Interview: Michael Ray Talks New Music!

Photo Credit: Sean Hagwell

Your new song “Picture” tells the story of your family and celebrating memories. What are you most thankful to be celebrating today?

I’m thankful for the time I’ve had with my family this year. For my friends and my fans. For music. For all the memories we’ve created together and for all the memories we’ve still got ahead of us.

Looking back what are some of your favorite snapshots of your career?

There are so many high points – when my debut single “Kiss You In The Morning” went No. 1, when I played the Grand Ole Opry for the first time, dozens of others – but some of my favorite memories are on tour when the crowd sings back to me. As an artist, you hope that people fall in love with your music enough to buy it, stream it and then show up to a show with their loved ones and friends and make a memory together. Those are the moments I always go back to. 

The past year has been rough for everyone. What has kept you going through the months where the music industry, in so many ways, shut down?

Spending time with my family, especially after we lost my Uncle Terry and others, definitely kept me going this past year. Being able to go home and see the people who believed in me since day one made me believe in myself again. And staying connected with fans helped remind me why I love what I do, even when I couldn’t go out and do it for a little while.

For many artists, they feel the past year has contributed to some of the best music they have written. Is the same true for you?

This past year has absolutely contributed to some of the best music I have written. My new song “Picture” is maybe the most autobiographical song I’ve ever released, and I’m really proud of it. I already see fans connecting to it – posting lyrics, sharing their own photos and memories. That’s how I know we made something special.  

I am a firm believer that music heals. How therapeutic has your livestream series “Honky Tonk Tuesdays” been for you?

Honkytonk Tuesday has been so much fun! I’ve missed being out on the road, so it’s been an awesome way to connect with fans while sharing songs from the ‘80s and ‘90s artists who paved the way in country music. 

What have you learned about yourself over the past year in your time of reflection?

Quarantine gave me the opportunity to go home, spend time with my family and really reconnect with the people and places that made me who I am. I’ve learned more about myself and rediscovered the kind of music I want to make.

What is something you are not going to take for granted moving forward?

I’m not going to take for granted time with the people I love and the chance to capture memories in the moment.

What are you most looking forward to as Nashville reopens?

              What else – playing and hearing live music again!

What is on the agenda for 2021?

You can definitely expect more new music! My single “Whiskey And Rain” is currently at country radio, and I just released “Picture” in the beginning of May. Can’t wait for y’all to hear more and to see everyone out on the road.