I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Haley & Michaels. The country music duo shared their experiences as artists, teaming up with the San Francisco 49ers with their inspirational single “Hail Mary,” and how they continue to impact the world with their music.
Thank you so much for interviewing with us! Can you tell us about what brought you to pursue careers as artists?
Shannon: Thank you so much for making time for us! We both fell in love with music very early and always knew it’s what we wanted to do with our lives. Music has always been at the center of my life. I started writing songs in 3rd grade and that has always been my greatest passion. I grew up in a musical household and always performed anywhere I could. I ended up going to UCLA as an opera major, but on the weekends I would play in the country bars in Los Angeles and try out my own material. I moved to Nashville right after graduating college and never looked back.
Ryan: I grew up with music all around me. My family owned a musical instrument store and my Dad plays guitar and pedal steel. I was surrounded by all types of music. I was exposed to a lot of traditional country from my Dad and rock’n roll on the weekends with my Uncle. I went to Belmont in Nashville for music business and have never thought about doing anything else with my life.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you got your start?
It’s been a crazy journey so far with lots of ups and downs, stories and lessons. One of the most interesting (and exciting) things that happened for us is that we got to perform out wedding song, “Giving It All (To You)” on The Today Show. What was very interesting to us is that our wedding song was something we wrote just to be our vows and a part of our wedding, not something we wrote to try to be a “radio song.” It’s the most personal song we have ever written, and yet it ended up being our most universally engaging song and message out of any of our music. We weren’t trying to write a “hit,” we weren’t wondering or thinking about if anyone would like it. We were just being honest and real and putting a melody to it. To us, it’s interesting how it was that song that ended up bringing us our first national exposure, and that with music in general, some of the most personal messages, ones you think only you have been through or could relate to, can connect with most people.
Have you ever made a funny or impactful mistake when you two were starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
H&M: We think that the most common mistake we made, and sometimes still make, but especially early on we made a lot, is setting our sights on what’s next so much that we missed the moment while it was happening. Of course it’s important to have goals, and there’s a time and a place for all that. But that there are many things we did as a duo starting out that were so cool, but we weren’t able to fully enjoy them because we were always stressing about how we could take the next step. We’ve learned that about ourselves so now we really try to appreciate each step of the journey and remind ourselves that this is all going to be part of the past one day, when we’re 90 and sitting on our front porch, and that we want to look back and no matter what the outcome was, remember the richness of the ride.
Ryan: Also, once I was at a radio station for an interview and smacked my head into the window/wall looking at a baseball stadium. The lesson is…don’t do that.
“We’ve found our greatest successes by doing things differently and following our instinct, even if we don’t understand why.”– Haley & Michaels
How do you all strive to make a significant social impact with your music?
H&M: We have always wanted our music to connect to and uplift others in the same way that music has for us; whether it be with a wedding song someone walks down the aisle to, a song about a break up that helps someone through the process, or an anthem that gets people fired up. One of the things we are most proud of is a song we wrote as a part of the Me Too Movement with Tom Douglas, Jeff Trott, and we got to collaborate with the Me Too Movement Founder, Tarana Burke. When we wrote the song we all had hopes of having a social impact by sending a message to survivors that they are not alone. Those are the most gratifying experiences, because by putting a message out there with a song, there’s the opportunity to have a positive impact on others’ lives.
You recently released a new single, “Hail Mary.” What was the inspiration for this song, and how has the response been to this song?
H&M: We wrote “Hail Mary” about a time in our lives when we were really struggling on our musical journey together. This business can be thrilling and so incredibly rewarding, but it can also be a struggle at times, and we have certainly had our ups and downs and moments when we didn’t know how things were going to work out. We wrote “Hail Mary” about one of those times, but specifically about not giving up, and not going down without a fight. It’s a really special song to us because it was so real for us. The response to this song has been so moving for us because people are reaching out sharing their stories about their own life challenges and telling us that our song is their new “theme song” or that it’s helping them get through. That’s the whole reason we do this, so it’s very powerful to see people react that way. We are also extremely excited because this song was chosen as the feature track in a Netflix Movie, Walk. Ride. Rodeo, which is a true story about a world champion barrel racer, Amberley Snyder who was paralyzed in a car accident and ended up teaching herself how to ride again. It’s such an inspiring story and the fact that our song is a small part of telling it in this movie is such an honor for us.
We are very excited to share that the song was named the official anthem of the San Francisco 49ers for this season, and we shot the music video for “Hail Mary” at Levi’s Stadium with the San Francisco 49ers! We are thrilled beyond words to have this song connected with our hometown team, and getting to perform the song live for the music video as well as at the Monday Night Football halftime show in Levi Stadium has been a dream come true.
Are there three things that the community/society can do to help your cause/mission? If so, what are they?
1. Call your local radio station and request to hear Haley & Michaels “Hail Mary”!
2. Post about our song “Hail Mary” and tag us on social media!
3. Be excellent to each other.
How do you use your platform to inspire others?
H&M: We hope that our story helps inspire people to not give up on their passion. One day, we hope our story will show that persistence pays off. Regardless of how our journey continues to unfold, we truly are grateful that we are living out our dreams and that some amazing things are starting to happen for us and we hope that inspires others who can relate to being the underdog.
If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
H&M: Random acts of kindness go a long, long way. There’s so much that’s dividing us all, that some type of movement where the mission was to make everyone feel more connected on a higher level with humanity. Something super small, like giving someone a parking spot, buying the person’s coffee behind you in the drive through line, the list is endless, but we’ve found that these types of exchanges can have a great impact.
What is your favorite “life lesson” quote? Can you share how the quote has been relevant in your lives?
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
H&M: This is our life story together as a couple and as a duo. Our career path has been many things, but conventional has certainly not been one of them. We’ve found our greatest successes by doing things differently and following our instinct, even if we don’t understand why.