work ethic or the quality of music I put out,” Allen said. “It shows that if you keep working hard and you keep putting out good music, eventually it’ll find its way to the right person, whether it’s fans or somebody on the executive side.” 

All three artists told LAMag they felt like this opportunity was more than just a job, but a commitment to diversifying a streamlined and sometimes prejudiced industry.

“So get that subscription to AppleTV+. Put the song out, do it, listen to it, stream it, share it with your friends, cancel your subscription to AppleTV+ just to buy another one,” Allen joked. “A tide rides all ships, you know what I’m saying? So to keep it going, keep it moving. It’s time for us to put our money where our mouths are.” 

My Kind of Country premieres on March 24 on Apple TV+.

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