Their win for Breakthrough Artist elicited the biggest press room gasps at last night’s American Music Awards (well, besides J.Lo falling) (oh, and Adam Lambert’s fellatio follies), because who on earth thought Gloriana would beat out Lady Gaga, Keri Hilson, and Kid Cudi to take the Stabby Trophy of Death™ home? And, more importantly, who on earth are Gloriana?
To country fans, they’re a familiar up-and-coming group that’s put in the miles opening for Taylor Swift’s 2009 Fearless tour, as well as Alan Jackson, the Zac Brown Band, Brooks & Dunn, and several others over the past couple years. Their first single, “Wild At Heart,” is the year’s highest-selling country debut. Back in July, the Music Mix streamed an exclusive live track (“The Way It Goes”) from the band, I confessed “Wild At Heart” makes me want to stab Care Bears, they very kindly sent me a signed Care Bear, and then I more or less panned their debut album when it dropped a week later. Happily, this Nashville foursome — brothers Tom and Mike Gossin, Rachel Reinert, and America’s Most Talented Kid winner Cheyenne Kimball — was able to speak to me yesterday without punching me in the face.
Fun fact: When I caught up with them, they’d just come from being mobbed by the photographers in the press room, and were still carrying the prop AMA they were given to hold. In all the excitement, they would go on to inadvertently steal the fake trophy and take it back to their hotel. No word on whether or not it has since been returned to Dick Clark Productions.
After the jump, Gloriana introduce themselves…
Entertainment Weekly: I’ve been told that when you walked the red carpet tonight, no one knew who you were — but you just caused serious chaos in the press room.
Rachel: When we first got out to take photos on the red carpet, there were maybe three, four flashes of the cameras.
Cheyenne: They were all looking the other direction.
R: They’re like, who are these kids? And then all of a sudden we win this and it’s like, blinding light over there.
What does that feel like?
R: It’s amazing. And it’s satisfying. We’ve worked so so so hard for the past two and a half years together, and to see it finally pay off, and to see that we have such incredible, incredible fans, and to bring this home for country music, it’s just such a blessing.
Tom: I think we feel we’re in like one of those cheesy high school movies where they take the dorky girl and take her glasses off and put her in a nice dress and give her a haircut, and then everyone’s like, “Whoa, where’d she come from?” That’s us right now.
So, who the hell is Gloriana?
Mike: We’re a band, we’re all young kids, Tom and I are brothers, we came from North Carolina and moved to Nashville about three years ago. We immediately started looking for people to play music with. We found Rachel on MySpace, she had some songs up. Sent her a message to see if she wanted to jam. The three of us got together, we were playing in Nashville and Cheyenne came and heard us play one night, and asked if she could jam with us, and it just took off. We have an amazing record label behind us, amazing fans, people supporting us. It’s been a crazy two and a half years, and now we’re holding this award in our hands and it’s unreal.
When people now come flocking to your music, what should they expect to hear?
M: Country. Four part harmony. We’re all lead singers, so we all take turns singing different songs.
R: And I think we’re doing something different.
Which is what?
C: It’s new wave country. More like Taylor Swift.
Can we talk honestly about the effect Taylor Swift had on this, exposing you to her fans?
T: That was really the coolest thing one artist could ever do for another artist. She had no ties to us, no reason to reach out to us whatsoever. She literally just liked our music. She said she was a fan of the band and called us one day when we were in a van, touring… somewhere in America, doing small bar shows, you know? She was like, “You wanna come on my tour?” And we were like, “Uh, lemme think. Okay.” That never happens. People do stuff for business—she was really just a fan of the music and said, “I dig you guys and want to give you a shot.” How cool is that?
How are you going to use this momentum to do something that matters?
M: We’re trying to just play for as many people as we can, and if we can change people’s lives in any positive way and make good out of our music and what we love to do, then we’re doing the right thing. We make music for the fans. We’re trying to be a positive influence.
[Mike is gesturing with the trophy and very nearly impales Rachel.] Are you worried you could actually hurt somebody with that?
R: He stabbed me backstage when we won!
M: I was like, YEAH! [stabs at her again]
R: I’m actually bleeding profusely now under this dress.