Mike Gossin may be better known by many country fans as one quarter of the band Gloriana alongside his brother Tom, Cheyenne Kimball and Rachel Reinert. But eight years after the release of their last ever album, Mike is making strides in launching his own solo career. It is just another chapter in Mike’s rollercoaster ride of a music career that began when he was just a child.
“I grew up in a family and a household with two older brothers and our parents were huge music fans, there was always music playing in the house growing up,” Mike begins. “The rule in our house growing up was that you had to play one sport, and you had to play one instrument. You could choose whatever ones you wanted. But as long as you were under mum and dad’s roof growing up, you had to do at least one so I started playing piano when I was four years old. Then I switched over to drum lessons when I was 11. Then found the guitar at 14. Once I picked up that guitar I knew that that was gonna be it for me.”
Mike and his brother Tom were living in North Carolina honing their writing and performing skills before forming Gloriana. “I was playing out from about 16 years old. I was with my brother, Tom, and we were living in Wilmington, North Carolina. It was like 10 years of playing out in bars and clubs, four to five nights a week. That’s how we probably got by and it’s what we love to do.” The brothers knew if they wanted to take their passion further, they would need to head out to music city. “We had taken a chance and went out to Nashville with an old friend. We packed a bag, threw the guitar in the back – our uncle had given us his old SUV and drove out there and Gloriana started from that point on. We found Rachel through MySpace, then Cheyenne joined after that.”
Their early days in Nashville were spent touring round in a van playing whatever shows they could and gelling together as a group. “Some of the best times in my life were when we had just officially started as a group, touring and playing some of the stuff that we had started writing.” In 2009, the group released debut single ‘Wild At Heart’ which became the highest-selling country music debut single of 2009. It led to them garnering the attention and support of superstar Taylor Swift who at the time had just released her second album, ‘Fearless’ which went on to win two Grammy’s for album of the year and country album of the year, invited them to support her on her subsequent tour.
“We were in that van, we were touring in the southeast. We had just played like a Buffalo Wild Wings or Wild Wings Cafe, which is like this sports bar, but they have a stage,” Mike reflects upon the moment they got the news. “I remember getting off the stage, getting back in the van after the show and we were driving down the highway when our manager called and said, ‘Hey, someone’s on the phone and wants to talk to you’. So they put the phone on speaker in the van and she came on and said, ‘Hey guys, this is Taylor Swift.’ We’re like, no way – we thought it was a joke. We thought the label was pranking us at that point. But she said, she loved our song that came out, ‘Wild at Heart’ and she said she wanted us to join her on the Fearless Tour and that went for like a year and when that one ended, she asked us to do another year with her after that.”
I had heard from my cousin in Arizona how good Gloriana were after she saw them supporting Swift and was looking forward to seeing them when I ventured to my first ever concert – her Manchester date of the Fearless tour. However, the UK support was Justin Bieber. Mike says it’s still on his to-do list to travel to the UK though and tour. It’s something he hopes to do with his new solo project. His latest single ‘Let’s Ride’ sees him team up with former bandmate Cheyenne Kimball.
After Gloriana split up, Mike went back to North Carolina. “After the band had split, I didn’t really know what to do. It was a pretty tough time. So I figured sometimes you got to go back to the beginning and do what you know best.” He began writing and performing new material locally. After he started writing ‘Let’s Ride’, he had a dream, “I had a dream that I was back on stage performing by myself and I looked over to my right and introduced Cheyenne. I woke up that morning thinking, that was a really interesting cool dream. I proceeded to get up and go into my studio and my phone rang from a number that I didn’t recognise. I remember sitting there in my pyjamas with a coffee cup wondering whether to pick it up. So I picked it up. I said hello and this voice said, Hey, Mikey its Cheyenne. I said, you’re not going to believe this, I just had a dream last night that we were playing on stage together! It was, like, some kind of higher calling or fate, it was wild how we hadn’t spoken a word in a decade.”
Mike was heavily involved with the direction of the video as well which was shot by Bolo Brothers production team in Nashville. It was the first time that Cheyenne and Mike performed the song together. “The whole premise for it was like this guy and girl, in this moment of, forget everything around you, all the stresses and stuff that people struggle with day to day, and be together in the moment. Get in the car and just drive, doesn’t matter where you are going as long as you’re together. I’ve always loved performance videos, I like to see the artists perform a little bit within a story line.”
As he speaks to me from his friend Mark’s home studio, Mike says he has a big year ahead as he continues to play five gigs a week and works on recording his songs during the day. He is excited to release more of the project he has been working on and hitting the road, taking it further afield. He reflects fondly upon his achievements when I ask him about his proudest moment. The grin he has had throughout the call grows wider as he concludes, “I think staying healthy and grounded throughout the whole process. It was a pretty wild ride. One minute you’re in chicken wing bars and the next minute you’re playing in front of 20,000 people a night for two years, and then you’re in a stadium and then you’re on TV. The fact that I’m still here and making music, I’m extremely grateful for because it’s a wild, wild business. But I think that’s probably what I’m most proud about.”
I can’t wait to hear more from Mike Gossin who embraces the industry and everything it has to offer him over the coming months. His latest single has a nostalgic Gloriana feel to it whilst allowing him to step out and show more of his own personality.