“I’m As Authentically Me As I’ve Ever Been” :


Michael Ray. Photograph: Sean Hagwell

After two hit albums, 5 RIAA Gold-certified songs, and three No. 1 singles, Michael Ray is readying his third mission. The theme is clear on Ray’s social media, and one thing that the Warner Music Nashville artist could be very keen about: ’90s nation.

Ray’s lead single, “Whiskey And Rain,” faucets into the moody, sultry, darker sounds of the ’90s, influenced from two of Ray’s heroes, Gary Stewart and Gary Allan. The monitor was written by Josh Thompson and Jesse Frasure.

“This complete album, all of the songs are throwbacks to what I grew up on within the ’90s. They’ve that ’90s nation music really feel. Throughout [the pandemic], the time has allowed me to get again to my roots of the music that I’ve at all times felt like I wasn’t making fully. ‘Whiskey And Rain’ simply embodied each little bit of that,” Ray advised MusicRow. “We felt like not solely is that catchy melody and hook there, but it surely additionally simply has that throwback to Gary Stewart and Gary Allan—a Bakersfield sort of really feel. I simply felt prefer it was an important introduction to this album.”


Even has the COVID-19 pandemic has halted touring this 12 months, the 32-year-old Ray has continued to honor his ’90s nation heroes by way of a weekly digital sequence, Honkytonk Tuesday, the place he has been joined by nation artists together with Mark Wills, Clint Black, Marty Raybon, Aaron Tippin, Steve Wariner and extra to carry out their favourite ‘80s and ‘90s songs. Ray says he feels a duty to spotlight those that got here earlier than him.

“I simply really feel prefer it’s a part of our job,” Ray stated. “To proceed to shine a light-weight when you’ll be able to on the women and men who’ve paved the way in which for the remainder of us. The women and men that impressed us. There are children listening to me on the radio that perhaps didn’t develop up with Alabama, Tracy Lawrence, or Joe Diffie, but when I could make that child discover ‘The Weekend’ by Steve Wariner, now, impulsively, he’s downloading all of [Wariner’s] stuff.

“That’s the cool factor about Honkytonk Tuesdays. Afterwards I get these messages from followers that may not have heard that tune or didn’t know that’s who sung it, so it’s been inspirational. [When I started it] I used to be bored and wished to do one thing, and I used to be questioning what number of instances folks can hear us sing our personal songs continually on Instagram Dwell, so I wished to do one thing a bit completely different. And I really like nation music. I’m a rustic music fan first.”

Ray introduced in hit songwriter/producer Ross Copperman to helm manufacturing on his upcoming album.

“I’ve identified Ross for a very long time. I actually felt like me and him may make one thing actually cool along with the way in which that he writes and his manufacturing, with that ’90s nation really feel,” Ray stated. “I performed him a whole lot of my older influences, like Tim McGraw and Gary Allan, Mark Chesnutt and on and on with these kind of songs. I wished to get his mindset on if [that music] had been to return out at the moment, how can we make that?”

With Copperman’s manufacturing and Ray’s ’90s-tinged imaginative and prescient, the singer looks like he has made the album he moved to Nashville to make.

“You develop a lot on this profession,” Ray stated. “You impulsively are getting all this new music, and these songwriters who you’ve been wanting as much as and studying their names in CD circumstances, now they’re sending you songs. So that you’re getting all this completely different music and also you’re like, ‘Properly, perhaps I wish to do that.’ I believe from 5 years of rising, and studying increasingly, that is what has at all times felt like what was lacking for me. I’m at all times excited to place out new music, however that is just a bit completely different. I really feel like I’m as authentically me as I’ve ever been.”

“Whiskey And Rain” is available on all platforms now.

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