Haley & Michaels Offer Dual Perspectives, Cover an ’80s Hit on Debut EP
Although they grew up just three miles apart, it took moving to Nashville for Shannon Haley and Ryan Michaels to meet.
"Seven years prior, a mutual friend of our moms had tried to connect us on MySpace," says Haley, from Los Altos, Calif. -- and the close encounters don't stop there.
"My family owns a musical instrument store, and Shannon's mom used to go in with her and buy sheet music," Michaels, of Palo Alto, Calif., adds. "I used to work at the store."
But it was a guitar player who worked with them both as solo artists who finally introduced the two, building the basis for the duo Haley & Michaels, who will release a self-titled debut EP on Oct. 21.
The 5-song disc, recorded at Nashville’s Ocean Way studio, was produced by Kyle Jacobs and Matt McClure. It features three songs written or co-written by the duo, which was an important choice the two artists made.
"We really take turns singing, and we like going in the male and female perspective ... We found that the best way to have songs that work the best for us as artists is usually to write them," Michaels says. "It seems like, most of the time, when we write something from the ground up, it really shows what we do best."
Those songs include 'One More Night to Break,' which the duo wrote with the Warren Brothers, as well as their first single, 'Just Another Love Song,' co-written by and featuring Lonestar's Richie McDonald.
"Getting to write with people like Richie and the Warren Brothers ... it's just a dream come true," Haley says. "The Warren Brothers, they are just so creative, and they have such a great energy."
Michaels says working with country hitmakers of that caliber helped the duo learn an important lesson in songwriting.
"They don't over-think, and they really just trust themselves," he says, "and that energy really keeps the momentum going and pulls out the best in everybody."
The EP also features a cover of the Proclaimers' 'I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles).' While it may seem like an odd choice of song, Michaels says they play it at shows "and people get really excited about it," which is why it made its way onto the EP.
"When I heard it, I listened to it, and I felt like, 'Wait a second, this could take on a whole different meaning if a man and woman were singing it to each other,'" Haley says. "I bounced it off Ryan, and he had actually just heard it, and it was one of those things, it was on both of our minds, and we just started playing it to see what it would sound like."
'Haley & Michaels EP' is available for preorder on iTunes.