Michael Ray is an artist with superior vocal abilities and a powerful presence to match. This remarkably humble Florida native leaves an indelible stamp on his audience and all those whom he touches with his music.
Michael grew up in central Florida on ten acres of land, with his entire family living in different homes on various spots of the property. The closeness of his family has become a metaphor for his entire life. “We are a very close clan; we do everything together. My grandparents are my greatest personal influences. I am very lucky to have grown up with the tight-knit family I did,” he says, recalling some of his early memories of being a toddler onstage with his musical family at their nightly gigs. “I had a Kermit the Frog guitar, and my family made sure I was a part of the show.”
Despite his relatively young age, Michael has already performed more shows than most new artists do in their first several years of touring. He started performing publicly as a guest with his grandfather’s band at thirteen years old. At sixteen, Michael started playing at the Florida Sunshine Opry where he began to build his own fan base and had the opportunity to play with a number of country music legends. “I was able to play the Opry in Eustis, Florida where I was fortunate enough to play with Porter Wagoner, Ray Price, and Bobby Bare to name a few.” From the beginning he has been playing the music of Bobby Bare, Hank Williams Sr., Gene Watson, and Earl Thomas Conley. Michael has always had a true love and respect for the founders of country music. You can see it, feel it, and hear it when listening to or watching Michael to this day.
In 2010 Michael was writing with Jeff Hurst and Jeff Bates, when Jeff Bates introduced Michael to Tony Conway, who immediately signed Michael to management. At that point, things really started to move forward for the hard-working and enthusiastic artist.
Michael began touring around the country and was soon sought out to perform on a national television show on the CW Network called “The Next.” The show’s mentors were John Rich (Big & Rich), Gloria Estefan, Nelly, and Joe Jonas (The Jonas Brothers). After appearing in four episodes, Michael won the competition, acclaimed “The Next” by audience vote.
He was subsequently signed to Warner/Chappell as a writer, then to Warner Bros. Records. Award-winning producer Scott Hendricks (Blake Shelton, Keith Urban, Brooks & Dunn, Alan Jackson, and Hank Williams Jr., among others) jumped on board to produce Michael’s debut album for Warner Bros. Records, which is due out in Spring, 2014.
Michael has shared the stage with Alabama, Rodney Atkins, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Brantley Gilbert, Alan Jackson, Jake Owen, and Randy Travis. He has sold out the House of Blues in Orlando, FL six times to date. Michael is making his mark on the country music scene as he continues to tour nationwide, developing his ever-growing fan base.
As Michael embarks on his future in the music industry, he says, “I can’t wait to get out and do what my family instilled in me to do--share the passion and love for country music that I grew up with.”