Orpheum - Ybor City
1902 North Avenue Republica De Cuba
Tampa, FL 33605
7:00 p.m. Friday, March 1, 2013
This event is all ages
Every once in a long while, a special artist comes along whose talent speaks for itself – one for whom a written bio cannot do justice. Michael Ray is that artist, with vocal abilities and powerful presence to match. This remarkably humble 24-year old Florida native leaves an indelible stamp on his audience and all those whom he touches with his music. Stop, look and listen.
Ray grew up in central Florida on 10 acres of land with his entire family living in different homes on various spots of the property. The togetherness 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 in recalling some of his earliest memories of being onstage as a toddler with his musical family at their nightly gigs. "I had a Kermit the Frog guitar and my family made sure I was part of the show."
In "I Am Who I Am", a track off his debut project, he nicely sums himself up: "I got my mamas eyes, my daddy's stubborn pride. I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth…they say I'm too rough round the edges and I still have some figurin' out to do…That's just me…I don't give a damn….I am who I am."
At the ripe age of 16 Ray knew for sure that he wanted to make a career of the musical legacy that had been handed down to him. "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."
It wasn't long before he started expressing himself further by actually penning his own material. "My family has made me very grounded and I believe that this comes through in my song writing. I write things that you can relate to if you are 15 or 50. That is important to me…that the song means something."
This thoughtful approach is evident in Ray's first record, which he recorded with Austin musician/producer Dwight Baker (Kelly Clarkson, Alana Grace, Bleu Edmondson). Ray, who has a true ability to translate his emotions into song, wrote eight of the 16 cuts which he recorded at Ocean Way Studios Nashville.
Noted producer Cory Rooney (Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez) heard Ray in 2008 and stated "Michael has all the elements that I think it takes to be a successful artist in music today," Rooney opines. "My belief in this artist is off the charts. He is really something special."
In mid 2009 Ray returned to Nashville for the first time since recording the album and found himself on stage at the Lower Broadway honky tonks which are so unique to Music City. What happened next surprised even his management team, who are seasoned veterans of this business.
"I am very comfortable on stage so when the house band asked me to get up and sing a song or two with them it was natural…easy…I loved it," Ray said. Co-manager Chris Apostle remembers the moment, "The response to Michael was incredible on and off the stage. He was mobbed by young girls trying to get a touch or a picture," he said of his easy on the eyes young artist. "It is an exciting time for Michael. He is starting to get attention for his talent. And he deserves that." $10.00 - $25.00