Shannon Haley and Ryan Michaels are a pair of Californians who traded San Francisco for Nashville that met after being introduced by a friend then seven and a half years after their debut EP was released are ready to bring exciting new Haley & Michaels music into 2022. I first spoke to the duo in May 2020 following the release of “Hail Mary” which was heavily supported by the San Francisco 49ers (hold that thought because we are going to be talking red and gold quite a bit) but now as they share their new single Light At The End Of The Tunnel (available HERE) we were well overdue a super fun catch up. Whilst the last two years have brought about many changes to all of our lives, welcoming your first child into the world is a really big one. Although there was some uncertainty around the world and particularly as new parents, naturally there would be more wariness about the surroundings but being off the road did allow them the opportunity to not have to consider any holds or impact on their career as they were able to be parents and watch Keira grow. “It’s so true and you’re right. I was pregnant last time we spoke and now she is seventeen months as of yesterday, there’s nothing like a child’s growth to measure time. It’s like a silver lining for us that we’ve got to be home because before the pandemic I think we were out for the past two years where we were only home maybe one or two days a week. It has been nice to be at home, be with her, have that quality time and I think for us we are protective of her and with covid we are being a little bit more cautious than if we weren’t new parents.” - Shannon
“It is all systems go here in Nashville, but it has been nice for us from a creative standpoint to be here where we are able to write and record. We set up a studio at the house and we’re doing records with people all over, but a lot of it happens on Zoom so we’ve been able to write and record more during the pandemic than the two years before when we were gone most of the time. It’s been hard to plan and obviously we are not at C2C this year but six or seven months ago we would have had to start thinking about that if we were and there have been so many unknowns. We’ve been excited to talk to people about what we’re doing, and we’ve had a lot of support from the stations, especially in the UK from Bob Harris at Radio 2, Baylen and Matt at Absolute and from Chris Country which is great.” - Ryan “It feels incredible, it’s just surreal and the whole reason that we do this. All of the different challenges that this business can bring makes it completely worth it when you connect with people and feel supported. When it’s people around the world, we set the intention that we wanted to be a part of that community and to be so welcomed really is a dream come true for us.” Ryan mentioned that with the home studio that they have been able to work on new material and have obviously writing heavily, so this would imply that there is a lot in the bank, and I explored further as to what is on the cards for new music coming forward. “It’s exciting, we’ve got some things in the can. We’ve been able to write, record and really take our time with it. Every artist as they grow and evolve will have disclaimers about their old music, we’re certainly proud of what we have put out or we wouldn’t have put it out at the time but to be able to really put the time and thought into what we’re doing and will be what hopefully sounds like an evolution of Haley & Michaels but also that there are a couple of songs that we’ve always wanted to cover. We’ve been very hesitant about covers as to take on a big song, you really want to make sure that you can make it your own in some way to do it justice. We’ve been able to do that and especially as a true duo where we are both singing lead, it can take quite a bit of time to sort out what that sounds like. I think the next release will be a cover and from there we have written a song that includes mentioning said cover in it, then from there to give you the short answer as a long answer is probably two EP’s this year so we have them and one in the bank for the first quarter of next year.” Before we got into looking at what is on the horizon, we did spend a fair bit of time talking about the one thing that has not changed during the pandemic and that the 49ers led by Jimmy Garoppolo once again managed to come mightily close to a Super Bowl but again didn’t quite come to happen right when they needed it the most. In entering into this exchange, I did set myself up for reliving the agonising trauma of San Francisco coming into AT & T Stadium in Arlington with so much swag and confidence to eliminate my beloved Dallas Cowboys in the wildcard round of the playoffs.
Shannon agreed how bizarre that game was, and you give San Fran credit but, the Cowboys were their own worst enemy with all the penalties (I am pretty sure Connor Williams is still being called for “Holding, Offence number 52” even as we speak). Though things are looking bright for San Fran going forward with Trey Lance ready to talk the helm at Levi’s Stadium and Deebo Samuel being a guy that all the other 31 teams wish that they could have on their roster (not to mention that their divisional rivals are either in a difficult spot with the salary cap like the Rams will face or having the quarterback uncertainty that Seattle and Arizona fans are now facing). Moving towards a more global interpretation of football being a game where people use their feet and borders on religion on this side of the Atlantic, we shifted the focus on their plans to come back over and see us. We talk time and time again with people about the mythical beings that follow country music in the UK who listen and pay attention to what they want to listen to rather than what country radio tells them, which presents so many opportunities for newer artists across diverse backgrounds as shown with the pending festival line-ups that we have through 2022. “It’s really impressive that you guys can do that, and I think it says so much about the fanbase. For us and I think I speak for all artists that it’s nice to be valued for your art and not because you fit into one very narrow lane of what certain parts of the industry want. Whilst Nashville is getting more open, I think it’s still pretty structured with a certain lane and a certain expectation as you said so opportunities like those festivals over there are incredible for artists and I love that the fans take an actual interest in learning the songs, the lyrics and they care which I think is so cool.” – Shannon
We were well into the realms of talking about the UK at this point and very early on during our catch up, Ryan had said: “We’re hoping to be over that way later this year and hopefully at C2C next year. We’ve got a little one here now that we didn’t have before.” They arrived in London two years ago for the festival that never happened and are very keen to let people to know how much they are looking forward to getting to play in front of a live audience here. Through talking about the specifics of what this could look like, they said the dream would be to spend a fair bit of time here for a little mini tour to utilise a combination of their own shows and collaborating with artists that they have connected with in addition to hopefully being involved in some bigger events. Their interest in the UK is not purely for the fanbase. We had been talking about artists over here that they have connected with, where Tim Protty-Jones was the immediate name that came out of their mouths as they were big fans of him as an artist and really enjoyed collaborating with. Similarly, Twinnie was someone else the duo has become friends with and also the three of us were in complete agreement about someone that is both one of the most recognisable faces and voices in the UK community but doesn’t always talk about being an artist himself; Matt Spracklen, who beyond being the voice of Absolute Radio Country has a great voice and is a really talented guitar player. Lastly, the realisation hit me that whilst we were having such a blast with some football banter and getting excited about the opportunity for them to come over to the UK, we hadn’t actually talked about their current single “Light At The End Of The Tunnel” “We wrote the song truly about overcoming adversity and in general people go through hard times but for the most part things do get better. There was that spirit behind it and with everything going out in the world right now it would be a nice time to put out a message like that and it was largely inspired by those events. It feels good to have something with that type of message out there.”
Haley & Michaels have their latest single Light At The End Of The Tunnel out now and available HERE.