TIME: Activist Tarana Burke Adds Her Voice to Haley & Michaels' 'Me Too' Country Anthem

In the era of #MeToo, musicians are supporting the movement with powerful new anthems. One example: Nashville-based country duo Haley & Michaels, who released a song — and now a video — in service of the initiative. Shannon Haley and Ryan Michaels have been making moving country records together since 2015. But for their aptly-titled song “Me Too,” they reached out to movement founder Tarana Burke and asked her to add her own voice to elevate their message. “We have to use the power of our collective voices to make a difference,” Burke intones in the new video premiering here on TIME, which features the group’s friends, family, #MeToo supporters and survivors of sexual assault.

“We were deeply impacted and inspired when we first experienced so many people bravely coming forward and saying, ‘Me Too,'” Haley & Michaels explain. “We wanted to add our voices in the best way we knew how — through music. The spirit behind our song is healing, unity and empowerment.”

Burke says she had been approached by plenty of potential collaborators, and wasn’t familiar with Haley & Michaels when they first reached out. But she found their message heartfelt and sensed that they “got” it. “They understand that this is a movement ultimately about healing and about centering survivors,” she notes. “I’m so excited about the potential for survivors around the world to be touched by this song! It’s a connector. It reinforces the truth — we’re not alone. It’s a movement.”

Haley & Michaels were equally excited about working with Burke. “More than anything, we hope that it can help other survivors feel that they are not alone in the same way the Me Too Movement has done for us,” they said. “Collaborating with Tarana Burke is the greatest honor we ever could have imagined, and we are incredibly proud, humbled and excited to be a part of spreading her message.”

One hundred percent of the song’s proceeds will go towards Burke’s organization, Girls for Gender Equity, part of the #MeToo movement. It was co-written with songwriters Tom Douglas and Jeff Trott, and Burke wrote her spoken word portion. Watch the video, directed by Tommy Douglas, above.

PopCulture: Haley & Michaels Release New Single, 'All Out'

Country duo Haley & Michaels has released a new single, "All Out," marking their first release on Hickory Records/RED Music.

Haley & Michaels is made up of married couple Shannon Haley and Ryan Michaels, who decided to form a duo after writing together.

Written by Haley, Michaels and Matt McVaney, "All Out" features energetic production and plenty of guitars steer the song into clear pop-country territory.

"This song is about that moment when you commit to going for something whole-heartedlyregardless of the outcome," Haley explained in a press release.

Michaels added, "It’s largely inspired by our journey in the music industry as well as our personal relationship."

The pop-country duo has put out a succession of singles over the past few years after coming together as a group, with their previous offering, "Me Too," serving as a personal response to the #MeToo movement.

"We were so inspired when we started seeing women – and men – bravely speaking up about something that was normally not talked about, and something that can feel very isolating," Haley told Billboard of the song. "People were instead coming together. It was uniting people."

As for "All Out," Haley reiterated her statement, noting, "the original idea of the song was ‘Let’s Go All The Way.'"

"People say we’re never going to make it, so let’s go all the way," she explained. "That was the spirit behind it. The song is written in terms of a relationship, but it’s also about our journey in the music industry. It’s about going ‘All In’ to something, and now it’s time to go ‘All Out.’ It’s a power anthem."

Thought Catalog: This Country Duo Released A Powerful Song In Response To #MeToo, And You Need To Listen

The #MeToo movement has inspired people to share their stories, to feel empowered, to connect with other survivors, and to give love and support. This husband and wife duo, Haley & Michaels (Shannon Haley and Ryan Michaels), was no different; deeply affected by the movement, they wanted to capture the emotion in the way they knew best—through music.

Pulling from their own experiences and drawing on the hope and strength from others, Haley & Michaels released their single, ‘#MeToo’ as a personal response.

I had the privilege of speaking to the two of them about their reason for writing the song, emotions behind it, and what the movement as a whole means to them. The most important thing, they said, was for the message of their song to be encouraging.

“We wanted the lyrics and the melody to feel uplifting and hopeful. We chose to write the lyrics from the perspective of having been there ourselves, sharing some examples of what that feels like, asking if anyone else has ever felt that way too, and joining them in their experiences by saying “Me Too.”

The duo’s biggest challenge was to stay positive. With so many allegations in the media, people’s lives being torn apart and on display, and so much devastation and pain, they felt the most important thing was to bring a message of hope.

“There are a lot of powerful emotions wrapped up in this topic,” they said, “We didn’t want to ignore any side of it, but we really wanted to focus on the strength, power and unity in the movement’s message.”

With lyrics, for example, that reference pain from childhood, being overwhelmed by images on television, or feeling broken to the point that you can hardly face another day—the duo does exactly that. Not only are they completely vulnerable in sharing pieces of their pasts, but they reach out to others who are struggling—showing a united, strong stance of support.

At the end of the day, the song not only serves as a powerful reminder that no matter who someone is, or what their walk of life looks like, in the end we are all the same and we must fight together.

The duo’s song leaves each of us with this simple, powerful message: We are not alone.

Billboard: Haley & Michaels Share New Single 'All Out,' Marking Hickory Records' Return to Country

One of the most diverse labels in Nashville’s history was Hickory Records. Initially started as an imprint of publishing power Acuff/Rose, the label was home to acts such as Don Gibson, Mickey Newbury, Donovan, Buffy Sainte-Marie, and the “King of Country Music,” Roy Acuff. The label was discontinued in the 1970s, and was re-launched in in 2007 by Sony/ATV – who now own both the publishing company and the label.American Idol acts such as Ruben Studdard and Elliott Yamin would record for the label, but it remained dormant in the country field… until now.

The label just announced it signed its first new country act in almost four decades – husband and wife duo Haley & Michaels, who will release their debut single for the label, “All Out,” on Friday (Jan. 19). Listen to it ahead of its release below.

The couple, who were born and raised in California just a few miles from one another (though they didn’t meet until they moved to Music City), have been honing their craft for years – and they are excited to be the label’s flagship artist for its re-launch into the country marketplace.

“It’s a dream come true for us,” says a beaming Haley. “We feel like we have really found our people. We’re so excited to have this infrastructure behind us.” Michaels echoes those thoughts, taking them a step further. “It’s so great to have the opportunity to work with somebody like Danny Strick at Sony/ATV and the people at RED Music. They truly understand who we are as both people and artists, and what we’re about. It’s an incredible opportunity.”

Michaels says that the Sony/ATV exec is exactly what they need. “We could feel that he connected to it, and he understood who we were and what we were going for. So, when he had expressed that he wanted to work together, it just felt right.” The duo has been releasing music since 2013, and has had plenty of offers from industry insiders to help them take their career to the next level. But Michaels insists there was something different about the opportunity with Hickory. “It felt right off the bat, and made us thankful,” he tells Billboard.  “Like in Garth Brooks’ ‘Unanswered Prayers,’ that’s exactly how it was. The fact that we were available and looking for a partner, it was just the perfect thing and it felt right. We just knew it was the right fit.”

Michaels also stresses that perhaps those prior opportunities never materialized because they themselves weren’t ready to take that next step. “Our path was both Shannon Haley and Ryan Michaels learning to write and sing together, with us just beginning to produce music, and that was what you used to call ‘Artist Development’ -- something that you don’t really have anymore. I think that’s something that we have been fortunate and blessed to have been able to go through. We’ve recorded. We’ve toured. We’ve found who Haley & Michaels are as songwriters, as well as being a pure duo and how we deliver our vocals, and the sound of our music and not being afraid to take chances.” Haley concurs, allowing that the musical lessons they learned together allowed them to take some artistic chances as never before. “I feel like we have given ourselves a lot more freedom with this album to allow all of that into the musical picture.”

The duo has been in the news lately thanks to the acclaim surrounding their composition “Me Too,” which was co-written with Tom Douglas and Jeff Trott. Haley says the song was inspired by the current social climate and their reaction to it. “We were so inspired when we started seeing women – and men – bravely speaking up about something that was normally not talked about, and something that can feel very isolating. People were instead coming together. It was uniting people. We were so inspired that when we were writing with Tom Douglas – on the first day we were writing with him, we started writing about that. It turns out that we all had the idea to write a song called ‘Me Too.’ To be a part of that message through music is very important to us. Music has always been about healing. I think that our goal is to bring about some degree of healing to other people the way that music has always done for us.”

Michaels doesn't take the opportunity to contribute to the discourse lightly. “Growing up, I remember hearing songs where people notice things that are going on in the world and aren’t afraid to speak about it. That is what inspired us to do what we’re doing. With the Me Too movement specifically, we were talking to Tom about how we had all been affected by it – maybe as a father or as a husband, or directly. This is something that hits close to home with all of us, but this isn’t what the song is about. That provides fuel to want to write and release music like that. We are really excited to have that as a piece of our new album.”

How does one approach a songwriting session with such a legendary composer as Douglas? Haley says it’s a moment the duo has waited for, for a long time. “It’s the type of experience that makes you just want to write to your younger self and tell yourself that this is really happening – you’re in the room with Tom Douglas. You get to make this music with this man who has written all of these songs that made you want to write in the first place.” Yet, just making it to the same writers’ room as the man who wrote hits such as “Little Rock” and “The House That Built Me” is only half the battle – you still need to bring your A-game to the table.

“Being in the room with someone like Tom, you can’t believe you’re there,” expressed Michaels. “You want to learn, to watch how he does it and learn. But, at the same time, I remember writing with Roger Murrah when I moved to town, and he talked to me about how I didn’t speak up in the writing session. That’s something that has always stuck with me, and Shannon and I had talked a lot about. So, you always want to watch respectfully and learn, but also remember that we’re there as artists, so it’s important that this song is something that we want to sing. Tom was the biggest advocate of that in the co-write, making sure we spoke up and were a part of the writing process.”

Of “All Out,” premiering above, Haley confesses that “the original idea of the song was ‘Let’s Go All The Way.’ People say we’re never going to make it, so let’s go all the way. That was the spirit behind it. The song is written in terms of a relationship, but it’s also about our journey in the music industry. It’s about going ‘All In’ to something, and now it’s time to go ‘All Out.’ It’s a power anthem.” The pair wrote the song with friend and collaborator Matt McVaney, who co-produced the track with Zach Abend. As it turned out, each of the tracks on their forthcoming Hickory debut was co-produced by one of the songwriters – a novel approach, admits Haley. “That was something that was different for us. Every song was produced by our co-writers. A lot of the music was created in the room with the song, so that was a change for us.” The track, which was mixed by Chris Lord-Alge, will be released tomorrow through Spotify, as exec John Marks has been a longtime supporter.

“He started coming to our shows early on,” says Michaels. “He has been an early advocate for us, and Spotify provides us an amazing opportunity.”

With the single out, Haley & Michaels (whose music has also been featured on Today) can look to the release of their first album later this year, as well as some potential tour dates in 2018. But one step at a time. “We’re just trying to enjoy the moment,” Haley says with a smile. “But we’re living the dream. This is happening.”

Refinery29: How A Husband & Wife Duo Are Embracing The #MeToo Movement In Country Music

Country music planted a flag in the ground with respect to the #MeToo movement at the year's CMA Awards, when one of the genre's biggest stars, Keith Urban, debuted his track "Female." It was obvious why Urban would feel he has skin in the game; his wife, Nicole Kidman, is a noted actress who has starred in multiple films produced by Harvey Weinstein, including Cold MountainLion, and The Others. Kidman hasn't spoken publicly about any negative experiences in her career (though she did denounce Weinstein's actions and praise women who are speaking out against him), Aaron Sorkin revealed he was once asked to write a sex scene for Nicole Kidman by being given the direction to write what he would like to see her do. That is a prime example of what happens when an industry has an ingrained idea that it is fine to dehumanize women by paying them less, by giving them lesser jobs, and by treating them as objects.

It could have ended there, with Urban's singularly relevant statement song, but it hasn't. Husband and wife duo, Haley & Michaels (that is Shannon Haley and Ryan Michaels) released a song of their own inspired by their reaction to the #MeToo movement. Though it is not the first song written about the movement, it is the first song so far to use the term "me too" directly.

About writing the song, Haley & Michaels tell Refinery29, "We were very inspired and moved by the 'Me Too' movement and the strength it shows and gives to others. We’ve always been driven to write about things that have impacted us and moved us deeply. It’s the best way we know how to express ourselves. We’ve always hoped that creating music can be healing for others in the way that music has been healing for us. "

The song is relatable from myriad viewpoints, from the observer who simply can't stomach the allegations they see every night on the news, to survivors struggling to process these stories or tell their own stories, to those who just want a redo on a moment they feel haunted by in their past. It's a morose but empowering statement of solidarity that bolsters the voices of accusers in the #MeToo movement — and seems to be a "Me Too" statement from Haley & Michaels.

"The 'Me Too' movement captures the message of unity and supporting one another. Our hope is that when people hear our song, they will feel the core message of the 'Me Too' movement; that they are not alone," the duo say.

The #MeToo movement hasn't strongly impacted music yet, with post-Weinstein accusations most notably leveled at Russell SimmonsSean Carlson of FYF Fest, and country music publicist Kirt Webster while well-known sexual predators who have long faced accusations — R. Kellyand XXTentacion top a long list — have faced maddeningly slow or irritatingly few consequences.

Maybe it won't be the music industry or music journalism that becomes the voice of #MeToo. Perhaps in this art form, the microphone will be given directly to the artists.

Parade: The Inspiration Behind Haley & Michaels New Song 'Me Too'

Far too many people—both famous and unknown—have been adding their names to the list of #MeToo which encourages  women (and now men) to speak up if they have been sexually harassed.

Earlier this week, country crooners Haley & Michaels (Shannon Haley and Ryan Michaels) released a song that offers both hope and understanding to anyone who’s been there.

“We were very moved when people started breaking their silence and posting #MeToo,” the duo said. “We’ve been impacted and inspired by the “Me Too” movement and its powerful message that it sends to survivors, both women and men who have been affected, that they are not alone. We are very passionate about this movement and wanted to be a part of it in the best way we know how, making music. We hope that this song can give people a sense that they are not alone, in the way that the #MeToo movement has done for us.”

Writing about experiences: Writing about things that impact their lives comes naturally to Haley & Michaels. “Throughout our lives, when we have gone through anything that affects us deeply, we have always been driven to write about it. It’s the best way we know how to express our feelings. We’ve always hoped that creating music can be healing for others in the way that music has been healing for us.”

Inspired by #MeToo: “In this case, the ‘Me Too’ movement inspired us on many levels. It made us feel ignited by the strength of so many people who are brave enough to break their silence. It made us feel deeply sad and angry that so many have been affected, and it made us feel like we were not alone in our own experiences.”

And a sense of unity: The duo admits being “very moved” by the sense of unity that the movement encompasses. “People are joining together and uniting over something that can make one feel more alone and isolated than anything in the world. That was probably our biggest inspiration for writing the song.”

Collaborating for change: “We had the opportunity to write with Tom Douglas and Jeff Trott, who have written some of our favorite songs of all time. We had written with Tom the day before and at the end of our session we started talking about the times we live in today and how many people in the world feel very divided and separate from each other right now, which made us think we had to write a song called ‘Me Too’. We shared with Tom, and he had written down the same idea. The next day, when the four of us we were writing it, we wanted to capture the emotions that the ‘Me Too’ movement holds for us, and the message of unity and supporting one another.

We poured all of our feelings into this song and more than anything we hope people will hear it and feel the core message of the ‘Me Too’ movement; that they are not alone.”

A Plus: Haley & Michaels On Why Writing Their Song 'Me Too' Was So Important To Them

Ten years before the viral #MeToo social media movement swept the nation in response to the tidal wave of high-profile sexual misconduct allegations, Tarana Burke founded the Me Too campaign for victims of sexual assault. Fast-forward to 2017, where we see actress-activist Alyssa Milano — along with hundreds of other influencers, both women and men — stand in solidarity and show support as they share personal #MeToo stories to spread hope to survivors of sexual violence.

At the core of the Me Too campaign and the echoed #MeToo movement, there is a moving message of hope to both women and men that they are not alone. People are sharing their experiences, expressing vulnerability, and coming together as a community. It's very inspiring.

As creatives, we strive to follow our passions and to have the confidence to speak up and pay attention to what's going on in our world. Thus, rather than watching this movement's growth from the sidelines, we felt impassioned and inspired to help spread this powerful message in the best way that we know how: through music.

We wrote "Me Too" in honor of the women and men who have been victimizedas well as to emphasize the message that they are not alone. "Me Too" is our message of empowerment and healing. It is a representation of unity. Because we've both been impacted in different ways, to us the #MeToo movement represents breaking the silence, standing up against injustice, and coming together. We understand and appreciate the strength behind every #MeToo story and we hope our music can help bring healing to others.

This song speaks to the social movement; we want to give others a voice and embrace this fierce community with open arms. In this time, in the world where there are countless boundaries dividing one another, we wanted to create an uplifting message to come together as a united force. We hope that our song "Me Too" inspires others just as we've been inspired by this powerful evolution.

COUNTRY MUSIC DUO HALEY & MICHAELS CELEBRATES ANOTHER "FIRST" WITH GRAND OLE OPRY DEBUT

COUNTRY MUSIC DUO HALEY & MICHAELS CELEBRATES ANOTHER "FIRST" WITH GRAND OLE OPRY DEBUT

Up-and-coming country duo Haley & Michaels experienced a night they will never forget as they stepped inside the sacred circle to make their Grand Ole Opry debut Saturday, Oct. 24 performing "The Price I Pay," the first song they ever penned together, as well as their current single, "Giving It All (To You)."