In a city where it takes guts, talent, and non-stop work to succeed in songwriting, state of the art songwriter Mitch Rossell has been doing it as good as anybody. He has already achieved major success with his songwriting, which happened to land the attention of none other than Garth Brooks himself. Not only did Brooks like what he heard, he took Rossell on the road with him, and now Rossell is accredited with writing songs for Brooks, and of course, for himself.
Hailing from the hills of East Tennessee, Rossell moved to Nashville upon completing college at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. It was in his early college years that he first picked up the guitar, which he did in honor of his late father. He attributes much of his music and career to his dad, who raised him on the radio. When he moved to Nashville, he started earning his chops on lower Broadway and other local venues. One day, on a chance effort, he obtained the pitch email of Brooks, and as fate would have it, Brooks loved what he heard, and the rest is history.
Rossell’s most recent songwriting success story comes as being the writer of Brooks’ first number one hit in several years, “Ask Me How I Know.” He has also released his own album, “Raised by the Radio,” that has seen much success with radio and airplay. He recently signed a deal with Wrensong Publishing, operated by Ree Guyer, a well-respected Music Row veteran known for kickstarting many a popular artists’ career.
We had the amazing opportunity to chat with Rossell and learn more about his relationship with Brooks, his own songwriting influence, advice for songwriters, and much more.
Music Mecca: You recently released your new single entitled “All I Need to See”. What was the inspiration behind this song?
Mitch Rossell: My wife. She wasn’t my wife when I wrote it, we’d only been dating a few months. Funny how the lyrics seem to become more and more true every day.
MM: Can fans expect to see it on an upcoming EP or album?
MR: Yeah I think so. For now we’re just going to focus on releasing a song at a time and let each one have its moment. Once we have several out, they’ll probably just become a part of one project if that makes sense.
MM: I know you had the honor of touring with Garth Brooks on his last tour. What was that experience like?
MR: It was absolutely indescribable. Every aspect of the tour was the greatest thing in the world. Greatest crowds. Greatest crew. Greatest environment. Greatest artist. It all starts at the top. Garth is a remarkable human being and it just filters right on down to everyone else. I had the time of my life and I learned so much.
MM: Of all of the shows that you did with Garth, was there one that stood out, and if so why?
MR: Wow. There’s no way I could choose just one. I mean, Cincinnati will always have a special place in my heart because I got my first, full arena standing ovation there. It was overwhelming. They were so good to me. But honestly, everyone was so good to me. I was always so blown away by how gracious people were to some no name artist walking out with a guitar and playing songs they’d never heard. Pretty cool stuff.
MM: Can you tell us how you got acquainted with Garth, and how your working relationship has progressed?
MR: Well it would take about 3 pages to give you all the details, but the spark notes version is that it just started with an email with 4 of my songs attached. From there it developed into a conversation, then writing some stuff and hanging out, and then a friendship. He’s been incredibly helpful to me not just in the business, but in life. He’s always there to talk to when I need some guidance and advice, and he’s a big part of the reason I’ve gotten some big decisions right. I’ll always be beyond grateful for the love he’s shown me and my family and for the inspiration and influence he’s had on me.
MM: Where does your songwriting inspiration usually come from? Do you have particular places or pastimes that aide in the process?
MR: All kinds of places really. The one consistency for me is that I have to pull from somewhere real. For example, say I’ve got a cool idea for a hook or something. That’s all fine and good, but it doesn’t matter if it’s not going to make somebody feel something. So I always try to take each idea and pull from a real experience with a similar emotion, that way I know it’s going to come across authentic.
MM: How did you get into writing songs and playing guitar?
MR: I started playing guitar because my dad always wanted me to. I lost him when I was a kid and it was devastating. I swore that one day I’d learn to play for him. After I graduated high school, I was sitting at my grandparents’ house one day and just thought “today’s the day, I need to go buy a guitar”. So I did, and what I thought was just going to be a hobby turned into an obsession. I always loved to write in high school. Short stories, poems, whatever…so it naturally transitioned into songs when I started playing guitar.
MM: What song that you have written means the most to you and why?
MR: “Ask Me How I Know” means a lot to me. That song was very personal and for it to be the one that really gave me my first big cut is pretty neat. I would have to say the song that means the absolute most to me though, is a song I wrote with my buddy Dave Turnbull called “Son”. It’s a song that basically tells a big portion of my life story. It’s as real as it gets for me.
MM: I know when you were on the Garth Brooks tour you did a lot of those shows acoustically; do you prefer to perform acoustically, or do you prefer to perform with a full band?
MR: I honestly love both. They’re both just so different and each lends itself to different circumstances.
MM: What exciting things do you have on the agenda for the rest of 2019?
MR: I’m releasing more music and hopefully getting out on the road more! I’m also really excited to see how Garth’s new single feat. Blake Shelton called “Dive Bar” does. I had the pleasure of writing that with Garth and Bryan Kennedy and I’m just once again blown away that I get to be a part of something so amazing.
MM: What advice would you give young songwriters wanting to navigate a musical path such as yours?
MR: Be uniquely you. No one on the planet can do what YOU do when you are pursuing what truly moves you. Don’t chase trends and try to fit in, just chase your convictions. They’re there for a reason. It may take you longer and it may hurt worse, but when you finally bust through it makes it so much sweeter and you’ll be better for it. NOTHING on this planet worth having was meant to happen fast or easy. Hang tough and keep showing up.
For more info on Mitch and his music, be sure to check out his website HERE.