If you happened to take a look at the iTunes country chart last week, you may have seen a name you’ve never heard before at number one, and if curiosity got the best of you, you probably listened to the song above popular singles by Morgan Wallen, Chris Stapleton and Gabby Barrett.
The name you would have seen was Mitch Rossell, and that song is his newest single “2020.” After quickly going viral on TikTok, Rossell capitalized on the song’s momentum by releasing it just ten days after it was written, and now, he’s riding the wave.
Even if this is the first time you’ve heard his name, this probably isn’t the first time you’ve heard something he’s been a part of; hell, you may already be a fan and you just don’t know it. Rossell was the man behind Garth Brooks’ first number one single in nearly a decade, “Ask Me How I Know,” and if you’ve scooted a boot or tied one on to Brooks’ singles “All Day Long” and “Dive Bar” from his newest album Fun, Rossell had a hand in those as well.
We chatted with Rossell and his friendship with Brooks, watching “Ask Me How I Know” reach the top of the charts, what the success of “2020” has meant to him, his big plans for new music in the future and more!
Pro Country: In 2014, your work caught the eye of Garth Brooks. How did Garth come across you, and what kind of validation comes with having someone of Garth’s stature in your corner?
Mitch Rossell: I had the honor of sending Garth some songs through email for his Man Against Machine album. I’m still not sure why, but he really connected with my stuff and reached out to me. From there, we just got to know each other and became friends. Words could never describe what it means to me to have him in my corner, but it means even more to me personally than musically. He’s just a good man and a good friend. All music stuff aside, I value my friendship with him first.
PC: Garth recorded your song, “Ask Me How I Know” for his 2016 album Gunslinger, and took it to number one, his first since 2007. What did it mean to you to see the rise of the song and to be able to help Garth back to number one for the first time in nearly a decade?
MR: It was beyond surreal. I wouldn’t be in Nashville if it wasn’t for Garth Brooks. There are old interviews I did before I even knew Garth where I talked about his influence on me as an artist and as a writer, and how he’s my favorite artist. So, him cutting a song I wrote by myself is as good as it gets for me. I don’t think I could ever top that no matter what I’m blessed to do in my career. Garth has also done so much for me and I could honestly never repay him, but it felt really good to write something that helped him.
PC: Your 2019 single, “All I Need to See,” has earned nearly nine million streams on Spotify alone. What do you think it is about that song that is allowing it to connect with listeners the way it has?
MR: I’m not sure, but my guess would be that it just paints an authentic picture. I wrote it from a real place, and at the end of the day, we all feel and experience a lot of similar things and I believe those authentic creative expressions are what connects us songwriters to the listener.
PC: You co-wrote three songs on Garth’s new album, Fun, all of which featured Garth as a co-writer. Is it still surreal to you to sit in a writing room with Garth to create, given that he is someone you have labeled your favorite artist of all time?
MR: Oh absolutely. I have never really been someone to get starstruck, but it’s intimidating sitting in a room with Garth freakin’ Brooks! I mainly just want to contribute and not let him down. He does a really good job of making you feel comfortable though, and over time, I’ve settled in more and more.
PC: Your single, “2020,” first gained popularity on TikTok. What was it like watching the song gain momentum and realize that you were going to have to record and release the song fairly quickly to build on that momentum?
MR: It’s been a wild ride. I wrote, recorded and released that song within a 10 day window. That’s not usually how things happen as you know, but it just took off at 100mph and didn’t look back. It’s been incredibly encouraging seeing the overwhelmingly positive response, and I pray that it’s given others as much hope as it’s given me.
PC: Can you talk about the inspiration behind “2020”? What do you hope listeners take away from the song?
MR: It was inspired by the hopelessness I think so many of us have felt lately as Americans. It’s tough not to buy into this notion that we’re all SO different and SO far apart on things, but I don’t think most of us really are. I believe we live in the land of common sense and wishing the best for our neighbor. I hope listeners take away a sense of compassion for things they don’t understand or agree with. Hell, I’m human, I have my moments too where I look at something and disagree. I hope we can all consider that every person has different experiences, struggles, etc., and there is value in that, even if I don’t understand it. I’m all for standing up for what you believe in.
PC: Can you describe the emotions you felt when you saw “2020” atop the iTunes country chart and seeing your name above and among the biggest names in the genre?
MR: Absolutely incredible. When it hit number 1, I just remember feeling overwhelmed. Then I watched it stay there for a week straight, that was insane. Then it got knocked out for a few hours and I thought “Okay, we had an amazing run.” Then it went right back! Then Morgan Wallen’s new record came out, which is great by the way, and it got knocked out again and I thought “Well, we had an amazing run.” And then it went right back again for another day! What a ride. God is good.
PC: After the success you’re having with “2020,” is there a level of pressure you feel, internally or externally, to have a certain amount of success with subsequent releases?
MR: I think for me, I’m always feeling a little bit of that pressure, so I wouldn’t say that I feel it any more than usual.
PC: Do you have more new music on the way? What information can you give about your upcoming releases? What can listeners expect to hear?
MR: We have cut a TON of new music, just figuring out how we want to go about releasing it and in what order. For me, I’m always going to be a storyteller and a lyric guy. I like to write to hooks and find ways to say things that are unique to me. That’s what I’d say you can expect from me.
PC: The past five-plus years have been transformative for you and your career. Has there been an adjustment you’ve had to endure in that time? What have you learned about yourself in that span?
MR: I’ve grown tremendously as a person and as an artist. Still have a long way to go, but I sure feel like I’ve come a long way as well. It’s rewarding, but I’m still hungry to keep achieving more goals.
PC: What are your plans for 2021?
MR: I plan to release more music and I’m really praying to get back out on the road and see my fans. I miss ’em!
*Mitch’s music is featured on The Best of Pro Country playlist!*