Michael Ray joins songwriters, publishers to celebrate No. 1 for “Whiskey and Rain”
62-week climb to the top for writers Josh Thompson and Jesse Frasure
By Preshias Harris for Country Music News International
It was ‘party time’ on April 21 in Nashville: specifically, the Number One party celebrating the chart-topping success of “Whiskey and Rain,” recorded by Michael Ray. The event was held at the popular music venue The Local and hosted by BMI Senior Director David Preston.
Ray was there to share his appreciation for Jesse Frasure and Josh Thompson, the writers of “Whiskey and Rain.” The song represented Frasure’s twentieth No. 1 and the seventh for Thompson. The song was produced by Ross Copperman and is the lead single from Ray’s next album.
During the presentations, it was noted several times that “Whiskey and Rain” was an ‘outside’ song (a song not written by or with the artist or producer or someone closely tied to the project). Outside songs have become more infrequent in recent years – as have songs with only two songwriters.
“It’s so awesome when you have an artist who is not only a badass performer and artist but a songwriter who still listens to those outside songs,” said Rhythm House’s Stevie Frasure.
Songwriter Jesse Frasure reiterated his wife’s sentiments when it was his turn at the mic, adding, “For writers and publishers, outside songs are the ‘holy grail.’ We still believe they exist but they are getting harder to find.”
Josh Thompson said, “Michael Ray just crushed [the song]. He took it to the next level. It felt like a smash to me the first time I heard [his recording] and I thank God that it translated to Country radio.”
Taking the stage, Michael Ray made a point of recognizing the role that BMI’s David Preston has played in his music career. He noted that David was the first – in fact the only – person in Nashville to take a meeting with him.
Ray recalled that it was Preston who advised him to go back to Florida, put a band together and become the best band in the state, as part of his career development.
On a personal note, I first met Michael Ray and fellow Floridian singer-songwriter Jeff Hurst back in 2010. I had flown to Orlando to see Michael do an acoustic set as an opening act for Danny Gokey at the Hard Rock Café. Michael looked like a star, sang like a star and controlled the stage like a star. I knew from that moment that he had a huge career in the making.
During the Number One party, Ray paid tribute to his team at WEA, echoing Big Machine Music’s Mike Molinar who had said, “We know that there are so many teams behind each of the people here on stage, especially the Warner Brothers promo team, A&R team, art and creative. We know how hard it is to get a No. 1 these days.”
In addition to its chart-topping status, “Whiskey and Rain,” Ray’s fourth Number One, has racked up 210 million global streams so far. The song follows his previous chart leaders “Kiss You in the Morning” (released 2015), “Think a Little Less” (2016) and ”One That Got Away” (2018).
Ray recognized the people in the team who stuck with the song throughout its grueling 62-week climb up the charts and helped make it his first two-week No. 1 song.
Addressing the subject of recording an ‘outside’ song, Ray said that many of his heroes cut outside songs. “We’re a town that was built on songwriters,” he emphasized. “It means more to me than y’all know to say that I did not write this song.”
Ray expressed his belief that both Josh Thompson and Jesse Frasure were future Hall of Fame songwriters and mentioned that he had just placed another of Thompson’s songs on hold. He added, “Thank you so much for giving me a ‘career song’.”
Pinnacle Bank made a donation to St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Thompson’s name and to Wags and Walks in Frasure’s name.
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