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  • Annette Dawm

Kicking It with Brett Kissel

Updated: Sep 1, 2019

Brett Kissel is becoming a household name in The Canadian Country Music World, but if someone were just discovering his music today, he said, “I would want everyone to know that first and foremost, I am a fan of country music -- which would explain how passionate I am about the genre and the history. I love country music with all my heart!" Something else people may not know about the young star is that he has a knack for yodeling. “Since I was a little kid, I’ve been yodeling-- especially when I was going through my voice change as a teenager. Naturally I would yodel, so I practiced as much as I could so that my voice ‘cracks’ wouldn’t be so obvious!" he explained.

In 2016, Brett took home The Fans' Choice Award as well as Male Artist of the Year at The Canadian Country Music Association Awards (CCMAs). When Kelsea Ballerini called his name as the winner for Fans’ choice, Brett recalled how he slumped down in his chair “in complete disbelief. I kissed my wife, and then walked over to Johnny Reid, who has been one of my all-time heroes in the business.... He hugged me and congratulated me." Kissel also performed “I Didn’t Fall In Love With Your Hair” alongside Carolyn Dawn Johnson that night. For Brett (and the audience) “it was extremely special” to see his mom, Brenda on stage with him as well.

A few months later, Brett ended 2016 in Ottawa as part of the New Year’s Eve celebrations. His performance took place in weather that would have prepared him for the “Ice, Snow and 30 Below Tour”, which is currently underway:

“Performing in Ottawa on Parliament Hill was an amazing experience. However, it was the coldest day of the year, and I couldn’t believe we performed for an hour in -30 degree weather. It was insane!"

Both Brett and his dog/tour mascot, Charlie are both very active on social media. Brett commented that he is “very surprised how many followers @OhMyCharlie has on Instagram. He’s becoming quite the little celebrity!" Aside from watching Charlie’s number of followers grow, the country singer used social media to launch the #KickItWithKissel video contest. Several emerging artists submitted original material or a cover of one of Brett’s songs in hopes of landing a spot on the tour. One of the lucky winners was Marshall Dane, and in a video posted on Instagram and Facebook, Brett said “Marshall Dane just killed it!”

When asked what inspired the #KickItWithKissel contest, Brett replied, “When I was younger, all I ever wanted to do was perform-- and now that I see so many other up and coming artists, I want to share that experience with them, and give them an opportunity to hone their craft and make fans along the way. Nurturing the next generation is very important for our business."

Before becoming a mentor to his guests, he had two great mentors of his own. Brad Paisley and Garth Brooks have both shared their stages with Brett, but he said that the most important things he learned from them were not about performing: “Without question, the biggest lessons I learned from both Garth and Brad were how to treat people ‘off the stage’. These guys are giant mega-stars on stage, but off the stage they are the most kind and caring people, and I want to make sure I treat my opening acts with respect and kindness the way they treated me.”

In his own life off the stage, following the Ice, Snow and 30 Below tour, Brett Kissel will be eagerly awaiting the arrival his second child in the spring and a new album in the fall, so for him, “2017 is going to be an amazing year!” Since becoming a father to Mila, he has discovered that “being a parent is the most special thing in the world” and it has definitely influenced his song-writing: “…I try to write and record songs that my children will look back on in years to come and say, ‘You know what Dad? You were actually pretty good once.’"

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Photo courtesy of Warner Music Canada.

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