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Here at Keepin’ It Country, we take a lot of pride in introducing our fans to new artists who are primed to be the next big thing. Today, we’d like you to meet Michael Ray, a future country superstar from Florida who’s determined to make success happen the old-fashioned way. There are no shortcuts in-store for Michael, who recently signed a deal with Warner Music.
We chatted with him about everything from his early days playing music with his grandpa to his influences and his brief stint on reality TV. Throughout the interview, his genuine love of country music and its fans truly shone through and we couldn’t be more excited to watch his star continue to rise over the next few years.
Born into a musical family in Eustis, Florida, Michael Ray was always surrounded by music. His father, grandfather, cousin and uncle had a band, and from the moment Michael could walk, he had a guitar in his hand. At the ripe old age of ten, he decided to start pursuing music and joined forces musically with none other than his grandpa.
“I joke all the time – I had probably 3 friends that were my age and everyone else was older. I was like the adopted grandson of like 20 different sets of grandparents.” Michael laughs as he recalls playing shows all through middle school and high school with his grandfather and his elderly friends. “A lot of them would come down to Florida for the winter and that’s when we’d get busy. They were all retired and they weren’t around their families, so I’d step in. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It helped form who I am today and gave me a real soft spot for old people.”
For those not yet familiar with Ryan Beaver, we want to change that for you. The Texan musician/singer-songwriter has released two albums independently and built quite the loyal following in and around his home state. In our exclusive interview, we discuss his inspirations, his recent move to Nashville, George Strait and more.
KIC: For those readers who may be ‘meeting’ you for the first time in this blog, can you give us a little bit of a back story as to how you began performing?
RB: I’ve always had a love affair for music, songs, instruments, & musicians. It began very young as my Mother played piano and my Father played his records. It was always a special thing for me that developed over time. Eventually I couldn’t stop thinking about it day in and out and began to write songs. It’s like an infectious disease. Once you catch it, there is no cure.
KIC: You’ve released two albums independently, with the most recent coming out in 2011. What’s next for you?
RB: A third album is in the works. I should be recording it this fall and will be looking forward to its release. I’ll give it everything I have and it still won’t feel done. That’s just how I am. I can’t wait to share my new songs and stories with the fans of what I do. I also can’t believe how lucky I am to be calling this a job.
It’s the eve of the release of “Wasted on Love,” the first single from country piano-man Josh Charles. The song will be released via Downhome Records/ THC: Music/Ingrooves/Fontana, and is Charles’s first single since 2011′s critically-acclaimed “Life Ain’t Fair.” In addition to releasing his single this month, Josh recently went to Nashville, where he recorded with Grammy Award winner, Toby Wright and he’ll be backed by Blake Shelton‘s touring band, Rob Byus, Tracy Broussard, Kevin Post and Beau Tackett.
We discussed his background, who he’d LOVE to duet with, country music in NYC, his oddest job (hint: I’ve fallen and I can’t get up) and more! Plus, what’s it like to open for Blake Shelton? Read on to find out!