It was 2017 and Mitch Rossell was completely fed up.
On this particular day, the country found themselves once again divided among racial lines and political parties, and for a songwriter, it was enough to put Rossell’s mind into an all-out tailspin.
“It’s so ridiculous how so many feel like it’s ok to spew hatred toward one another,” remarks Rossell during a recent interview with American Songwriter. “No matter how different you are in your views with somebody else, the fact is that we all have way more in common than we are different. You want to be free to make choices. You want your kids to have the same freedoms as you did. You want the best for your family.”
It’s the American dream.
So, the East Tennessee native went and wrote a song about it.
But that was three years ago.
Now, the American dream seems to be slipping from the fingers of countless Americans due to the repercussions of the current pandemic. And because of this, Rossell says that his song “American Dream” has taken on a whole new meaning for him and so many others.
“When all this stuff started happening with the coronavirus, I really started grappling with if I should even release ‘American Dream’ right now, but then I asked myself, ‘why do I make music?’ recalls Rossell of the song, which follows Rossell’s independently released songs “All I Need to See” and “Ask Me How I Know.” “I make music because I want to enrich people’s lives, and there is no better time to do that than right now. I believe this song will remind people what we are fighting for.”
And Rossell knows that fight…firsthand.
“When I wanted to move to Nashville, I had to sell my vehicle and I had to work the bars and I lived those days where you live on tips and pray you have enough to pay your bills,” recalls Rossell, who has had a hand in writing everything from Garth Brooks “Ask Me How I Know” to Brooks’ collaboration with Blake Shelton on “Dive Bar” and has often joined Brooks on tour. “But I stuck to my guns and fought for what I wanted, and eventually, all that hard work culminated into being a better writer and a better artist and a better performer.”
It’s this sort of work ethic that shines bright within the “American Dream” music video, which Rossell directed alongside Austin Peckham.
“It really demonstrates how putting in the work in means that someday, you can reap all of the benefits,” Rossell says. “That’s what we are all trying to do. We want to take care of our families and we want to provide for them at the end of the day.”
And as America attempts to collectively come up with a playlist for their new normal this Memorial Day weekend, Rossell says he realizes that “American Dream” just might mean something different for everyone who hears it.
“This is a time to thank our military and thank God for the men and women who paid for our freedom and protect our freedom,” he says. “That’s the reason we can wake up and chase anything we want. But right now, we are also thinking of all those people on the front line of this crazy coronavirus, who are putting their lives at risk and working crazy hours. No matter the times we are living in, this song is relevant. We are all fighting for something.”