“Since I did live in a small town,” he said, “people were into country. I grew up loving country as much as classic rock and folk, listening to people like Garth and Dwight Yoakam as well as James Taylor. My music has a rock edge but I also really love the classic country artists, the ones who inspired the people who inspired me,” says Country musician David Ray.
Ray always knew he wanted a career in music. Growing up in Michigan, Ray learned to play on his dad’s guitar and knew that playing it was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.
As he grew older, though, dreams gave way to reality, and the truth is that the odds are against you when it comes to becoming a Country star. He hedged his bets by getting a degree from Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, continuing his passion for music on the side. He ended up playing regularly as a solo acoustic artist at The Cabin, a major college hangout in the mid-Michigan area. From time to time he goes back to play the place where he first honed his skills in front of an audience.
After graduation, he’d hoped to follow his dreams and move to Nashville to pursue music while putting his degree to good use teaching in an area school. In spite of getting certified to teach in Nashville, no jobs were available and Ray ended up taking a teaching position in Southern Florida.
The fates, it seems, were to follow him wherever he went. Though he wasn’t in Music City, Country music capital of the world, opportunity knocked on Ray’s door in Southern Florida.
“I think it worked out for the best,” Ray says of moving to Florida. He learned about Kenny Chesney’s “Next Big Star” competition and decided to enter, first auditioning solo and then assembling a band to perform with a couple weeks after he’d been accepted. He won the competition, and soon found himself opening for Chesney in front of 15,000 country music fans.
With this success, Ray made the move to Nashville last summer to pursue music full time. He began performing as often as he could, including acoustic sessions at Pick’s Nashville and The Bluebird Café, and at honky tonks like Cadillac Ranch and Paradise Park on Lower Broadway. He still returns to Florida to play on occasion too, including twice singing the National Anthem at the annual KISS Country Chili Cook Off in Pembroke Pines near Fort Lauderdale, opening the festivities which included huge acts like Martina McBride, Trace Adkins, Justin Moore, Little Big Town and The Band Perry.
This month, Ray will showcase and release his new album, The Man In Me, during CMA Fan Fair. The album was recorded at Nashville’s The Tracking Room with studio manager, Dan Mitchell, and will be released by TCM Records Nashville. It features sure-to-be hits like “She Makes Me,” “Back To You,” and the title track, “The Man In Me.”
For music and more information, check out davidray.com