Michael Ray Is Feeling ‘Giddy’ About Singing with Tim McGraw at Boots & Brews Festival

by Taylor Cunningham
(Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

This weekend will mark Michael Ray’s first time watching his Country music icon, Tim McGraw, sing live. And it just so happens that Ray will be performing alongside him, which is a privilege he can hardly fathom.

Ray and McGraw will be headliners at the Boots & Brews Country Music Festival in Ventura, California. And they take the stage tonight (Oct. 14).

“I’m a little bit like a giddy 13-year-old kid about this right now,” Ray shared with PEOPLE. “I’m trying to stay cool about it, but yeah. We’re not the same.”

The 34-year-old Think a Little Less singer grew up on McGraw’s hits. And when he decided to follow through with his passions and become a star himself, he modeled his career after the iconic singer. Because as he and everyone else knows, “When you think country music, Tim McGraw is one of the first people you think of.”

Michael Ray broke into the music industry in 2010. And he has since charted a couple of No.1 hits. But despite finding success, he hit some roadblocks along the way, which all megastars have, even McGraw.

“I mean, before [McGraw released] Don’t Take the Girl and Indian Outlaw, the guy couldn’t catch a break,” Ray continued. “He went through some ebbs and flows.”

Michael Ray Wants to Create a Legacy Similar to Tim McGraw’s

Ray shared that he struggled to find the confidence to work through the ranks of Music City. He described himself as a simple “country kid” who grew up “riding roads” in his Florida hometown. So much like McGraw, he was surprised when he became a household name. And he wants to make sure he doesn’t make any mistakes now that he’s on top.

“Getting to where I am in my career… there were just times when I was like, ‘I don’t want to mess up or lose any of this by going in another direction.’ I think as an artist I’ve grown so much over the years,” he shared.

While Ray has become a star in his own right, he’s still taking notes from his upcoming duet partner. Now that he has the world’s attention, he’s trying to forge a similar legacy.

“I try to make records like McGraw does,” he added. “I mean you can put on a McGraw record, and you are going to turn that whole dang thing.”

But no matter how big Michael Ray gets, he’ll never take Tim McGraw off his pedestal. And tonight, after he finishes his collaboration, he’ll head out and watch the rest of the set.

“I’ll definitely stay to watch McGraw play,” he admitted. “I never thought I would have a side stage pass to see McGraw, so I might just take advantage of it.”