Dylan Gossett has turned “Coal” into a diamond this year.
The 24-year-old Texan earned a streaming hit with the self-written song, which reached the top 5 on Spotify’s all-genre Viral 50 chart and has amassed 3.5 million on-demand official U.S. streams, according to Luminate. “Coal” currently stands at No. 35 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.
Initially self-released, “Coal” is now the cornerstone of Gossett’s new EP, No Better Time (released Oct. 27), while the singer is newly signed to Big Loud Texas/Mercury Records in collaboration with Range Media Partners. Big Loud Texas was recently launched as a venture between Miranda Lambert, Jon Randall and Big Loud Records.
“Tyler [Arnold] and Jake [Levensohn] from Mercury flew down to Texas to meet with me, and we instantly clicked,” says Gossett of his signing. “After meeting with Jon, Miranda and Seth [England] from Big Loud, it was a dream scenario to be able to combine forces and do this all together as a team.”
Gossett wrote “Coal” nearly two years ago and, at the time, had no plans to make music professionally. His biggest goal was playing for family gatherings at his grandfather’s lake house.
“Whenever holidays like Thanksgiving or Easter come around, my brother, parents, cousins, we all sit around a campfire and pass guitars around,” Gossett says. “Mainly, me, my brother and my cousin would play songs we wrote, but everyone would sing.”
Earlier this year, Gossett began posting songs on TikTok, including covers of The Lumineers’ “Ophelia” and Flatland Cavalry’s “A Life Where We Work Out.” In June, he released the original song “To Be Free,” which earned 519,000 on-demand official U.S. streams, according to Luminate. But “Coal,” released in July, proved to be his breakthrough, bolstering his Spotify count to more than 4 million monthly listeners.
“‘Coal’ is just a meaningful song I wrote about a tougher time,” Gossett says. “I felt like I was in a bit of a rut with my career and had some family things going on. Writing that song helped me to mentally just get through it and I think that’s why it’s so relatable to people as well — everybody goes through these types of things every day. When I saw the response to the video I put online of ‘Coal,’ I told my wife, Julia, ‘I have to record this song right now.’ I had a mic that Julia got me for Christmas and a little audio box, and recorded ‘Coal’ on my laptop, just sitting in my bedroom.”
The song anchors No Better Time, a homespun project that Gossett fully wrote, recorded, produced and mixed on his laptop in the bedroom of the couple’s home just outside of Austin. The project debuted at No. 7 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Albums Chart.
“I played all the instruments, except for [the] fiddle parts. I had a good friend come in and play those — I can’t play fiddle,” he says with a laugh. “The cover art is a photo my friend Billy took of me recording. It fully encompasses a homemade project. It’s inspiring that you can have a really cool sounding record, literally just from your bedroom with a hundred bucks of equipment.”
Every song on No Better Time is threaded through with Gossett’s poetic lyrics. “What does it take to feel alive?/ Do you need the lows to love the highs?” he asks on “Flip a Coin.” He muses that “Sweat on your skin is better than regret on your heart” in the encouraging “No Better Time” and paints a story of a gunslinger’s last moments in “Lone Ole Cowboy” with the lyric, “I hear the bullets fly as I make my final stand/ I’m a man with a gun shaking in my hand.”
He describes “Lone Ole Cowboy” as reminiscent of “Colter Wall kind of stuff. I always joke that I’m not a cowboy, but I like writing songs about them. And the song is all in major chords, so it’s one of the happier murder ballads out there,” he adds with a chuckle, noting that he and his brother had to get resourceful to get the steel guitar sound on the song. “We didn’t have a steel guitar, so my brother put his guitar on his lap and played it with like an Xbox controller or a remote.”
Gossett’s first musical influences were formed around the fifth grade, when he was inspired by such Ed Sheeran songs as “The A Team” and “Give Me Love.”
“I could just picture the song in my head when he sang it,” Gossett recalls. “I got a guitar for my birthday and just started learning to play. When I heard his ‘+’ album, it just sounded so different from what I was hearing on the radio every day. That just changed my whole world of music.”
Gossett studied at Texas A&M University and, in 2021, he began interning in event operations and logistics for Formula 1 Circuit of the Americas racetrack in Austin. He stationed his parents’ RV just outside the track for three months while he sometimes worked 20-hour shifts. He was offered a job a few months later.
“When F1 comes to town, it’s the craziest couple of weeks of your life if you are a worker there. But it helped me in knowing how to deal with high-intensity situations. The adversity you are used to in the event world, it helps when you are on the road and you just have to adapt to changing situations.”
Gossett was working at the racetrack when calls from labels began pouring in after the success of “Coal.”
“It was hectic for a while—it felt like all the labels were calling,” he recalls. “I told my boss, ‘I need to take PTO for a week and figure things out.’” He officially quit his job at the racetrack in September to focus on music.
“They asked me to sing the national anthem there a few weeks ago. I was up in the tower singing and I could literally see where my RV used to be,” he adds of his Oct. 22 performance at the F1 Finale in Austin.
Gossett has been steadily piling up concert appearances touring Wyatt Flores and Brent Cobb with more shows to come this year with Luke Grimes and Kolby Cooper. He’s slated to make his first festival appearance at SXSW next year, and will open shows for Midland.
Following No Better Time’s stripped-down style, Gossett predicts a full-band album release in 2024.
“No Better Time shows who I am right now as a songwriter and artist. It’s all just homemade and that’s so important to me. I have a lot of songs I want to build out in a bigger way, but I can’t bring the full drum kit into my bedroom,” he says with a laugh. “This project is more stripped back and I don’t think I’ll ever lose that sound, but I definitely want more songs with a bigger bang to them.”
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