Regardless of the amount of concerts, albums, awards and adoring fans he might have, northeastern Alberta country singer Brett Kissel is still deeply rooted in family. He has often said that they are the driving force behind everything he does.
The Canadian country star is returning to Southwestern Ontario for a show at Park Jam in London on September 6 ahead of his appearance at the Canadian Country Music Awards two days later.
Fans have been waiting anxiously for new music from Kissel, but he’s been tight-lipped about most of it. He told us he’s expecting a new song to come out this month and his next album will raise the bar over everything he’s done in the past.
I have to say it’s been a pretty exciting year for you so far. You’ve got gold records, you’ve been touring with Garth Brooks, and you’ve got a Juno, five CCMA nominations, and a new member to your family. It can’t get much better.
You know what? It can’t. It’s pretty amazing. I literally cannot believe it’s been as great as it’s been and I’m very thankful for that. You know what? We always have goals with what we want to achieve and the things we want to do and places we want to go, and I’m so thankful that everything has turned out in this way and we’ve been able to have the experiences that we’ve been able to have. It was very, very lucky.
Is it tough being on the road as a new dad? You’ve played shows pretty much every month this year.
In a lot of ways you would think that it is and I know that there’s difficulties to it, but you know what? I think the power of positive thinking always prevails for myself and for my wife Cecilia and our family.
Number one, we do bring our family out a lot. We really do. I love having my family out on the road with us. We’ve been able to travel across Canada to every province and every territory and now most of the States together, and that’s very important to us. And then next is absence makes the heart grow fonder. So we know that we’ll do a lot of traveling, but I love what I do and I think it’s important for our children to see the passion that I have for my career and this great life that we’re all very lucky to live. And it’s people who work in the military or work in the RCMP or travel for work, it’s those jobs that I do believe are really, really tough and really hard. Whereas for me, I mean, I can’t complain about a thing.
This new baby is number three for you and your lovely wife isn’t it?
That’s right. We’ve got three little babies and of course we can’t forget about our wiener dog, Charlie. So it’s a pretty complete family here. We’ve got two daughters and a son.
So is that it for the Kissel’s or are there more being planned for the future?
I don’t know. To be honest, a lot of it has to do with my wife Cecilia and I think a lot of it has to do with where we’re at and what our plans are. I don’t know if we’re shutting the door on more kids or not, but I can tell you right now, I mean, when we had our first daughter, we loved her with all our heart, and our hearts grew when we had our second daughter, and then our hearts grew again when we had our son. So I don’t know if our hearts can get any bigger than they are right now, but if they do we’ll take it as it comes.
Have your children inspired any new songs?
They always do. And it’s interesting, because it comes in sometimes the most strange of ways in the sense of whether or not I write a song specifically for my kids or about my kids or about being a dad. Sometimes if I’m writing a party anthem, I’m really trying to put myself in the moment of what it was like when I used to party because now as a dad, we’ll go out on stage, we’ll party on stage and then sometimes I’ll get the first flight home so that I can get together with my family.
So all that being said, they’ve been the driving force behind pretty much everything that I’ve done in a big way, and I’m very thankful for that because I feel I’m working harder, I’m writing better songs, I’m working smarter and all those things because I do have a family that I want to impress and I want to take care of and everything like that. So my kids have inspired everything that I’ve done moving forward.
Awesome. So you see how I did that there? I wanted to ask about new songs and a new album. Is there anything in the works?
I think that’s very wise of you. The answer is yes. I’ve been very, very careful to not talk much about new music over the past year, just truly to focus as much as I possibly can on well the good things that are happening in my life and music outside of creating new stuff.
But I’m ready to tell you that we have been in the studio a lot this year. We have spent a lot of time writing songs. I think we have written close to 90 songs for this new project, and we’ve got a new song that’s coming out in September. We’ve got a record that’s going to be coming out either at the end of 2019 or the beginning part of 2020, and I truly believe that this is going to raise the bar in a big way from everything that I’ve done in the past. And I’m so excited for not only my fans, but for the industry and everybody around to hear this because I think it’s some extraordinary new music.
Do you find or do you think there’s a specific characteristic that defines Canadian country music as a whole?
I think that there’s a different layer of depth to us and what we sing and how we perform. It doesn’t make it better, it doesn’t make it worse, it just makes it unique. I’m obviously a proud Canadian, and I think the biggest thing is that the way that our songwriters are made and the way that we craft our songs is different from the lifestyle that Americans in the south live. So while they’re talking about kudzu vines and tall Georgia Pines, we’re talking about the Rocky Mountains, we’re talking about the Arctic weather and stuff like that. So it’s a unique way to create and write songs and something I’m proud of that I get to draw on my personal experiences being a Canadian.
You’re going to be headed here to London for Parkjam next month, and the last time you were in London you won a Juno, so I bet you’re looking forward to returning to the city.
London has always had a special place in my heart because when I first started on my national career, I signed to Warner Music, I had an opportunity to go tour Bud Gardens and I made a vow then to some of the people I’d met, but mostly to my family and my team, that one day I’m going to come back to Bud Gardens and we’re going to have some great success there. Sure enough, in 2016 I won Male Artist of the Year at the Canadian Country Music Awards and in 2019 I won a Juno. Sure enough, if I don’t come back to Trackside two years in a row. Sure enough as hell, we now come back to Parkjam and we get to headline. It’s just an incredible, incredible city that has had some of the biggest moments of my career. So, I’m really looking forward to coming back.
I forgot to talk about our Fans Choice nomination, and that is something that is so important to me because that is voted on only by the fans. So let me make a proclamation that if I’m lucky enough to win that, I want to tell everybody in London that I’m going to bring that glass trophy with me at some point in the future – like it’s the Stanley Cup, and we’re going to have a big Stanley Cup party. The website to vote is ccmafanvote.com.