From Wednesday’s Life section of The Oklahoman.
Band’s start Swift, ‘Fearless’
Touring with Taylor Swift gives Gloriana quick, high-profile exposure
For country quartet Gloriana, 2010 already has been an Olympian year.
The foursome has contributed a new song to the Team USA Winter Olympics soundtrack, won the fan-voted Academy of Country Music top new vocal group award and will compete for the ACM’s top new artist title. The band, along with former “American Idol” contender Kellie Pickler, also is continuing to open for superstar Taylor Swift on her “Fearless 2010 Tour,” coming tonight to Oklahoma City.
“We are just so blessed with all these wonderfully opportunities that keep coming our way,” said Gloriana singer/tambourine player Rachel Reinert in a phone interview from Tampa, Fla., where Swift and her special guests resumed their “Fearless” trek across North America earlier this month after touring in Australia.
Gloriana had its career transformed in 2009 when Swift heard the contemporary country band’s rousing breakout hit “Wild at Heart” and personally invited the quartet to play on her wildly popular headlining tour.
“We literally went from like playing these dive bars with 100 to 200 people to arenas with 10,000 to 20,000 people. So we’re a little bit more experienced,” Reinert said with a laugh.
“It’s so cool that she’s asked us and Kellie to come out with her for a few more months. We were really sad when the tour was over last year, but we were like ‘All right, this is just goodbye for now, we’ll see you guys next year.’ It’s great just to know everyone and see everyone all over again.”
The four members of Gloriana – Reinert, singer/guitarist brothers Mike and Tom Gossin and singer/mandolin player Cheyenne Kimball – are going on three years as a band but have been making music since they were kids. After years of working hard and paying dues, Reinert said they are grateful that Swift “saw the potential in us and recognized that and was willing to kind of scoop us up and put us in front of … 10,000 to 20,000 people a night. That is definitely very like, wow, how did that happen? That’s crazy.”
Along with opening for Swift, the band last year released its self-titled debut album, which premiered at No. 3 on Billboard’s Top 200 list and No. 2 on the Billboard Country Albums Chart. “Wild at Heart” became the best-selling song by a new country artist in 2009, moving more than 375,000 copies to date, and Gloriana won the American Music Award for breakthrough artist of the year.
“I think a lot more people are starting to discover our music and hear about us and that’s really exciting. And we’re playing and headlining a lot of our own club and bar shows, and we’re selling those out,” said Reinert, whose band also will play a solo show Saturday at Miami’s Buffalo Run Casino.
“You get people out there singing on the words and they’re just excited to see you and they’re just so into the music. And that is the No. 1 reason why we do what we do is to reach out to people and for them to hear our music and relate to it. It’s what fuels us and what keeps us going.”
Winning awards doesn’t hurt, either. Gloriana recently beat out the Lost Trailers and Eli Young Band to earn the fan-voted ACM top new vocal group award. The quartet will compete against top new solo vocalist Luke Bryan and top new vocal duo Joey + Rory for the top new artist award, with fan voting starting Thursday at www.VoteACM.com. The winner will be announced when the 45th Annual ACM Awards air live from Las Vegas April 18 on CBS.
“To get recognized and to feel welcomed and embraced and to get that ACM nomination is the best feeling in the world,” Reinert said. “It’s just very gratifying, very rewarding, and we really, really would love to win it.”
She and her bandmates didn’t take home medals, but they were among the winners during last month’s Winter Olympics. NBC invited Gloriana to record a new song and music video for the AT&T Team USA Soundtrack. The quartet transformed a scrapped song called “The Last Goodbye,” which was originally set to appear on last year’s debut album, into the uplifting “The World Is Ours Tonight.”
“The lyrics obviously changed to fit more of like an inspirational kind of a theme, and we rearranged all the harmonies and rearranged the vocal parts and ended up going into the studio. And we were like, ‘yes, this is how this song was meant to be,’” she said.
The anthem has become so popular, the band decided to make it a single and rerelease its debut album with “The World Is Ours Tonight.”
“It’s very cool and it’s fun to be playing a completely new song. … It’s funny, like we play that song and we get through that first chorus and the hook that the world is ours tonight, and people are like going crazy,” she said.
“We just knew it was kind of one of those ‘let’s just go for it’ kind of things.”
With Swift on their side, Gloriana seems to be encountering many such opportunities.
Taylor Swift with Gloriana and Kellie Pickler
When: 7 tonight.
Where: Ford Center, 100 W Reno.
Information: (800) 745-3000 or www.okfordcenter.com.
When: 8 p.m. Saturday. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Where: Buffalo Run Casino, Miami.
Information: (918) 542-7140 or www.buffaloruncasino.com.