Country duo Haley & Michaels have been making waves with their latest single, “Me Too.” The empower ballad has captured the spirit of the national movement in such a way that Tarana Burke has even lended her voice to the song. With the recent success of the track and the music video, Haley & Michaels shares their inspiration and what they hope to achieve with “Me Too.”
What moved you to write “Me Too” and what is it that you hope to convey with the message of the song?
We were driving home one afternoon and saw that some of our friends had posted #MeToo. At first, we didn’t know what it meant, but quickly found out, and when we did were so moved and inspired that so many people were being so brave and speaking up about something that is normally never talked about. We wanted to add our voices to the movement in the best way we knew how, through music. We have both been affected in different ways and our personal experiences gave us fuel to write the song. However, when writing this song, we felt it was very important to keep the message focused on empowerment, healing and moving forward. More than anything, hope we can convey the message to others that they are not alone. We want to bring hope and healing to others the way that music has always done for us.
Who are you hoping to touch with this song? What has the reaction been?
We are hoping that this song can reach and connect with both women and men, survivors, and people who may not be survivors themselves, but who can stand up for and support others. We are all in this together and as Tarana Burke says in our video, “We have to use the power of our collective voices to make a difference.” That applies to survivors, and to those who can stand in solidarity and help to create change.
So far the reaction has been very moving for us. We’ve received some very powerful messages from people who have connected with this song. Some who have said this song has helped them feel like they’re not in this alone, others who have expressed that someone they know has been affected, and that this song helped to bring them hope and comfort as well. We have been overwhelmed with the amount of support and it’s been really uplifting for us to see how many people want to help spread this message.
How did Haley & Michaels get it’s start in the music industry?
We both grew up with musical backgrounds as kids, and each of us has always the dream of being singers/songwriters. Neither of us ever entertained the idea of a backup plan. ☺
We both went to college for music (Shannon as a vocal performance major at UCLA, and Ryan as a music/business major at Belmont University) and then after that we just started performing anywhere we could, writing and recording songs. Nashville has been a really great home to us as musicians and it offers such an amazing community of artists. Both of our solo careers grew from there, slowly but surely, and when we met each other and wrote our first song, we knew right away that we wanted to become a duo.
What has been the most defining moment in your career?
Working with Tarana Burke definitely stands out, and we go into more detail about that in the question below. Another defining moment in our career was playing our wedding song, “Giving It All (To You)” on the TODAY Show! This was defining for us not only because it was our first national exposure, but also because it reinforced our belief that getting extremely personal in our songwriting is the best way to connect with people. We’ve carried this sentiment with us throughout the making of our new project.
How were you able to get Tarana Burke involved? What was that process like working with her?
It was a dream come true for us to collaborate with and meet Tarana Burke. We originally wrote her a message on Twitter and told her that we had written a song called “Me Too” that was inspired by personal experiences and also her message. We asked her if she would be open to listening to it and we were shocked when she responded and invited us to send it to her. Over the next few months, we stayed in touch and when it came time for the music video, we asked her if she would like to collaborate with us. This song was largely inspired by her message of healing, so for us, getting to have her record her message on our song is honestly the most powerful moment in our careers.
We recorded her part to the song at Sony/ATV in New York in an intimate writing room that they have, with our producer Sal Oliveri. Tarana has such amazing presence and she lit up the room right away with warmth and sincerity. We instantly connected with her on a personal, spiritual and artistic level. We played the video while she spoke the part she had written over it and it was as though it was always supposed to be there. On that day, she decided that she would also like to be in the music video and so we flew across the country to meet her the following week where she was speaking in San Francisco. Again, it was so moving to watch her on camera, and it’s as though the video was always meant to have her in it, starting and ending the song.
The video is so moving. Was the concept easy to come up with or did you have other ideas for how you wanted to convey your message?
Thank you! We absolutely loved the process of making this video. We had the opportunity to work with Tommy Douglas who is an incredible director. We really loved working with him because we all shared the same vision right away, and he was very open to including us in the process. He allowed us to work very closely with him, on everything from the concept to the casting to the editing.
The overall concept came together pretty quickly, and it really came to life when we started the casting process and saw the people who were going to make this idea into a reality. We really wanted to capture the vast impact that this has had on all different types of people. Showing diversity was very important to us and we also really wanted to make sure to have a large presence from men. The video shoot itself was very powerful for us, and we are so happy to hear that you connect with it!
What is next for Haley & Michaels?
We are so excited that we are now signed with Sony/ATV label imprint, Hickory Records. We have been working on writing and recording our new album for the past year. We’ll be releasing new music later this year! We are also really excited that our new song “All Out” is out on Spotify’s New Boots and Wild Country playlists. It’s also being played on Radio Disney! We hope to connect with and meet a lot of fans in 2018!