We chatted with Haley and Michaels Shannon Haley and Ryan Michaels this past week to catch up with them while they are on their current radio tour.
GCO: Tell me the story behind your current single, “Just Another Love Song”?
H&M: (Ryan) “I don’t know if you’ve heard the story behind it or not, but we were writing the song and referencing “Amazed”, and when we got to the bridge, you know every time it comes on now its like what do you do? We looked over and Reggie is kinda busted into “Amazed” and we didn’t want to interrupt him. So we started weaving our chorus around his chorus, and afterward I looked over at him, and was like “Dude, you should come over to the studio and do it on the record!” So we didn’t actually think he’d do it… (laughs)”
GCO: So you guys are currently on your radio tour right now?
H&M: (Shannon) “Yes we’ve been all over the country, and were getting excited- November 17th is the official add date where were going to be servicing it to radio”
(Ryan) “You know I think obviously you heard it through Sirius XM The Highway, and they really stuck their necks out and added the song, and did incredible things for us and exposed us to so many people all over the country. And then KKGO in Los Angeles and KRTY added the song and we put out our video which went to #1 on CMT Pure and Countdown on GAC and it really just got the ball rolling. So we decided to start our own record company and we partnered with New Revolution, who’s a great independent company that’s got Big and Rich right now and were putting the song out to radio November 17th.”
(Shannon) “It’s an amazing platform, our career changed so much after The Highway added our song, and it has been really cool. We’ve seen them do the same thing for other artists. I think that if you have a song that resonates with it’s really about getting it out there, and so its very cool.”
GCO: Who are y’alls inspirations?
H&M: (Ryan) “When we first realized that we were from the same town, the thing that we connected over was our mutual love of country music and how its cool, because when we were growing up it wasn’t as cool to like country music as it is now, but we both really loved Garth Brooks, as a duo- Brooks and Dunn and how they played off of each other.”
(Shannon) “For me, well for both of us actually, Little Big Town is a really big inspiration for us last year and how they could’ve given up but with perseverance and they told us their whole story of everything they’ve gone through, and now they’re one of the most successful acts in country music and they have not had an easy road. They just stuck with it and its really inspiring and I think their music is just so great. Its really cool to hear about a group that has struggled but just kept going and kept making great music and is now where they wanna be.”
GCO: What can the fans expect from you beyond this EP and the sounds you give up in these 4 songs?
H&M (Shannon) “We’re working on definitely more music all the time, were always writing and were probably gonna be putting out a full length album next year sometime, and another fun thing is if you come see us live, we have a 7 piece band and its a really big show with lots noise and lots energy, we’ve decided its one of our favorite things to do playing with a full band.”
(Ryan) “I think Shannon just said it best, basically we love writing and singing country songs and we also love to rock.”
GCO: As Songwriters, How important is it to y’all to be a part of the music y’all sing?
H&M: (Ryan) “I think its really important, we don’t write all of our songs but we do write most of them, and the biggest reason is because the thing that started Haley and Michaels was really singing together and there isn’t a lead singer, its not like other people necessarily sit down and are writing songs for us and to have conversations with each other so really the best way for us to sing something that really shows what we do is to be involved in the writing process. Sometimes well hear something else, like our cover of “500 Miles” which just works and people respond to it live. The part I think is really important for us to be a part of the writing process.”
(Shannon) “Yeah definitely, writing songs is my favorite part of this entire thing. My biggest passion is songwriting. I get so excited when we have something and get that feeling that it sounds like us. There are a lot of songs we right that just don’t .. (laughs) But is really exciting to write about real life experiences and then get to sing about it and its so fun when they just connect to it, when people just bonded over it going through something together. At the same time we live in Nashville where some of the greatest songs in the whole world came from so we’re never closed off to singing other songs if it feels like us and it hits us and its something we really want to have a part of our artistry.”
GCO: To someone who might not be as familiar with you how would you describe and define your sound?
H&M: (Ryan) “I would say pure duo, you’re gonna hear a lot of both of us singing, and there isn’t going to be one of us being the lead singer on a song. We really think its something we connect with the best with what we perform. We want to sing songs about life and again have substance to them. And I think you’re gonna hear a real organic country music and you’re also gonna hear outside influences that we’ve grown up with and that we try to bring in too to have our own style.”
GCO: Within the Got Country community, everyone raves about your covers- “500 Miles” as well as Hunter Hayes “Wanted”, since y’all accomplish them so well can we expect more in the future and are there any particular covers you would like to try and work on?
H&M: (Shannon) “Thank you so much first of all, that really means a lot, we put a lot of time into, (more than we mean to) and we kind of just get lost in it when were working up our vocals to which cover songs to pick and we really have a good time with it and we really enjoy doing it for fun, but it’s really been awesome that people are being so supportive and that they really like it. I mean I definitely think well be doing more for sure and we don’t have one at the moment were working on but I can tell you that generally when we choose something, we try to choose songs that end up taking on a different meaning when a guy and a girl sing them to each other so we usually won’t do a duet song. We’ll pick song that you wouldn’t necessarily expect to hear two people sing together, and thats kind of our favorite thing to do. I mean maybe Ryan has something up his sleeve but I would say were totally open to suggestion, so if anybody any requests then they can send them our way.”
GCO: Who would be your dream collaboration?
H&M: (Ryan) “I would have to say Garth”
(Shannon) “That would be amazing”
(Ryan) “Garth and Trisha Yearwood, we had a chance to meet both of them after Garth had his comeback, his coming out party where he told everyone he was coming back, he had a show in Las Vegas and we were fortunate enough to be there and he was gracious to invite us backstage because someone we know in the industry I don’t know- tapped them on the shoulder and we had the chance to meet him and Trisha, and the thing we talked about which was so cool was their chemistry singing together so for us as a duo it was really cool to watch them doing their thing so if there’s any way we could ever sing with them that would be amazing.”
GCO: What is something the fans might not know about you?
H&M: (Ryan) “We’ll here’s something, Shannon do you mind if I unveil something not too many people know?
(Shannon) “Yeah, y’all can be the first people to publish it..”
(Ryan) “We haven’t publicly announced but we just got engaged. Its really cool for us, because we started singing together before we were an item, so when we first started doing interviews people would ask if we were a couple and we were kinda dodged it because we didn’t want the focus to be on that. But honestly now that we’ve established ourselves musically its been really nice just to talk to people about it and include people in our lives a little bit more and all that. So yeah were excited that were getting married next year.”
GCO: What can the fans do to help?
H&M: (Ryan) “I can’t emphasize enough that as an independent artist without that all the power that the labels have, its so incredible when fans write in and tweet the radio station, whether Sirius XM The Highway or their local station especially November 17th when Just Another Love Song hits, you just wouldn’t believe it so a lot of people think just a vote or a tweet can’t do much but its actually changed our career in how engaged our fans have been on social media so I would say that would be our #1 hope and much appreciated.”
Ending our conversation Ryan brought to my attention- a song, actually the first song they wrote together, “The Price I Pay” being one to look out for next year as being a big one for them, already winning Song of the Year at the Nashville Independent Music Awards last year. Right now Haley and Michaels not only have the excitement of their radio debut of Just Another Love Song on November 17th, at this time Sirius XM The Highway is also currently airing their cover of The Proclaimer’s 500 Miles. So right now fans can tweet, and comment on The Highway’s Twitter and Facebook how they like H&M’s latest cover and starting November 17th you can start requesting Just Another Love Song at your local radio.
Be sure to go to iTunes to download your copy of Haley and Michael’s EP!