The four young, ambitious members of Gloriana quickly captured the attention of country fans with their peppy single, “Wild at Heart.” That success prompted an invitation to open concerts on Taylor Swift‘s Fearless Tour this year — a decision that Cheyenne Kimball describes as “the biggest shock for all of us.”
The group — which consists of Kimball, Rachel Reinert and brothers Tom and Mike Gossin — just saw their self-titled debut album debut at No. 2 on the Billboard country albums chart. More significantly, perhaps, is that it also debuted at No. 3 on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart. They recently unveiled a new music video for “The Way It Goes,” and five exclusive live performances are now available at Rhapsody.com.
During a backstage visit in Omaha, Neb., the quartet talked to CMT.com about packing just one suitcase, personalizing their meet-and-greets and posting every thought they have on Twitter.
CMT: Your new video for “The Way It Goes” reflects what life is like on tour. What is your favorite part of the road experience?
Reinert: I think for me, it’s the camaraderie. Any time that we go out and do shows outside of the tour, it’s always great, but when we come back to this, it’s like coming home. We’ve created a lot of relationships and friendships with all these people. When you walk down the hall, you’re joking around and saying “hey” to each other. It has that home feeling, which is really important to us, especially since we’re away from home all the time.
Do you remember the first night that everyone seemed to know “Wild at Heart”?
Tom Gossin: It was in Greensboro, N.C. We hadn’t been back there in so long, and I guess the radio there is playing “Wild at Heart” like crazy. They were talking about how we’re from there [the brothers grew up in Wilmington, N.C.], so when we went to play the show, it was like a way bigger than we had thought it was going to be, but it was really cool.
What do you remember about Aug. 4, when your album was finally released?
Mike Gossin: I was just excited. I think this one of the most important times in an artist’s life. You put in all this work, and we’ve all had this dream of being musicians on a large scale. So to have that actually come to life — and see the response in people and see people buying CDs and hearing about the numbers and everything like that — it’s amazing. It’s really, really exciting. I’m a little bit nervous and just excited.
How have your packing habits changed since this tour began?
Kimball: My suitcase is a mess. I started out with it all folded.
Reinert: We knew we were going to be allowed only to have one suitcase, so you learn to get one outfit that will last you and a lot of outfits that you can do different things with. I wore this outfit to a show that we played last night.
Kimball: So did I!
Tom Gossin: It’s been easiest for Mike and me, I guess, because we’re dudes and we’ve always played in bands. We don’t always shower every day. We just throw the same jeans on, a new T-shirt and we’re good to go.
From the artist’s perspective, what is the meet-and-greet experience like?
Kimball: I’m not going to name the band, but I remember when I was 8, I went to a concert and did a meet-and-greet. It was like an assembly line. They wouldn’t even look at you to say “hi.” They were just like signing, signing, signing, signing. Then I went to another meet-and-greet with somebody that I’m not going to mention by name, and she answered like three questions out of like a hundred people. That’s all she would answer, and when you walked out the door, you got a pre-signed thing. She wouldn’t even sit down and sign for anybody. I remember thinking it was so impersonal. So now, even though we’ve got a really long line and a short amount of time to get through everybody when we’re doing a signing, I try my hardest to look up at everybody and look them in the eye and say, “Hi, how are you?” Because I remember being a fan … and that not working out. (laughs)
You are very well-connected to your fans with Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.
Mike Gossin: The response from people that have been following us on the Internet is amazing. We’ll tweet, and within two seconds, it’s like response, response, response, response — for like a page. It’s great for us because it means that people are dedicated to really finding out where we are and what’s going on.
Kimball: We really enjoy doing that, though. I am personally a Twitter-holic. I need to go to rehab for it. Pretty much every thought that I have goes on Twitter. But I like to connect. We all like to connect with the fans and show them that just as much as they’re dedicated to us, we’re dedicated to them. They are what makes us. We read all the tweets. We read everything!
What do you think about seeing so many young people in your audience?
Kimball: Our audience is all across the board, to be honest.
Mike Gossin: That’s what I was just about to say. It’s not all young people. I’d say probably 50 to 60 percent is, but the cool thing is — and that’s another thing that we’re super, super proud of — we have a diverse demographic. It’s unbelievable. Parents are coming up to us in the meet-and-greet lines saying, “We love you guys’ music.” I think we accomplished that on the record because we set out to do the new, modern thing, where young people can enjoy — and where country is going now. We also kept the traditional elements in there.
Reinert: I also love playing these Taylor shows because this crowd is so loud and enthusiastic and huge. You feel that energy. It’s incredible. It’s a rush being up there.
What goes through your mind as the lights go down and you approach the stage?
Mike Gossin: “Let’s have fun.” We don’t take anything too seriously. We just try to have a really good time. We try not to get too nervous, and if somebody misses a note, man, that’s OK. “Did you have fun?” Try your best and have a good time. That’s what it’s about. It’s the party aspect that we’re going for.