Rachel Reinert is a trusting soul.
The Florida native was living in Nashville working as a singer-songwriter when she decided to open up her home and its spare bedroom to two struggling musicians from upstate New York. “There was a screening process,” she says with a laugh. “But we had some mutual friends and I knew they were good people. And they knew I wasn’t a psycho.”
This story first appeared in the August 6, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Instead, the close quarters created one of country music’s newest breakthrough acts, Gloriana.
The group, which consists of Reinert and brothers Tom and Mike Gossin, have the number-two single on the Billboard Country Songs charts, “(Kissed You) Good Night,” and their new album, “A Thousand Miles Left Behind,” jumped to the number-two spot on the iTunes top country album chart after its release last Tuesday.
“We have two number twos,” says Mike Gossin, who plays guitar and sings harmony in the band. “I can’t believe it. We’re so pumped.”
The trio, which seems almost overwhelmed by its success, also played on “Good Morning America” and “Fox & Friends” last week during their whirlwind album launch tour to New York City.
“We’re actually from Utica,” says Tom Gossin, who shares lead vocals with Reinert. “But we’d never been to New York City until we came here as a band.” The Gossins grew up in an 1800s farmhouse in the woods outside of town and converted one of the outbuildings to a recording studio. Their father was a truck driver and their mother a hairdresser who worked out of their kitchen to make a few extra bucks. “It was real country living,” Mike Gossin says.
As teens, the brothers moved to North Carolina and then Nashville to pursue a career in country music. It was there that they met Reinert, who had signed a publishing deal at 16 and moved to Music City two years later.
“The first time the three of us sang together, we got goose bumps,” says Mike Gossin. “We knew we had something special.”
Gloriana, which records for Emblem Music Group/Warner Bros. Records, released its debut self-titled album in 2009 and won the fan-voted American Music Award for Breakthrough Artist and the 2010 Academy of Country Music Award for Top New Vocal Group. They were also named one of Billboard Magazine’s Top Country Groups for 2010. In the beginning, there was a fourth member of the group, Cheyenne Kimball, who exited the band suddenly with a Twitter message to her fans and no communication to her musical partners.
Although earth-shattering at the time, the group has rebounded from the sudden departure and said their sound hasn’t really changed with just three band members. “We actually started as a trio,” says Reinert. “So going from three to four back to three is not that difficult a transition. And it actually brought us closer together. We could work harder and refocus. So it’s really been a blessing in disguise.”
Even though Gloriana is riding high right now, it’s been a tough road. Their first single, “Wild at Heart,” went top five and they were invited to tour with Taylor Swift. But, Reinert says, “the next three singles didn’t do as well” and they didn’t get picked up to tour with any other major acts. “It’s been an up and down road,” she admits.
The future now seems brighter and the group hopes “(Kissed You) Good Night,” which has been certified gold, could become their first number-one single.
For the rest of the year, the group will tour the country and promote its new album, which features 11 songs that were written or co-written by the trio. “We wrote the whole thing,” says Tom Gossin proudly, adding that he was happy to be able to share “stories from our own lives. That’s what country music is all about: storytelling.”
And while sharing their stories through music, they also have their own distinct style.
While on stage, Reinert says she usually wears black pants or jeans and tops from Free People, Anthropologie, Paige, J.Brand or Urban Outfitters. “I’m bohemian with a little edge, but still girly,” she says. But no dresses. “I’m neurotic, I think people are going to be able to see up by skirt.”
For the guys, Mike Gossin admits to “not being a super-fashion guy. I like Guess jeans and Urban Outfitters.” And his brother? “I’m going to spend every dollar I make in this band on Double RL. I like vintage stuff and it looks beat up. I’ve been buying it all up slowly,” says Tom Gossin.