When rising country singer Michael Ray made his first exploratory trip to Nashville, he got a life-changing piece of advice from an industry insider. Go home. “He said, ‘Don’t move. The way the music industry’s going to become, you’re not going to be able to get a record deal just doing a showcase anymore. You’ve got to bring something to the table,’” Ray said. “He said, ‘I want to you to go back to Florida, grab a band and become the biggest you can be in Florida on your own, and then I want you to come back.’ So, I put a band together of friends of mine and we started to play.” Turns out it was the best thing Ray ever did. He built a rowdy fan base tilling the same fertile Southeastern soil Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan used to start their careers and returned to Nashville three years later to claim a record deal, a publishing contract and a few unexpected opportunities along the way.
Ray continued the journey from tiny Eustis, Florida, to the big time with the release of his first single “Kiss You In The Morning.” The debut single went #1 in just 24 weeks, an incredible achievement for anyone, let alone straight out of the gate. Ray’s second #1 single came not long after the first with “Think A Little Less,” also off of his debut self-titled album. With two #1’s under his belt, Michael is undeniably making his mark on Country Music.
Scott Hendricks, Warner Music Nashville’s executive vice president of A&R and Ray’s producer, calls Ray “country with an edge.” “Michael, he’s got it all,” said Hendricks, known for his work with Blake Shelton, Brooks & Dunn and Alan Jackson. “He is all about energy, energy, energy, both in his music and how he presents it on stage,” Hendricks said. “There aren’t very many moments where you’re going to have time to rest when you watch him because there’s a lot of energy he’s putting out.” Ray spent the past two years supporting his debut album with shows around the country, including Darius Rucker’s “Good For A Good Time” tour with label mates Dan + Shay. After years on the road as a support act, opening for some of the most popular acts in the format including Rucker, Sam Hunt, Brantley Gilbert, and Kip Moore, the singer/songwriter and performer just wrapped his headlining “Think A Little Less” tour.
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