Country hitmaker Michael Ray is set to release his Higher Education EP, his first new project since 2019, on August 27.
Ray has had a unique experience in the industry, starting out as a one man show before signing to Warner Music Nashville. The Florida native impressed music executives as he booked his own shows (220+ a year), packed them out and performed original material, all without a major promo team behind him. Years later, Ray is ready to share all he’s learned over the years with the release of his new EP.
“I’ll never forget that time in my life when I was fresh out of high school, working a trade I expected to do all my life — splicing cable — and Amos, my grandfather, recognized how much I loved writing and singing Country music,” Ray shares. “He said, ‘You can either look back and say ‘Damn, I wish I would have,’ or ‘Damn, I’m glad I did,’ and the latter is a whole lot easier to live with.’ With that, my band and I made the move to Music City. The next five years I leaned on the insanely talented writers, musicians and touring artists I knew, and the five+ after that I have leaned on this town. I am proud to know them the way I do, to have learned from them, and for them to know me.”
“Higher Education is about going through life and the hard knocks that make you who you are … coming out of it stronger, having let it change you without hardening you. This album reminds me that even though we all go through hard times, we grow and we’re better for it.”
Previously released singles, “Whiskey And Rain” and “Picture,” have given listeners a look into the personal and raw nature of Higher Education.
Ray’s latest release, “Just The Way I Am,” written by Michael Hardy, Ben West and Josh Miller, can be heard above.
Higher Education track list:
1. Whiskey And Rain (Josh Thompson, Jesse Frasure)
2. Just The Way I Am (Michael Hardy, Ben West, Josh Miller)
3. Holy Water (Ashley Gorley, Hunter Phelps, Ben Johnson, Michael Hardy)
4. Picture (Michael Ray, David Garcia, Michael Hardy)
5. Higher Education feat. Kid Rock, Lee Brice, Billy Gibbons and Tim Montana (Tim Montana, Derek George, Jeremy Bussey, Monty Criswell, Frank Rogers)
6. Live Without You (Michael Hardy, Jessi Alexander, Corey Crowder)
7. Didn’t Know I Was Country (Michael Ray, Taylor Phillips, Ashley Gorley)