After its "completely unexpected" shrinking from a quartet to a trio, country group Gloriana is ready to move its career ahead with "A Thousand Miles Behind" in 2012.
The group has already released two singles from its sophomore album -- "Wanna Take You Home" and "(Kissed You) Good Night" -- both of which have hit the Top 40 of the Top Country Songs chart. Gloriana's Mike Gossin tells Billboard.com that the entire album shows "a lot of growth. After three years of touring non-stop with some of the biggest country artists in the entire genre, I think we learned a lot about ourselves, about the business, about performing -- about the entire thing, really. I feel the second record is really representative of our lives and stories we literally went through on the road, whether it's relationships with girlfriends and boyfriends or family or even with each other. It all comes from the heart."
Gossin says Gloriana and producer Matt Serletic were "close to done" with the follow-up to its self-titled 2009 debut album -- co-writing songs with Hilary Lindsey, Josh Kear, Stephanie Bentley, James Slater and others -- when Cheyenne Kimball left in July, sending the group back into the studio to "repurpose" the set. "It was kind of out of the blue, totally unexpected," Gossin says of Kimball's departure. But he adds there was no question that Gloriana -- which he formed during 2008 with his brother, Tom, and Rachel Reinert -- would go on.
"We couldn't see ourselves doing anything else. Tom and Rachel and I...were together for about a year before Cheyenne joined. So for us it's kind of going back to what we started. It's an interesting process for us. We really feel like we got back to our roots. There's an excitement again and this energy we had when we were about to put our first record out. A lot of artists don't get to do in and do a second or third draft of a CD, so everything's really turning out great, and it feels a lot more positive than negative."
The "Gloriana" album debuted at No. 2 on the Country charts and No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and launched three Top 40 Country singles. Gloriana also took home freshman honors from the American Music Awards, the Academy of Country Music Awards and the CMT Music Awards, and the group toured with Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean and the Zac Brown Band. But Gossin says the trio was able to keep any pressure at bay as it made the new album, which will drop during first half of 2012.
"I think as a musician you always want to fit in with the best of the best -- you try your best to do that," he explains. "I think for us it all comes down to honesty in the songs, honesty within ourselves, being real people and giving back to the people who show up and support us. That's what we've been doing in this band since the beginning -- singing songs about what we believe in and what happens with us. If people can hear the real truth and honesty in the music and know that it comes from our hearts, we'll do just fine."
Gloriana wraps up its 2011 touring this week but plans to be back at it early in the new year. "We're headlining some dates," Gossin reports, "and there's also talk about teaming up with some other Warner Brothers artists and doing a tour, which isn't set in stone just yet. There's a lot that's still up in the air, but next year will really be about getting out on the road and playing as much as possible."