“Don’t ever give up even when it’s hard.”

Alongside Keith Urban, Mickey Guyton will be co-hosting the 56th Academy of Country Music Awards on Sunday evening (April 18). In a recent conversation with Dierks Bentley on Apple Music Country’s The Nashville Countdown, the “Black Like Me” vocalist took stock of her own career in the quote above, plus previewed the forthcoming festivities.

She also noted regarding the event overall, “The theme of the ACMs is really wanting to empower and have fun and show love. We’re at such a weird time in 2021. Still, so much is going on in the world with the pandemic, but we just want to make people happy for the night and to feel good. And to feel the love that really is within the country music community. So I’m so excited.”

As well, highlighting her — and the ACM’s — continuing involvement in advocating for women and artists of color in country music, she added, “I just think it’s so powerful that so people from all walks of life every race, everything will feel like they represented and can see themselves within this beautiful genre of country music. So I’m just it’s just going to be, it’s just amazing, yes. Things are changing for sure.”

Urban and Guyton’s 2020 duet for “What Are You Gonna Tell Her” spurred the Academy’s decision to have them co-host the 2021 proceedings. Guyton’s also scheduled to perform again this year. “I’m just beyond grateful, but it’s just going to be a really strong, empowering performance like just feeling free,” she says, previewing her appearance. “I’m really excited. I think [my performance] will really uplift people in these times.”