Interview: Country Duo Haley & Michaels talk Life, Country Music & Passion

Country fans! It is my pleasure to say I got to spend some time asking a few questions to the fabulous music duo Haley & Michaels. These two first performed on the Today Show, and hit the music scene ground running and have been on fire ever since. Landing on Vent’s Magazine, Big Country Thoughts “Artists to Watch in 2017” is absolutely well deserved the second you start listening to their voices. Their current single “The Price I Pay” has 173K+ streams on Spotify here and as someone who’s not a huge country fan, I loved every second of it.

Please take a look below for my interview (and find out some awesome thoughts about these lovely & happily married country duo!)

It may be cliché but I need to ask did you guys sing one of your lovely songs at your wedding? (Many congrats on getting married!)                                                          

Thank you so much! We actually didn’t sing live at our wedding, but we did play the recording of our song “Giving It All (To You)” as Shannon walked down the aisle.

 For each of you, Haley and Michaels, may I ask what drew you to country in particular that led you into such a love for it?                                                                

 We both grew up in families who listened to country music. Shannon’s Mom was always playing it and Ryan’s Dad was a pedal steel player. We both felt drawn to the honesty in the lyrics more than anything. It always felt (and still does) healing and uplifting to listen to songs about real life and realize that other people have gone through a similar experience that you’ve gone through, or are going through. It’s always been a powerful outlet for us. 

You are the first country music duo I’ve ever listened to and listening to your songs on Spotify I feel you are singing your hearts out. So I am curious after you crossed paths and mutually discovered your shared interest in music what first inspired the idea to strike out into the music industry?                                                                   

Thank you so much, that means a lot! We were both pursuing individual careers in music before we met. We have always had that dream. But when we met, we sang a song together at a show Ryan had booked at The Roxy Theater in Los Angeles. Soon after we sat down to write and after we wrote our first song, we knew we wanted to become a duo and pursue music together. 

If you each had to pick one country artist who’s music inspires your own passion who would it be and why?                                                                                      

Shannon: I would pick the band Little Big Town. I heard them give an amazing talk about their journey in life and music. They have been through so much as individuals and together and they have overcome so many obstacles, all while maintaining their integrity and passion for music. It’s just so inspiring to see perseverance pay off like that. They also happen to make some of my favorite music ever, so that in it of itself is incredibly inspiring!

Ryan: Someone who has always inspired me is Garth Brooks. I have always heard that he has an incredible work ethic, and that he is one of the kindest most genuine people in the business. We had the chance to meet him in Las Vegas and he was exactly that. Musically, I’ve always been inspired by him as an artist because he brings a lot of rock and attitude to country songs. 

What’s different about your experience in joining the country music industry since you choose to sing together?

 The biggest difference industry-wise is probably the way we are able to divide and conquer and get a lot more done as a team. We have learned each other’s strengths and as a result we are able to accomplish a lot. 

Is there any story or reason behind why you chose to sing as a duo? 

We were big fans of each other’s music. When we sang together and felt such a strong chemistry and blend between our vocals, it just felt like it was meant to be and we knew we wanted to sing together from then on. 

When I hear you sing you sound melodious and somehow balance each other out while only adding to the sheer joy of hearing you both together in each song. When you sit down to write your music do you do that together as well bouncing your thoughts off each other?

 Thank you! We definitely do try to stay balanced and play off of one another’s voices. We try to have conversations within songs, when the song calls for it, so there is a lot of bounding ideas and vocals back and forth. Sometimes it all happens very naturally and other times we’re singing right over one another, and it probably sounds like a big song fight. Most of all, we are trying to strike that balance of sharing the lead whenever possible.  We want to be able to relate to our listeners so it’s important to us to have the male and female perspectives represented in our songs.

 If you could give any advice to aspiring musicians wanting to go into this business what would you say from what you’ve learned so far? 

This is a tough business. There are so many talented people who deserve success. One thing we have learned is that Nashville has so much to teach. If you can keep yourself open and listen to the people who have done it before, even if sometimes what they say is hard to hear, you will only grow from it. If you can get people to be honest with you about your music, there is no greater gift.

I learned you were asked to perform on the Today show after Hoda listened and fell in love with your song “Giving it All to You.” What do you remember most or truly stuck with you when you performed on the Today show for the first time?

 It was such an amazing experience as a whole. The main thing that stuck out then and still sticks with us now was looking over in the corner of the room while we were performing and seeing Hoda singing along to all of the words. That was one of the coolest moments of our lives!

Last but certainly not least what makes you nerd or “fangirl” out with passion and enthusiasm? 

Ryan “fangirls out” all the time. Haha. But Star Wars makes both of us nerd and fan girl out. We have life size star wars characters downstairs in our studio. They scare people often. Our cats are also named after characters. Also, getting to see our favorite artists play is always a major “nerd” and “fangirl” moment! 

About me: I was born a Buckeye and grew up a Hoosier. Dreamer, lover of instrumental music and drinker of way too much iced chai tea from Starbucks. I’m a fantasy book reader, tv review fanatic (I just love seeing what people think ok? haha), tumblr aficionado, and extremely happy to be writing here! Favorite book: The Last Lecture Favorite movie: Titanic Favorite Quote: “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand” ~Randy Pausch