Originally from Chattanooga, TN, Mitch Rossell made the move to Nashville in 2009, when he graduated from college. Since arriving in Nashville, Mitch has been able to play with John Driskell Hopkins of the Zac Brown Band as well as team up with Eric Church for the 2011 ACM's "Duets" series. Mitch believes it is possible to make it the old fashioned way—with talent, strong song writing, selling records independently, and playing shows. In 2014, Mitch released his album I Got Dressed Up For This which debuted at #27 on the iTunes Top 100 Country Albums. Mitch recently took some time to chat with us about the new record, being an independent artist and more.
At the conclusion of your album, you have a monologue in which you tell people your very personal story. What prompted you to put that on the album?
Honestly, that idea was my business partner and manager Josh’s brainchild. He heard something similar on an old Kanye West record and thought maybe we should try doing something like it. I feel that as an industry, we don’t brand artists anymore, we brand singles. I think there is a lot of value in letting people know that you’re a guy or girl just like they are; that you do the same things, and feel the same ways. I thought the monologue was a nice way to reach people.
Backtracking a little bit, was country the genre you always gravitated towards?
I grew up on country; it was all I listened to growing up and I loved it. Of course, I went through a rebellious stage where I listened to alternative rock and rap. I had to go through that process to find out country music was all I wanted to know.
Do you have any particular influences on your playing and/or song writing?
Garth Brooks. He is a great performer, a good writer and plays well. As for writers, I love anyone who has something to say, even outside of country music, such as Jackson Browne, James Taylor, and the Eagles. Bob McDill, Wayland Holyfield, and Mark Nesler are guys who write songs that really grab me.
You waited until after college to move to Nashville. Since moving, do you think things have progressed quickly for you?
I moved to Nashville probably fifteen days after I graduated from college and have been here for about four years now. Finishing school was important to me; I started it and wanted to see it through. My grandparents paid for a semester and I didn’t want them to do that in vain.
I have had some incredible experiences, and I know there are people who have been doing it longer and have not had those opportunities, but there is a daily grind and daily struggles that come with this business; it’s just a fact. It takes a lot of work and sacrifice. I have invested many hours into bettering my craft and I literally pulled every dollar out of my savings to finish this album. Nobody sees that type of stuff.
You put out the album independently and wrote/co-wrote all of the songs on the record. Is writing your own material important to you?
I have to thank Derek Wells because he was gracious enough to help cover the costs of the record. He really believed in me and was very, very helpful.
For me, it was important to write all of the songs. I am a songwriter first and I think the truest form of artistic expression is to write. That’s not to say I wouldn’t cut an outside song, but writing is really important to me.
The album covers diverse topics and includes humorous songs and as well as songs that talk about religion.
I try to write a variety of songs. I don’t necessarily write the same way every time because I feel like it makes me better in long run.
I am not ashamed to say I am a Christian and that Christ died for our sins. I stand on that. I will not beat it over somebody’s head, but music is my expression and religion is something that is important to me.
“Up to Somethin’” is one of my favorite tracks. Is there a story behind that song?
I took that idea to really good buddy of mine that I write with. We had just wrapped up a song and I told him my idea for this song. There was not one particular experience that put the song in my head; every day God blesses me.
What are your plans to support the album?
We are trying to get booking more established. We have been getting booked, totally unsolicited, for two to three years, but you know, doors are hard to kick open sometimes and we’re trying to get to a place where we are able to get in front of more people.
You are very active on social media. Do you think that is important to an artist today?
Yes and no. Social media provides the ability to reach people in an effective way, but, for me, there is something about basic human interaction that social media will never be able to meet, no matter what comes along. There is nothing like talking to someone, looking someone in the eye and shaking their hand.
Is there one recent album that you cannot stop listening to?
I usually listen to a lot of older stuff, but “Cop Car” by Keith Urban is brilliant. I really like that one.
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