Before we begin our feature we want to take a moment to wish everyone a very happy Independence Day, hoping we all take a moment to turn our focus to those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice through the years, so that we can enjoy our freedoms.

Today we turn our attention to a singer and songwriter that came to Nashville as a protege of John Rich, and became the winner a singing contest program. But this young star's future began long before being mentored by the Big & Rich co-founder.

The 4th Annual Georgia On My Mind presented by Jameson Irish Whiskey at Ryman Auditorium on May 16, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.
photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images Entertainment

Born and raised in Eustis, Fl, Michael Ray was no stranger to country music growing up. Ray father, Jerry Roach, grandfather and cousins had their own band, Country Cousins that played across Florida, with young Michael beginning to get on stage with the band as young as 4 or 5 years old. When the group disbanded, Michael continued to perform with grandfather, the elder Roach teaching Michael to play guitar by age 9.

Ray continued to play locally through high school, and after graduation in 2006, moved to Nashville, putting together his own band and performed locally around Music City. In 2012 he was selected to participate on the CW Network's The Next: Fame Is On Your Doorstep. The slow selected it's participants from local musicians based on their social media presence, as well as previous experience working with larger name acts. Ray would be selected representing Orlando, FL and placed under John Rich's mentorship.

2016 CMT Music Awards - Show
Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT

Ray would quickly become Rich's only protege as all of the mentor's other participants were eliminated in the first of 5 viewer votes. But Ray would be the only one needed as he would go on to win the contest and be awarded a recording contract with Atlantic Records. He would show his appreciation to Rich by writing the song "Run Away With You" for Big and Rich, which would become a top-10 hit for the duo in 2015.

Ray would release his debut single "Kiss You In The Morning" in February of 2015. And while it wasn't critically well received, it sold over 300,000 copies and hit number 1 on August 22nd. He released a debut EP that shared the songs title on April 28th, and on August 7th, his self-titled debut album. Two more singles would be released from the album, including the #2 hit "Think A Little Less", co-written with Thomas Rhett.

NCAA March Madness Music Festival 2017 - Day 1
Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for Turner Sports

Ray has been in the studio, working on a follow-up to his debut album, and we have the lead single from that project in our spotlight today. Brought to you by All American Super Car Wash of Lawton, Michael Ray and "Get To You" is today's Catch of the Day, new music you haven't heard, but you'll want to hear it again.

Text today's key word to 580 353-1013 and you will be entered into a drawing for a $25 gift card from All American Super Car Wash of Lawton, who brings you new music every day, the Catch of the Day on Oklahoma's Best Country, KLAW101.

Today's Key Word: "RAY"

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