In celebration of Easter this weekend, Michael Ray is sharing with Sounds Like Nashville a special life and faith lesson he’s learned from his father.
A Eustis, FL native, Ray grew up in the Christian faith with his family. Sundays would typically find them worshiping and getting their weekly dose of God’s word at Cassia Baptist Church. Most recently, the country star trekked back to his old stomping ground to spotlight it as the religious backdrop for his “Holy Water” music video.
“That church dates back to 1889. There are photos of so many great grandparents before me sitting in that same building but in a pew that’s just a board at that time. The bible dates back to Civil War time, and the picture above the pulpit has been there since my grandpa was a kid,” Ray shares with a smile.
“I grew up having vacation bible school on that ground too. To have a full-circle moment to bring us back to that congregation and see some light being shined on the church that helped grow me as a kid really was special,” he adds.
Last month, the singer also made an appearance on the Jesus Calling podcast to talk about the pivotal role his grandfather, Amos, played in his upbringing.
“My grandfather was such a loving, big-hearted person,” Ray reflects. “‘Real Men Love Jesus’ was a song that when I heard it, it just made me think of him. It made me think of who he was as a man, not only just who he was, but who his brothers are, all the men in my hometown,” he says of his 2015 track. “Nobody’s perfect, but they’re always striving to be and trying to do the best they can, like everybody else is.”
Besides Amos, Ray also credits his faith and upbringing to his father, Jerry. He vividly recalls a story he was told as a kid that, to this day, remains etched in his mind. In fact, this real-life narrative has been one that’s grounded him in the hustle and bustle of his career.
“When my dad was younger, he had a preacher tell him that God has already made this person, so he needs you,” Ray says. “That’s why you have your own fingerprints. He needs you. He already has this other person for another reason. “I think that’s something that’s helped me out through life and especially in the music industry.”
“Yes, everyone has a different path. But you’re on your path for a reason,” he adds. “God made you for a purpose and He made them for a purpose. Everyone is here for a reason.”
“It’s really easy in this day and age with social media to compare yourself to people and things that aren’t even real half the time,” he continues, “but remembering that you are your own person, with your own purpose and path, keeps things in perspective.”