Barry Michael is an emerging country artist, who grew up far from the country; he was a city boy in Atlanta, Georgia. However, this city boy would soon discover the country life is where he is truly the happiest. His latest single “Uncountrify Me” started with an idea that Barry had to share his new found love of the country life, the best way that he knew how, he did this by writing a country song. I spoke with Barry and asked him to talk about the single.
“I co-wrote this song with Corey Barker. It is a funny story about the inspiration of this song. I am a city boy. I was born in Atlanta, Georgia. For the first 20 years of my life that is where I was. I met a girl and we ended up falling in love and getting married. She has been taking me to her families ever since we got together in South Georgia. Her family has like a 2,000 acre farm. So I was countrified by her family, and once I got a taste of the country life there was no turning back for me. “
“I decided I was going to write a song about being countrified. I met with Corey and we were sitting in a Waffle House. I told him I had an idea for a song, and that we were going to have to write a song about being countrified. He was chewing on a waffle and he looked up at me and he said “No, that isn’t going to work.” I asked him “What do you mean it isn’t going to work.” He said “There are too many songs out there called countrified.” I already had the word countrified written on my notebook, and he just reached over with a pen and wrote a u and an n in front of countrified. So then I wrote Uncountrify Me. We created a brand new world. So we shoveled our food down and rushed back to the house, and in about 20 minutes we had written that entire song. It turned out being the exact opposite of what I wanted it to be about. But it really worked because you won’t uncountrify me now that I have tasted the life of country. I have seen both sides I know the country life and I know the city life. There is no uncountrifying me at this point.”
Barry’s album is titled “Ripped Blue Jeans and ATV’s. Shortly after he released the album he was approached to write a song for the Houston-area WWII veterans in support of their honor flight fundraiser. I asked Barry to talk about this.
“That goes back to 2009 when I did a benefit concert for the World War II Vets to go on the Lone Star Honor Flight. This is where they fly the World War II veterans out to Washington D.C. to see the monument that was built for them. I was invited to Houston to play for this benefit concert, and about two months before the show they called the record label, and talked to my Executive producer about me writing a song for them. They had done a little research on me and found out that I was a song writer, and they asked me to write a song for these men we were coming to see and play for. I felt like Wow. I had never had anyone ask me to write a song for something like this.”
“I was really taken aback and honored that they asked. I was really pleased to do it. So we wrote a song called “Heroes and Angels”, which changed my whole life. It was the song that carried me around the world and started all of this. We played it at Houston, and no one had ever heard it. Three weeks later we got a call from the Pentagon and they asked us to come to Vegas and play it at Caesars Palace. It went from there and the flood gates opened up. Before you knew it the song was sponsored by Health Net federal Services and so many other companies were sponsoring us to come and play that song at events. It has really carried me all over the place. That is how it all got started.”
Barry Michael formed a partnership with Health Net in 2010 and had performed for many military troops all over. I asked Barry to talk some about this.
“It is great to have guys who support the military basically supporting us too. I love looking out and seeing a sea of camouflage, and all the smiles on their faces. I just really enjoy it; it is one of those things that you just can’t really explain. We just came back from Kuwait, Afghanistan and played at about 10 bases there. We did about 2 shows a day on our 10 day trip. That was an amazing trip we had a lot of fun.”
Next, we discussed the fact that Barry flew with General Chuck Yeager in a Blackhawk over Afghanistan.
“That was awesome. There was a little fear involved, because we were kind of low to the ground, we were within gunshot range from the craziness on the ground, but we had guards on both sides of the plane that were guarding us the whole time. We flew from base to base in the Blackhawk, which was a pretty cool way in getting us around.”
Barry’s fondest musical memory is one that touched him deeply, and one that he will never forget.
“We went out to Singapore, and we played for the fourth of July. There were about 12,000 troops and locals in Singapore, listening to Lee Greenwood, as they were popping off firecrackers. It brought me to tears literally watching these south Asian people celebrate our Fourth of July. It was amazing seeing them right along with our troops.”
June 10, 2012 you can meet Barry at the CMA Music Fest where he will be doing meet and greets with fans at the Nashville Convention and Visitors Booth. You can catch Barry in concert on June 27, 2012 in Greenville, SC at The Nashville Connection, Heroes Salute 2012.
For more information visit Bary’s website .
Visit iTunes to preview and purchase Barry’s CD’s.