In the days following the horrific Las Vegas mass shooting, rising country star Michael Ray has found the courage to embark on his headlining tour while still grappling with the tragedy.
But, he didn’t hit the road without the help of one young fan.
The 29-year-old singer, who performed at the Route 91 Harvest Festival just two days before a gunman opened fire on concertgoers at the event, has shared a significant photo on Instagram from one of his recent Grand Ole Opry performances.
The photo, which is helping Michael stay strong, shows him singing with an adorable little child.
“I couldn’t help — as we prepared for this tour — thinking of all the lives that are now forever shaken and changed, and the lives that were taken,” Michael writes about the victims of the Oct. 1 shooting. “Last night I was laying in the bus headed to Tuscaloosa, [Alabama,] and I ran across this photo on my phone. I’m sharing this because, while feeling scared about playing shows, I saw this photo and I instantly went back to this moment at my favorite place the @opry.
“I felt the joy I felt as I stepped offstage and this little girl’s face lit up and we sang together in front of that crowd,” he continues. Her smile was contagious. I remembered why we do this, for moments like this. Music takes you to a special place that nothing else can reach. It takes you away and catches you at the right moment and carries you. So tonight, as we kick off our new tour in Tuscaloosa, I’m gonna print this photo and hang it on our bus and channel this very moment every night. I will not allow someone to take away our joy or silence our family! I will give all I have at every show in honor of these beautiful [people] and show the evil that love will conquer. #vegasstrong”
Michael kicked off his 15-city “Get To You” tour on Oct. 5. The trek goes until Dec. 9. For more information on Michael’s tour dates, fans can visit his official website here.