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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.”
If you find yourself in the Nashville area at the end of this month, you won’t want to miss this great opportunity to support our fellow country music bloggers CountryMusicIsLove and the City of Hope!
CountryMusicIsLove is proud to announce the 3rd Annual CountryMusicIsLove Concert benefiting City of Hope, one of the nation’s leading research, treatment and education centers for cancer and other life-threatening diseases. This year’s concert will feature acoustic performances by Micheal Ray, Chris Cavanaugh, Kristen Kelly, THE FARM, JT Hodges, Chuck Wicks, Love and Theft, Casey James, and Craig Campbell. Whitney Duncan will do double duty as host and performer for the second year in a row.
The cause hits close to home for many of the artists, including Casey James. “My family has been massively affected by cancer,” James shares. “My Paw-Paw passed away last year from cancer. My Nana passed away from cancer and my mother is a two-time cancer survivor, thyroid and breast. I can go on and on. There’s a large history of that in my family. Anything I can do to help and to do my part to make things better, I’ve always been into doing that, so it was an honor to be asked to come out and play. I’m excited to play the music and come see the fans, but most excited just to be a part of the whole thing.”
The 3nd Annual CountryMusicIsLove Concert benefiting City of Hope will be held February 21, 2012 at 7:30pm at Exit/In in Nashville, Tenn. Tickets are $15 and 100% of tickets sales will be donated to City of Hope. Tickets are available here: http://bit.ly/cmiltickets.
Please visit http://www.countrymusicislove.com/2012-benefit-concert for additional information.