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Music

Michael Ray

By Music No Comments

This week on the Here’s What We Know Podcast, host Gary Scott Thomas had the pleasure of sitting down with a talented country artist with four No. 1 hits under his belt, none other than Michael Ray. Join us as he shares his journey from humble beginnings to becoming one of country music’s top artists. This unique conversation explores not just the glitz and glamour but also reveals what happens behind the scenes in creating his unforgettable music. He also highlights his new album, the art of staying true to your style, and the grind behind success in music.

Listen to this episode filled with laughter and nostalgia as we dive deep into the world of country music!

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In This Episode:

  • New Music Ventures: Learn about his exciting collaboration with producer Michael Knott as they take a fresh approach to crafting new music.
  • Musical Influences: Discover how traditional country musicians like top and modern-day singers have shaped his musical tastes.
  • The Journey to Artistic Identity: Hear about the challenges artists face in finding their true identity amidst industry trends and public opinions.
  • Country Music and Personal Experiences
  • Best Voices in Country Music History: Naming some of the best voices in country music history based not on popularity but pure vocal talent

Quotations:

“You have to be very okay with people liking you and not liking you. And people have an opinion that don’t even know you, you know, good and bad. And so really knowing who you are at the core is, it takes time, man, you know, and it takes time to have that confidence to stand up, go, here’s who I am, here’s what I’m singing, or here’s what I’m acting or doing, or, you know, whatever, here’s my business, here’s what we are.” ~ Michael Ray

“It’s all about the journey and the process  to get to where you’re going.” ~ Michael Ray

Guest’s Bio:

Michael Ray is an American country music singer known for his soulful voice, engaging stage presence, and chart-topping hits. Born in Eustis, Florida, he developed a passion for music at a young age and began performing in local venues as a teenager. Ray’s career took off after he won the reality TV singing competition “The Next: Fame Is at Your Doorstep” in 2012. This victory helped him secure a recording contract, and he released his self-titled debut album in 2015, featuring hit singles like “Kiss You in the Morning” and “Think a Little Less.” His music draws from traditional country roots while incorporating a modern edge, making him a favorite among both country purists and contemporary country music fans. Ray’s energetic and heartfelt performances have endeared him to a wide audience, and he has continued to release successful albums, including “Amos” (2018) and “Higher Education” (2021). Throughout his career, Michael Ray has earned critical acclaim and numerous award nominations, cementing his status as a prominent figure in the country music industry. He remains an artist to watch for future chart-topping hits and captivating live performances, solidifying his place in the world of American country music.

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Craig Campbell

By Music No Comments

This week on the Here’s What We Know Podcast, our host Gary Scott Thomas wrapped up a truly inspiring episode. Our special guest, the talented musician and owner of The Grindstone Cowboy, Craig Campbell, shared his journey from being a gigging piano player to owning his own stage. He touched on the highs and lows of his career but emphasized that he feels most at home when performing live.

As an artist who believes in staying true to one’s style despite industry trends, this musician is proof that tenacity pays off! Join us so you can hear more of Craig’s story, filled with passion, determination, and an unwavering love for music.

This episode is sponsored by:

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In This Episode:

  • Discover the Grindstone Cowboy coffee shop.
  • Learn about Glenn Campbell’s influence on his career after an enlightening visit to his museum in Nashville.
  • Hear about the transformative power of Clint Black’s Killing Time and Tracy Lawrence‘s Sticks and Stones cassettes in his life.
  • Get insights into the backstage life at Opry performances and his fascination with artists’ stories.
  • Understand why introducing himself as a piano player rather than a singer made it easier for him to get gigs in Nashville.
  • Discuss the challenges faced during extreme weather conditions while performing live shows, from freezing colds to intense heatwaves!
  • Converse about learning instruments without formal training.
  • Explore what fear means when chasing dreams on stage.
  • Discuss the songwriting process and fan reactions.
  • Frustrations within the music industry.
  • Learn why some songs wait 20 years before getting recorded due to their enduring impact despite a lack of initial support.
  • Family Man, a personal favorite written during Mindy’s pregnancy, perfectly represents who he is as an artist.

Quotations:

“I just sat back and was just like in love, in love with all the songs and the singing.” ~ Craig Campbell

“It was easier for me to introduce myself here in Nashville as a piano player as opposed to a singer because, you know, everybody here is a singer.” ~ Craig Campbell

“It’s just the icing on the cake whenever you’re doing a song that you wrote or that you recorded and you poured your heart and soul into it. And then people loved it enough to, first of all, learn the words. And then second of all, buy a ticket to your show and then sing it back to you.” ~ Craig Campbell

“I’ve always craved being on stage, playing, and singing.” ~ Craig Campbell

Guest’s Bio:

Craig Campbell is an American country music singer, songwriter, and pianist who is blessed with a deep, expressive voice. Born in Lyons, Georgia, Campbell grew up as one of five children in a blended family. His parents divorced when he was young, leaving his oldest sister to take care of the siblings while his mom worked many jobs. Campbell saw his biological father every other weekend until his dad died when he was 11 years old. He played piano at his mother’s Baptist church from the age of ten until he was 18. He first heard the sounds of gospel music before seeing and listening to Travis Tritt, who was one of the reasons why he immediately fell in love with country music. Craig’s style was similar to Tritt’s gospel-like delivery in his songs. When he was 15, he formed a band called Out of the Blue and began playing the bar circuit, learning how to put together a performance and capture an audience. 

Craig moved to Nashville, Tennessee, in 2002 in hopes of pursuing his musical career. He took on several musician jobs and began writing his songs and demos. Fellow Georgian Luke Bryan suggested Campbell try his hand at writing his own songs, and in time he mastered the craft, honing his original material at gigs. He met another singer, Mindy Ellis, fell in love, and the pair married; he also began playing piano in her band, which in turn led to a touring stint with Tracy Byrd. Keith Stegall caught one of Campbell’s performances at The Stage in 2008, and the young singer was soon signed to Bigger Picture. Starting in 2010, “Family Man” and “Outta My Head” both cracked the Top 15 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart, while others like the hook-in-cheek “Fish” snagged more than 10 million on-demand streams. “Keep Them Kisses Comin’” became a bona fide Top 10 hit, while “Outskirts of Heaven” showed an artist sensitive enough to share his soul and courageous enough to stand on conviction. The uplifting critical smash has been praised by Rolling Stone, Taste of Country, and more as a spiritual high-water mark.

In the summer of 2018, Campbell released his first new music in five years with his “See You Try” EP on Broken Bow. The title track became an instant crowd-pleaser with its confident, flirty lyrics and boot-stompin’ melody. When Bigger Picture closed, Campbell took it with him to BBR and pitched it to his circle of producers over a four-year time frame, which resulted in a resounding “no.” But Campbell’s gut-wrenching conviction and the listeners’ unwavering approval finally paved the way for Campbell to recut and completely own the current version. And he learned a few strong life and career lessons in the process.

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Barry Dean

By Fun, Music, Personal Growth, TV No Comments

This week on the Here’s What We Know Podcast, we’re again shining a spotlight on a remarkable figure in the music industry, the exceptionally talented songwriter Barry Dean. Listen in and hear more of his incredible story as he shares his reflections on his past experiences and the power of collaboration and friendship in his musical journey. Barry believes success isn’t merely about individual achievement but rather collective growth, camaraderie, innovation, and resilience against the odds.

This episode is sponsored by:

Winchester Western Wear is offering 20% off to the GST community! Be sure to tell them Gary sent you.

In This Episode:

  • The Grammy Experience
  • Celebrating Talents
  • Unveiling Personalities
  • Admiration for Stalwarts
  • Natural Talent Vs Effort
  • Networking and Interaction at Awards Shows
  • Beyond Music: Industry Engagement  
  • Nostalgic Musical Discussions  
  • Business Side Of Music  
  • Reinterpretations in Music
  • The Nashville Scene
  • Radio Influence
  • Appreciating Professionals

Quotations:

“I just wish you could select to watch the crowd the whole time. I don’t have any interest in the stage. I just want to watch all those people working the room and their interactions. That’s the part I’m most interested in.” ~ Barry Dean

“They work and you know this because you do it. And also, you know, these artists do it. They work so much more than I think.” ~ Barry Dean

“The same 400 songs. And you don’t know what you want. There is a delight that comes from when you do that. You curate it and you say, this is how it feels today at, at three o’clock or whatever. Even when you’re sitting in at your desk with all the CDs or I am with all the stuff. I don’t know what to do. You know, and so there is something to that for me, at least it’s magical. ” ~ Barry Dean

Guest’s Bio:

Barry Dean is a highly accomplished songwriter in both country and pop music genres based in Nashville, Tennessee. Barry’s remarkable talents have earned him a Grammy nomination in the category of Best Country Song for his work on Tim McGraw’s “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools”. Barry remains filled with awe every time he hears one of his songs playing on the radio. When you consider his journey, it’s astonishing to think that he once thought he might end up working a 9-to-5 job in Kansas. His portfolio boasts an impressive array of chart-topping hits, including two No. 1 singles for Little Big Town (“Pontoon” and “Day Drinkin'”), “Think a Little Less,” which dominated the charts for Michael Ray, “Heartache Medication,” the most recent #1 hit for Jon Pardi, Ingrid Michaelson’s Top 40 sensation “Girls Chase Boys,” and an ever-expanding list of country and pop hits. These accomplishments underscore that Barry Dean is undeniably living out his true calling.

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Michael McLeavy

By Fun, Movies, Music, Personal Growth, TV No Comments

This week, we had an insightful discussion with Michael McLeavy, a renowned singer from Glasgow, Scotland, who shared his musical odyssey, from forming his own rock band to touring extensively. In the journey of life, it’s often our passions that guide us towards a fulfilling career path, and his story is one of determination and seizing opportunities, a testament to how impactful inspirations like Elvis Presley can shape our style and vision.

Tune in to hear more about how Michael and his ventures brought him into contact with notable personalities within the entertainment industry, further expanding his network.

A key takeaway? Be open to new experiences, as they may lead you down unexpected paths filled with potential growth opportunities.

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In This Episode:

  • The Birth of a Star
  • Rocking the World
  • Lights, Camera, Action!
  • A Beautiful Bond: A Relationship with Sharon Tate
  • Meeting an Icon: An Encounter With Elvis Presley
  • Island Life and Hustle: Work Experience In Hawaii
  • Wisdom Gained Along The Way: Life Lessons

Quotations:

“How can we do to improve ourselves? Well, you know, don’t let the old man in, as Clint Eastwood says, keep the old man out. Right. So do the things that you still like to do, that you did do, and within reason, do it.”  ~ Michael McLeavy

“I did it. Because the challenge was there. There’s always a challenge. You need some sort of challenge.” ~ Michael McLeavy

Guest’s Bio:

Michael McLeavy was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and his journey in the world of music began with the renowned Rock N Roll band “The Fireflies.” He Came to the United States to further his career and to meet Elvis Presley in person. His fortune smiled upon him, as he had the incredible opportunity to spend the day with him on the set of one of his movies, “Spinout”, and backstage at the International (Hilton) in Las Vegas. Notably, Michael had the privilege of performing the American, Canadian, and British National Anthems at the Highland Games in Dana Point, California, on August 24th and 25th, 2013. Also, he had the distinct honor of delivering both the American and British National Anthems at the British American Business Council Orange County on December 2nd, 2016. Michael has lived in Dana Point with his wife, Linda, since 1989.

He is an Entertainer and just released his latest CD, “Try A Little Kindness” recorded in Nashville, Tennessee.

Guest’s Contact Info: