Michael Ray knows what hard work is all about.
The country singer has come a long way in the music scene since his win in the 2012 reality competition series “The Next: Fame Is at Your Doorstep.” He was mentored by country singer John Rich.
Capitalizing on the win, Ray took some time to record his self-titled debut album in 2015.
The lead single, “Kiss You in the Morning,” hit No. 1 on the country charts.
The singles that followed – “Real Men Love Jesus” and “Think a Little Less” – both climbed the charts, with the latter reaching No. 2.
Ray is back with his sophomore album, “Amos,” which is named after his grandfather. The album debuted on June 1 at No. 5 on the country charts.
Ray played in his grandfather’s band beginning at age 9.
He credits his grandfather in helping shape him both personally and professionally.
“I wanted to put together an album that represented where I was coming from and how much he meant to me,” Ray says. “I took my time in getting the tracks together so when the album is played, it is done so like a story.”
The first single, “Get to You,” had a top 15 run on the charts, and his latest single, “One That Got Away,” continues to rise toward the top 20 on the country charts.
Ray went into the studio and recorded 16 tracks. He then had to whittle it down to the 11 on the album.
“The hardest part of this process was to get the list down to 11 songs,” he says. “We’ve poured so much into the project that each piece was important. But I was looking for it to be as cohesive as it could be. In the end, I’m really proud of this album and what it represents.”