He may have a pair of number one singles to his name, but Michael Ray knows better than most how to best cultivate a dedicated fanbase. “Nothing is better than doing it one fan at a time,” the country singer says with steely determination. The man speaks from personal experience: before breaking out with his 2015 self-titled debut, an eclectic musical articulation of a time-tested talent featuring twin smash singles in “Kiss You in the Morning” and “Think a Little Less,” Ray spent years building a hardcore audience in his native Florida. With one name-making show after the next, the Eustis, Florida native built a grassroots following never caring the size, scope or reach of his show. Nonetheless, his rowdy, high-energy and rock-influenced live performances, which drew inspiration from Garth Brooks’ use of passion and spectacle, soon took hold and quickly saw him selling out 2,000-seat venues in cities from Orlando to Tallahassee. But he was never satisfied: as he’s proven in the years since, having moved to Nashville and grinded for years as a songwriter before leading a major-label record deal, hard work doesn’t scare Ray. It’s why even now, as he readies to release his much-anticipated sophomore album, anchored by its fast-rising lead single “Get To You,” the singer still believes each live show he performs is undoubtedly essential.
"I hear the crowd, I look around, and I can't find one empty chair. Not bad for a girl going nowhere" sings Ashley McBryde on "Girl Goin' Nowhere," the seminal title track from her forthcoming LP. They're words built from experience: over the course of her life, growing up in Arkansas, McBryde's been finding her own way to fill those seats and sway those hearts since the very first time her teacher told her that her dreams of writing songs in Nashville would never see the light of day. Every time she was brought down, she persevered; trusting her timeless tone and keen, unwavering eye for the truth. It paid off. In April, Eric Church brought her on stage and called her a "whiskey-drinking badass," confessing that he's a massive fan. The rest of the world is quickly catching on, too.
Musicians On Call
Proceeds benefits Musicians On Call, a nonprofit organization that brings live and recorded music to the bedsides of patients in healthcare facilities. By delivering live, in-room performances to patients undergoing treatment or unable to leave their beds, Musicians On Call adds a dose of joy to life in a healthcare facility. Since 1999, their volunteer musicians have performed for nearly half a million patients and their families. With your help, they can do even more.