Brett Kissel
Brett Kissel performing at the 2017 Canada Summer Games
Background information
Born (1990-05-27) May 27, 1990 (age 31)[1]
St. Paul, Alberta, Canada
OriginFlat Lake, Alberta, Canada
GenresCountry
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter
InstrumentsVocals, guitar
Years active2003–present
Labels
Websitebrettkissel.com

Brett Kissel (born May 27, 1990) is a Canadian country singer. He has had four number-one hits on the Canadian country chart with "Airwaves", "Drink About Me", "A Few Good Stories", and "Make a Life, Not a Living".

Early life

Kissel, a fifth generation Albertan, was born in St. Paul, Alberta,[2] the son of Brenda and Gordon Kissel. He has one older brother, Jamison. He grew up on a cattle ranch in northeastern Alberta's Flat Lake region, where his family operates the Wengzynowski North View cattle ranch. The ranch, named for his great great-grandparents Wasyl and Paraska Wengzynowski, was homesteaded in 1910,[3][4] and raises Angus and Speckle Park-cross cattle. The lyrics to his song "Country in my Blood", released on Warner Music Canada in October 2013, tell about his family's journey to Canada, and his experience growing up in rural Alberta.[5]

When Kissel was six, his grandmother bought him his first guitar from the Sears catalogue for Christmas 1996. Kissel took lessons for one year in his hometown of St. Paul, and further developed his guitar-playing style through frequent attendance at the Freddie Pelletier Guitar Camp.

During a chance meeting in 1995, Kissel met Alberta country star, philanthropist, and fundraising auctioneer Danny Hooper, during a school fundraiser in St. Paul, Alberta. According to multiple interviews,[6] this was Kissel's first public performance, as Hooper called the youngster onstage to perform his local hit "The John Deere Tractor Keys" in front of a sold-out audience. This sparked a friendship between Kissel and Hooper that led to their professional management relationship that started in 2005.[7]

Career

2000–2011: Early years

Kissel recorded his first album, Keepin' It Country, when he was 12 years old.[8] The album was co-produced by Freddie Pelletier. A fan of Johnny Cash, Kissel included two Cash songs, "Tennessee Flat Top Box" and "Big River", as part of the album. Kissel wrote a letter to Cash when his wife June Carter Cash died in May 2003; Cash died a few months later on September 12, 2003, the day Kissel released the album. Before Kissel went on stage in Glendon, Alberta for his CD release concert, his father handed him an envelope he had received in the mail earlier that day, containing a signed 8x10 photograph from Johnny Cash. It read: "To Brett, Jesus First, Johnny Cash".[9]

Kissel's ranching background helped him to gain attention in agricultural and rodeo communities across Canada. He released three additional independent albums, By Request in 2004, Tried and True – A Canadian Tribute in 2006 and My Roots Run Deep in 2008.[8] Tried and True – A Canadian Tribute was produced by Steve Fox and featured duets with Fox, Corb Lund, Gary Fjellgaard and Larry Mercey of the Mercey Brothers.[8] Tried and True – A Canadian Tribute and My Roots Run Deep sold a combined 70,000 copies.[2] In 2006, Kissel was nominated for the Chevy Trucks Rising Star Award at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards.[10] Kissel was 16 years old at the time, making him the youngest CCMA nominee in the history of the awards show.[2]

2012–2014: Started with a Song

In late 2012, Kissel wrote and recorded a song about the 2012–13 NHL lockout, "Hockey, Please Come Back".[11] The music video for the song was viewed 10,000 times in its first two days of release.[12]

After many trips to Nashville since the age of 13, in late 2012, Kissel met manager Bob Doyle, who signed Kissel to a co-management contract with Louis O'Reilly.[13]

Kissel was featured on The Rick Mercer Report on CBC in March 2015.[5] On May 10, 2013, Kissel signed a record deal with Warner Music Canada.[14] His debut single, "Started with a Song", was released on June 17.[14] It became the most added song at Canadian country radio in its first week, surpassing a record set by Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together".[15] It debuted at number 87 on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 for the week of July 27, 2013.[16] The music video for the song premiered on CMT Canada on June 27.[15] Kissel's first album for Warner, also titled Started with a Song, was released on October 1, 2013.[14] Kissel co-produced the album with Ted Hewitt and Bart McKay.[2] "Started with a Song" peaked at the Number One position on CMT Canada's Chevrolet Top 20 Countdown. The album's second single, "Raise Your Glass", was released to Canadian country radio on October 7. The music video was produced by Margaret Malandruccolo.

On January 25, 2014, Kissel was nominated for four Association of Country Music in Alberta Awards (ACMAs), winning two awards for Rising Star and Single of the Year for Started with a Song. Following his two award wins, Kissel toured across Canada with his first national co-headlining tour called The Young Guns Tour. The tour had nineteen concerts from Vancouver to Charlottetown with co-headliners One More Girl.

On February 14, 2014, Kissel released his third single from his Started with a Song album titled "3-2-1"[17] with a music video directed by Shaun Silva[18] of Tacklebox Films. The video was shot in Nashville, Tennessee and has received heavy airplay on CMT Canada.[19]

On March 29, 2014, Kissel won his first Juno Award for Breakthrough Artist of the Year, and also performed on the 2014 Juno Awards broadcast on CTV alongside OneRepublic, Tegan and Sara, Bachman–Turner Overdrive and The Sheepdogs.[20]

In September 2014, Kissel led all country singers with eight nominations[21] for the Canadian Country Music Awards held in Edmonton, Alberta. Kissel went on to win two (2) awards during Country Music Week, including "Interactive Artist of the Year", and "CMT Video of the Year", for his number one hit – "3-2-1".[22] Kissel also closed the show at Rexall Place with a two-song performance that included a medley of "3-2-1" and "Started With A Song", both number one videos on CMT Canada.[23]

Following the Canadian Country Music Awards in September 2014, Kissel joined country superstar Brad Paisley on his Country Nation World Tour for the entire Canadian tour, promoted by Live Nation. Kissel gained even more popularity across Canada when Paisley invited Brett to perform onstage with him in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, following Kissel's canceled flight.[24] (The entire tour was captured on video, as Kissel released episodes to CMT Canada and YouTube.)

2015–2018: Pick Me Up and We Were That Song

In January 2015, Kissel won three (3) Association of Country Music in Alberta Awards (ACMA's), for "Single of the Year" (3-2-1), "Male Artist of the Year", and "Album of the Year" (Started with a Song). The single "Airwaves" reached at number 1 on the Canada Country chart in September 2015. The album's second single with the title track, released to Canadian country radio in October 2015. The album's third single "Cool with That" released to Canadian country radio in April 2016. In the same year, Kissel collaborated with singer Don Amero on "Rebuild This Town", a song about cultural reconciliation between First Nations people and other Canadians.[25] Amero and Kissel have also since toured together, performing as a duo in aboriginal communities.[26]

In September 2017 Kissel won Male Artist of the Year, Interactive Artist of the Year, Country Music Program or Special of the Year and Video of the Year for I Didn't Fall in Love With Your Hair at the 2017 Canadian Country Music Awards.[27] He also released a new album We Were That Song on December 8, 2017.[28] In 2018 he went on a tour across Canada to support the album.[29]

From 2016 to 2019, he performed several times at WE Day events: in October 2016 in Calgary, in November 2017 in Halifax and Ottawa and in October 2019 in Edmonton.[30][31][32][33]

2019–present: Now or Never and What Is Life?

In September 2019, Kissel released his first American country radio single "Drink About Me",[34] the lead single from his fourth major-label album Now or Never which was released on January 1, 2020.[35][36] "Drink About Me" would become Kissel's second number one on the Canada Country chart.[37] "She Drives Me Crazy" was released as the second single off the album in February 2020.[38]

In September 2020, Kissel released this third single off Now or Never, "A Few Good Stories"[39] and picked up 4 CCMA Awards, winning Male Artist of the Year, Fan's Choice, Creative Director, and Album of the Year for Now it Never.[40] Kissel then signed his first American record deal with Verge Records, a Nashville-based partner of ONErpm.[41] "A Few Good Stories" became Kissel's third Number One on Canada Country,[42] "She Drives Me Crazy" became Kissel's second Platinum-certified single,[43] and "Drink About Me" was nominated for Single of the Year at the 2021 Juno Awards.[44]

In March 2021, Kissel released the single "Make a Life, Not a Living", and announced his fifth major-label album What Is Life?, which was released on April 9, 2021.[45] "Make a Life, Not a Living" debuted by setting a record as the most-added song at Canadian country radio in a single week ever.[46] It later became his fourth career Number One at Canadian country radio,[42] and his first song to chart in the top 50 of the Billboard Canadian Hot 100.[47] Kissel won the "Fans' Choice" award at the 2021 Canadian Country Music Awards in November 2021.[48]

Personal life

Brett Kissel married Cecilia Friesen in July 2011 in Edmonton, Alberta. They now live in Nashville, Tennessee. In 2016, Cecilia gave birth to their first daughter.[49] He is a fan of the Edmonton Oilers hockey team, and wrote the song "We're Gonna Win the Cup" for their run in the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs.[50] Before Game 3 of the Western Conference Semi-final against the Anaheim Ducks, Kissel performed the American "Star-Spangled Banner", but the audio within Edmonton's Rogers Place did not work, so the crowd joined him in it.[51] Kissel and his wife Cecilia are co-owners of the vodka brand "Deuce Vodka", launched in 2020.[52]

Discography

Studio albums

Title Details Peak positions Certifications
CAN
[53]
US
Heat

[54]
Keepin' It Country
  • Release date: September 12, 2003
  • Label: BAK 2 BAK Entertainment Inc.
By Request
  • Release date: September 26, 2004
  • Label: BAK 2 BAK Entertainment Inc.
Tried and True – A Canadian Tribute
  • Release date: March 5, 2006
  • Label: BAK 2 BAK Entertainment Inc.
My Roots Run Deep
  • Release date: May 9, 2008
  • Label: BAK 2 BAK Entertainment Inc.
Started with a Song 22
Pick Me Up
  • Release date: September 11, 2015
  • Label: Warner Music Canada
7
We Were That Song
  • Release date: December 8, 2017
  • Label: Warner Music Canada
29
Now or Never
  • Release date: January 1, 2020
  • Label: Warner Music Canada
43 18
What Is Life?
  • Release date: April 9, 2021[45]
  • Label: Warner Music Canada / ONErpm
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Singles

As lead artist

Single Year Peak chart
positions
Certifications Album
CAN Country
[42]
CAN
[47]
"Started with a Song" 2013 3 58 Started with a Song
"Raise Your Glass" 7 88
"3-2-1" 2014 3 52
"Tough People Do" 9 99
"Something You Just Don't Forget" 5 91
"Airwaves" 2015 1 61 Pick Me Up
"Pick Me Up" 6 86
"Cool with That" 2016 8
"I Didn't Fall in Love with Your Hair"
(featuring Carolyn Dawn Johnson)
16 88
"She's Desire" 2017 6
"We Were That Song" 4 [A] We Were That Song
"Anthem" 2018 8
"Guitars & Gasoline" 8
"Cecilia" 8
"Drink About Me" 2019 1 61 Now or Never
"She Drives Me Crazy"[38] 2020 12 78
"A Few Good Stories" 1 62
"Make a Life, Not a Living" 2021 1 49 What Is Life?
"Night in the Life" 15
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

As featured artist

Year Single Artist Peak positions Album
CAN Country
[42]
2021 "Somewhere to Drink" (with the Reklaws) Nate Haller 31 TBA

Christmas singles

Year Single Peak positions Album
CAN Country
[42]
2014 "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" 45 Non-album singles
"Not So Perfect Christmas" 48
2020 "Frosty the Snowman" 39

Promotional singles

Year Single Album
2012 "Hockey, Please Come Back"[56] Non-album single
2017 "Nights in the Sun"[57]
(featuring Grandpa Bear)
We Were That Song
2018 "Love Them a Little"[58] Non-album singles
2021 "Wannabes"[59]

Music videos

Year Video Director
2012 "Hockey, Please Come Back" Blake McWilliam
2013 "Started with a Song"[60] Margaret Malandruccolo
"Raise Your Glass"
2014 "3-2-1" Shaun Silva
"Tough People Do" Lisa Mann
"Something You Just Don't Forget"
2015 "Canadian Kid" Mike Peleshok
"Airwaves" Ben Knechtel
"Pick Me Up"[61] Blake McWilliam
2016 "Cool with That" Ben Knechtel
"I Didn't Fall in Love with Your Hair"
2017 "We Were That Song" Blake McWilliam
2018 "Anthem"
"Guitars and Gasoline" Ben Dartnell
"Cecilia" Blake McWilliam
"Love Them a Little" Jim Wright
2019 "Drink, Cuss, or Fish" Ben Dartnell
"Drink About Me" Blake McWilliam
2020 "She Drives Me Crazy" Emma Higgins / Brett Kissel
"A Few Good Stories"
(with Walk Off the Earth)
Chris Di Staulo
"Coffee with Her"
"Young Enough" Ben Dartnell
2021 "Make a Life, Not a Living" Megan Jackson

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Result
2006 Canadian Country Music Association Chevy Trucks Rising Star Award Nominated
2007 Chevy Trucks Rising Star Award Nominated
2014 Juno Awards Breakthrough Artist of the Year Won
Country Album of the YearStarted with a Song Nominated
Association of Country Music in Alberta Awards Rising Star Award Won
Single of the Year Award – "Started with a Song" Won
Canadian Country Music Association Male Artist of the Year Nominated
Album of the Year – Started with a Song Nominated
Single of the Year – "Started with a Song" Nominated
Songwriter of the Year – "Started with a Song" Nominated
CMT Video of the Year – "3-2-1" Won
Interactive Artist of the Year Won
2015 Association of Country Music in Alberta Awards Male Artist of the Year Won
Country Album of the Year – Started with a Song Won
Single of the Year – "3-2-1" Won
Canadian Country Music Association Male Artist of the Year Nominated
Single of the Year – "3-2-1" Nominated
Video of the Year – "Tough People Do" Nominated
Interactive Artist of the Year Won
2016 Juno Awards Country Album of the Year – Pick Me Up Nominated
Canadian Country Music Association Male Artist of the Year Won
Interactive Artist of the Year Won
Fan's Choice Award Won
Single of the Year – "Airwaves" Nominated
2017 Canadian Country Music Association Male Artist of the Year Won
Single of the Year – "Cool With That" Nominated
Video of the Year – "I Didn't Fall In Love With Your Hair" Won
Songwriter of the Year – "Cool With That" (with Ted Hewitt, Phil O'Donnell) Nominated
Interactive Artist or Group of the Year Won
2018 Canadian Country Music Association Male Artist of the Year Nominated
Fan's Choice Award Nominated
Country Album of the Year – We Were That Song Nominated
Video of the Year – "We Were That Song" Nominated
Interactive Artist of the Year Won
Western Canadian Music Awards Country Artist of the Year Nominated
2019 Juno Awards Country Album of the Year – We Were That Song Won
Canadian Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year Nominated
Fans' Choice Award Won
Interactive Artist of the Year Nominated
Male Artist of the Year Nominated
Songwriter of the Year – "Cecilia" (with Seth Mosley, Brad Rempel) Nominated
Western Canadian Music Awards Country Artist of the Year Won
2020 Canadian Country Music Association Album Of The Year - Now Or Never Won
Entertainer Of The Year Nominated
Fans' Choice Award Won
Male Artist Of The Year Won
Video Of The Year - "Drink About Me" Nominated
2021 Juno Awards of 2021 Single of the Year - "Drink About Me" Nominated
2021 Canadian Country Music Awards Album of the Year - What is Life? Nominated
Entertainer Of The Year Nominated
Fans' Choice Award Won[48]
Male Artist Of The Year Nominated
Video Of The Year - "Make a Life, Not a Living" Won[62]

Notes

  1. ^ "We Were That Song" did not enter the Billboard Canadian Hot 100, but peaked at number 34 on the Canadian Digital Song Sales component chart.[55]

References

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  3. ^ "Brett Got Inked!". Country 101.1. April 17, 2014. Archived from the original on February 26, 2015. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  4. ^ Luciw, Larysa (Spring 2018). Rena Hanchuk (ed.). "Top 30 under 30". ACUA Vitae. Vol. 24 no. 1. Edmonton: Alberta Council for the Ukrainian Arts. pp. 15, 19, 24, 27, 31.
  5. ^ a b The Rick Mercer Report CBC Radio.
  6. ^ Griwkowsky, Fish. "Country Music Week: Brett Kissel nervous about being CCMA frontrunner". Edmonton Journal.
  7. ^ "Danny Hooper preparing for an awesome 2015". Edmonton Sun, January 17, 2015
  8. ^ a b c "Allied Arts Presents Brett Kissel". Vermilion Voice Test. November 21, 2011. Retrieved August 2, 2013.
  9. ^ "Best Story Ever". Strombo, Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
  10. ^ Feniak, Jenny (September 9, 2006). "Road Hammers will open CCMAs". Edmonton Sun. Retrieved August 2, 2013.
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  12. ^ Whitfield, Janani (December 4, 2012). "Kissel's lament on loss of hockey storms the scene". St. Paul Journal. Archived from the original on April 7, 2014. Retrieved August 2, 2013.
  13. ^ Brett Kissel signs co-management deal with Nashville's Bob Doyle Associates". Music News Nashville.
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  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 7, 2014. Retrieved April 2, 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 7, 2014. Retrieved April 2, 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 4, 2014. Retrieved April 2, 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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  23. ^ "Country guys clean up as Edmonton hosts CCMA awards". Edmonton Sun. September 7, 2014
  24. ^ "How a missed gig turned out alright for Brett Kissel". Soo Today, November 14, 2014 Shaylan Spurway
  25. ^ Wittmeier, Brent (June 18, 2015). "A look at Aboriginal Day Live 2015". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  26. ^ "Don Amero calls music an opportunity for education, reconciliation". CBC.ca. January 7, 2016. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  27. ^ "Complete List of 2017 CCMA Award Winners – Canadian Country Music Association". Canadian Country Music Association. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  28. ^ "Brett Kissel – We Were That Song – Album Review – Tour Bus Entertainment". Tour Bus Entertainment. December 7, 2017. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  29. ^ Cooke, Stephen (December 20, 2018). "The best Nova Scotia concerts of 2018". The Chronicle Herald. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  30. ^ Schmidt, Colleen (October 26, 2016). "Alberta students earn way to WE Day in Calgary". CTV News. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  31. ^ Sibley, Sarah (November 23, 2017). "WE Day inspires youth empowerment". The Charlatan. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  32. ^ "Waterford Valley social justice students empowered by WE Day message". The Telegram. December 3, 2017. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  33. ^ Johnson, Lisa (October 22, 2019). "WE Day Alberta celebrates youth leadership". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  34. ^ Dearmore, Kelly (September 17, 2019). "Canadian Cowboy Brett Kissel Rides into the United States with 'Drink About Me'". Sounds Like Nashville. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  35. ^ Williams, Rob (January 2, 2020). "'Now or Never': Brett Kissel celebrates new album". CTV News. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  36. ^ Thompson, Gayle (February 10, 2020). "Brett Kissel Reflects on Big Move From Canada to the United States in New Album, 'Now or Never' (Exclusive)". Popculture.com. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
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  38. ^ a b Bickell, Dutch (February 1, 2020). "Brett Kissel releases new single and video, "She Drives Me Crazy"". Canadian Beats Media.
  39. ^ "TMS Couch-ella: Country singer Brett Kissel performs 'A Few Good Stories'". Global News. September 15, 2020.
  40. ^ "Brett Kissel wins big at CCMA Awards". DurhamRegion.com. September 28, 2020.
  41. ^ Lorie, Hollabaugh (September 30, 2020). "Brett Kissel Inks Deal With Verge Records". MusicRow Magazine.
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  43. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Canadian certifications – Brett Kissel". Music Canada. Retrieved August 8, 2021.
  44. ^ Gordon, Holly (March 9, 2021). "The Weeknd, JP Saxe, Jessie Reyez and Justin Bieber lead 2021 Juno Award nominations". CBC Music.
  45. ^ a b Meister, Lauren (March 4, 2021). "Brett Kissel says new record is heart driven not hit driven". CochraneNow.
  46. ^ Dagg, Nanci (March 22, 2021). "Brett Kissel releases video for "Make a Life Not a Living"". Canadian Beats Media.
  47. ^ a b "Brett Kissel Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved December 14, 2021.
  48. ^ a b Samhan, Jamie (November 30, 2021). "2021 CCMA Awards winners list: Dallas Smith voted entertainer of the year". Global News.
  49. ^ "ET Canada | Blog – Country Singer Brett Kissel Welcomes New Baby Girl, Mila". etcanada. Retrieved February 10, 2016.
  50. ^ "Alberta country music star hopes to inspire Oilers faithful with new tune". Global News. Retrieved April 30, 2017.
  51. ^ "Oilers crowd gives singer Brett Kissel big assist after mic flap". NHL.com. Retrieved April 30, 2017.
  52. ^ Brady, Lisa. "Brett Kissel news!". CJVR Today's Best Country. Jim Pattison Broadcast Group. Retrieved November 28, 2020.
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  54. ^ "Brett Kissel Chart History (Heatseekers Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved November 30, 2021.
  55. ^ "Brett Kissel Chart History (Hot Canadian Digital Song Sales)". Billboard. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  56. ^ "Brett Kissel: Hockey, Please Come Back – Music on Google Play". Google Play. Retrieved November 19, 2017.
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  58. ^ "Love Them a Little – Brett Kissel". AllMusic. Retrieved January 7, 2020.
  59. ^ MacEachern, Meagan (June 4, 2021). "Brett Kissel releases new single "Wannabes"". LakelandToday. Retrieved December 7, 2021.
  60. ^ "Brett Kissel – "Started With a Song"". That's Country. July 4, 2013. Retrieved August 2, 2013.
  61. ^ DeDekker, Jeff (November 13, 2015). "Brett Kissel riding wave of success into show at Casino Regina". Leader-Post. Retrieved November 17, 2015.
  62. ^ Kennedy, John R. (September 21, 2021). "The Reklaws Lead 2021 CCMA Awards Nominations". iHeartRadio.ca. Bell Media.