Family has always been deeply important to Michael Ray, both personally and in terms of his music. He credits his parents' love of the country genre for sparking his passion for music and, ultimately, influencing his decision to move to Nashville and become a songwriter. His late grandfather, who started a family band and taught Ray to play his first guitar chord at the age of nine, was so influential that the country singer borrowed his name for his second studio album, Amos.

Given all that, it's fitting that Ray was surrounded by family the first time he heard his debut single, "Kiss You in the Morning," on the radio. Read on to learn all of the details.

It was very surreal, and you couldn't have planned it any better. I was in the car. I happened to be back home, and my dad and I were riding to meet my grandfather and grandmother at this little mom-and-pop diner restaurant in my hometown. It's called Jeannie's; the husband cooks and the wife, Miss Karen, is the waitress. It's a really cool, small, little place that's been there for my whole life.

Anyway, we were riding down the road, and the radio was just loud enough where you could kind of hear it, but you could talk over it. My dad and I were talking for a while, and then we stopped talking and got kind of silent, and all of a sudden, I heard the "Kiss You in the Morning" opening line. I was like, "Oh s--t!" We cranked it.

It was my first time hearing my first single as a national single on radio, and thankfully, I was able to share that moment in my hometown with my dad. It was really perfect.