Michael Ray On Leaving Nashville For Georgia: ‘I Feel Myself Changing’

Michael Ray’s Dive Bars & Broken Hearts EP is out now. The six-song project includes “Hate This Town,” written by Johnny Clawson, Jonathan Kyle Wood and Kaylin Marie Roberson, a song that Ray says personally resonates with him as much as if he had written it himself.

Ray moved to Nashville from his native Eustis, Florida to Nashville, with big dreams of becoming a country music singer like his heroes. Those dreams came true, albeit perhaps at a personal cost, which is why Ray chose to leave the town he loves and relocate to rural Georgia.

“Nashville has given me so much and I love country music more than anything,” Ray tells American Songwriter. “It’s been my saving grace my whole life. But I’m losing myself. I don’t feel myself; I feel myself changing, I feel things getting to me differently than they used to. I think we’ve all been there, where a place that we love so much, a place where you have so many good memories of, all of a sudden isn’t a place that you love so much, and it’s filled with so many different memories. The whole song is about how you never thought a place that you loved so much would be a place that you needed a break from.”

Ray wrote one of the songs, “Don’t Give A Truck,” on Dive Bars & Broken Hearts, but says all of them reflect where he is in life now, and where he sees himself in the future.

“I think it is the first album where it’s 100 percent me,” Ray tells Everything Nash. “I didn’t chase anything. I wasn’t trying to do anything but really be very focused on songs that I wrote, and songs that I got sent that I loved. I knew what I wanted to say. I knew how I wanted the record to be; everything I already had in my mind. And so, because of that, I think that’s why people are gonna hear a difference sonically. They’re hearing a difference vocally. They’re hearing a difference in a lot of ways.”

Ray is also already working on more music, the follow-up to Dive Bars & Broken Hearts, which he is eager to share with the rest of hte world.

“We’re talking about going in soon to start the next side,” Ray hints. “I’m writing, and listening to a lot of songs, getting set up to get in the studio as soon as we can, and not let much time slip by. We want to try to keep things close together. I’m excited.”

Dive Bars & Broken Hearts and all of Ray’s upcoming shows can be found at MichaelRayMusic.com.