Country fans look out, there’s a new queen in town! Micaela Kleinsmith was crowned the first ever winner of the Apple TV+ reality competition series My Kind of Country. As the season’s winner, Kleinsmith will receive a $100,000 prize and the full backing by Apple Music.
Kleinsmith, who identifies as queer and is from Cape Town, South Africa was scouted by country music star Orville Peck, who is also a part of the LGBTQ community. The series was executive produced by Reese Witherspoon and Kacey Musgraves, working with Hello Sunshine, a media company founded by Witherspoon that aims to broaden perspective and empower women by giving them authorship, inspiring agency, and creating a platform to help them shape culture and the world around them. The series goal is to diversify the genre of country music and make it a more inclusive space for fans and artists alike. Kleinsmith embodies that mission and has already provided some much-needed representation to queer Black country music fans.
“I feel like that entire finale was a blur for me. I completely blanked out, even during the performance,” Kleinsmith said in an interview with People. “I felt like I was taken to a different place while I was performing. But I was very shocked. I will say that much. I was incredibly shocked. I was so ready for them to say anybody else’s name.”
“From the moment I met Micaela, I knew really, truly, genuinely, that Micaela was definitely going to the finale because I think there’s something very beautifully authentic about her,” Peck told People. “All of us, the scouts, we just became completely blown away by her talent.”
Peck, who was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Music Artist, recently performed his hit song “Hexie Mountains” at the award ceremony in Los Angeles.
To watch Micaela’s story and so much more, all episodes of My Kind of Country are streaming now on Apple TV+.