Mitch Rossell may not be a household name – at least not yet – but his music is certainly well known. Rossell is the songwriter behind Garth Brooks' mega-hit, "Ask Me How I Know," from Brooks' Gunslinger album, which became a No. 1 hit, and Brooks' first single to top the charts in ten years.
Little did Rossell realize when he wrote "Ask Me How I Know," one of many songs he penned over the years, that it would become the song that would change his entire career path.
"I was coming home from a gig; I used to play in bars downtown to make a living." Rossell recalls to PopCulture.com of writing the tune. "I was coming home late one night and I was running on low sleep. When I drive, that’s when I do most of my thinking. I was driving home, and I had a song idea, and it was for ‘Ask Me How I Know.’ I just recorded it in my phone, went to bed that night and got up the next morning, and basically just wrote it that Saturday."
Rossell had already been introduced to Brooks before he wrote "Ask Me How I Know," and was getting advice from the country music icon about songs to record for Rossell's own project, never imagining he'd pass the song off to his musical idol.
"I sent him four or five songs, and that was one of them," Rossell says. "He reached out and said, ‘Hey man, come over to the house. I want to talk to you.’ So that was when I found out that he wanted to cut it."
When the east Tennessee native first moved to Nashville, his Facebook profile said, "I want to make music that gets back to Garth," not having any idea how prophetic those words really were.
"[It] was just surreal to even talk to Garth, and then get to know Garth, and then get to send him songs," Rossell recounts. "That was just beyond surreal. Knowing he wanted to cut something? There are no words in the dictionary for that. It’s just mind-blowing."
But the story doesn't end there. Impressed by the music Brooks heard Rossell writing and singing, Brooks invited Rossell to tour with him on part of his World Tour, allowing Rossell to introduce himself, and his music, to millions of fans.
"His belief in me — there’s nothing that will ever compare to it, in this business," Rossell states. "I don’t care what I go on to do, if I have success as an artist, as a writer, as both. If I sell out stadiums, it won’t ever compare to this. It just won’t, and I’m OK with that. This is something I couldn’t have dreamed of. I always say, ‘Some people get to live their dreams. I’m living a fantasy.’ If you’d have told me, ‘Think of your biggest dream, you’re absolute biggest dream,’ I still wouldn’t have come up with this."
With the power of Brooks behind him, Rossell is now devoting his time to his own music, writing and recording songs for an upcoming EP.
"[I want to] write as much as I can, and really lock in my team," says Rossell. "Try to find the people that want to do this journey together, because it takes a village, so to speak. So just finding the people that believe; believe in the music first, and wanting to support great music, and getting great music out to the people. That’s going be a big focus this year. And then cutting new music, for sure. Finding the right producer and just getting in and cutting songs that we believe in."
While it might seem that Rossell would be trying to get his music out as quickly as possible, to make the most of the fans he met on the World Tour, the singer-songwriter says he would rather it be right than be rushed.
"I want to go," he says. "I want to run 100 miles hour, but it’s also one of those things, you have to let God’s timing run its course. I’ve learned that with this career so many times, and just in life so many times. You’ve got to hurry up and take your time, is what I like to say. Just go at it, work hard, but don’t get ahead of yourself. Try to surround yourself with good people, and that takes time."
When Rossell is ready to release his own music, and tour on his own, the words and actions of his mentor and former tour boss will guide his every step.
"Even when he wasn’t saying anything, he was giving me advice," Rossell notes. "From the way he operates his business to the way that he treats people, and everything in between. I’ve learned so much from him, and I know I’ll keep learning stuff from him. But the biggest thing for sure for me, at the end of the day, we’re all in this crazy life together, no matter what your profession is. And at the end of the day, loving people is the most important thing to me, and that’s what I wake up every day and try to do better at that."
Photo Credit: MitchRossell.com