How Michael Ray's Adorable Dog Saved Him From Heartbreak and Inspired a Foundation (Certified Country)
By Sophie Schillaci
Warner Music Nashville
Michael Ray is one proud dog dad.
The "Kiss You In the Morning" singer, who will turn 30 later this month, opens up about overcoming heartbreak with the help of his music and a four-legged friend named Wrigley.
Ray adopted the adorable husky-shepherd mutt after playing Lake Shake in Chicago, Illinois, where he participated in a skit with the local Paws Rescue Organization. "I was just like, 'Man, I gotta take her," he says in this week's episode of Certified Country.
"I adopted her that night and she got on the bus and has been with me ever since," he recalls. Now, Wrigley serves as the namesake of Ray's charitable foundation, Wrigley Cares, which gives back to local shelters at each stop on Ray's current Get to You tour.
"When I started posting photos with her, fans started bringing toys and treats and all this stuff, but they were bringing them by the bag," he explains. "I was leaving a weekend with like 30, 40 toys. I was giving them to my band, I was like, I didn't know! I'm raising a spoiled daughter!"
Now, Ray calls on fans to deliver food, treats, blankets and more when they attend his shows. So far, he says, Wrigley Cares has fed over 150 thousand meals to pets in need.
"Wrigley came into my life at a special time and helped me get through some hard times," he says. "She just completely changed my life and now we have this great foundation. Thanks to the fans for helping us connect and build something like this, and help raise awareness for pet adoption."
Ray is currently prepping his sophomore album for a Summer 2018 release, featuring the lead single "Get to You." The song's heartbreaking lyrics, Ray says, hit close to home.
"In the middle of recording this song, I was going through word for word what this song was saying," he says. "Being in the studio and singing those lyrics, and really living them at the same time, was pretty special and honestly pretty therapeutic for me."
Ray's next full-length will come about three years after his self-titled debut, which included the hit singles "Kiss You in the Morning" and "Think a Little Less." Since then, Ray says he's grown as both a person and an artist.
"I grew up on a lot of traditional country music, so there are songs on [the new album] that lean more towards that," he says. "And there's parts of my life that I wanted to make sure people knew about. I went through a breakup while making this album, so there's songs about that, but there's also love songs. There's gonna be a little bit of everything on there."
To see more from Ray and his adorable pup, watch Certified Country below.