The country music duo of Shannon Haley and Ryan Michaels, or Haley & Michaels as they are most popularly known, have a better “how did you two meet?” story than most.
In 2012, Haley and Michaels were playing with the same guitar player in different cities of the United States. Haley was based primarily in Los Angeles. Michaels was in Nashville.
When the guitarist organized a meeting between the two at Frothy Monkey in Nashville, Haley and Michaels discovered that they had grown up just three miles apart in a small town of northern California, and that their mothers had tried to introduce them seven years earlier.
Because of their pasts, there was immediate chemistry, and Haley and Michaels decided to work with one another. “That kind of began the whole thing” says Haley. The couple started their music career and got married in 2015.
The first song they ever wrote was “The Price I Pay,” a piece about two people who are leading separate lives in different cities, but who both miss each other and don’t know it. Haley acknowledges that while the song is somewhat sad, it stresses the importance of communication.
“If you are missing someone, tell them,” she says, adding that the demo of ‘The Price I Pay’ debuted in 2013 and “got our whole groove started.” Soon the song was featured on CMT’s website, as well as a number of radio stations like the Top Ten Countdown, The Nashville Network and The Country Network.
“The Price I Pay” has re-entered the lives of Haley and Michaels three years after its inception. On December 9th, the duo released the official version of the song as a teaser for their soon-to-be released album “Taking Off. ” “Drinking About You,” which was released in July, is another single on the project.
According to Michaels, the title of the album refers to an individual’s ability to take off in any aspect of life whether a career, relationship, an ambition and more. The title certainly seems appropriate for Haley & Michaels, since the duo is up-and-coming in the country music scene.
A number of their songs like “500 Miles,” “One More Night to Break,” “Just Another Love Song” and “Giving It All (To You)” have gained traction thanks in large part to SiriusXM’s The Highway, a commercial-free country music station that serves as a strong platform for rising country stars. In 2015, they were asked to perform “Giving It All (To You)” on NBC’s Today Show and in 2016, they appeared on The Huffington Post’s Artists-to-Watch list.
Despite the success of these recent songs, Haley and Michaels acknowledge that their favorite piece to perform remains “The Price I Pay.” It not only cemented their relationship — “We always joke that we fell in love writing a breakup song,” says Michaels — but also served as a model for their future works.
“When we wrote the song, just kind of organically, we had a conversation in the song,” he continues. “Neither one of us was the lead singer, but we were really singing together the whole time. So this song is special for us, because it really is a template for how we arrange all of our vocals across the board moving forward.”
The rest of their songs do follow the style of “The Price I Pay.” Haley and Michaels either harmonize or sing back-and-forth as if they were having a conversation. And therein lies their taking off point: although neither takes a vocal lead in a song, together they are taking a vocal lead in country music.
Haley & Michaels have played across the United States, have sold more than 150,000 units independently, and they are expected to release “Taking Off” in 2017.