Brett Kissel, 2017’s Male Country Music Artist of the Year and this year’s Interactive Music Artist of the Year at the CCMA’s, is crossing Canada on part 2 of his We Were That Song Tour. Kissel did his original tour of 60 shows across Canada last spring, but added an additional 40+ shows in what he calls “Part II” due to an overwhelming response from fans on instagram and twitter asking him to come to their hometowns. “I just said, why not? I’m 28, nobody’s in school yet, my band and my crew want to play and I want to play so let’s add a few more shows. A few shows turned into 20, 20 turned into 40 and before you know it we were well over 100 dates.” His tour has now become the most extensive tour that’s ever happened in Canadian music.
Along for the ride are his two young girls and his wife Cecilia, who have adapted well to life on the road. “From the get go, I remember my conversations with management before the kids, and I would tell them that my wife goes everywhere with me. They weren’t negative about it but they would say, ‘you know that’s going to be really expensive?’ ‘you know that’s kind of weird?’ and I didn’t care. Why would I go experience these big shows and not have my family with me? It just carried over the minute we had children, both my daughters learned to walk on a bus. Their first steps were somewhere over the trans Canada highway and that’s a really proud moment for me.”
Kissel, who grew up on his family’s multi-generation ranch in Alberta, designed his tour to end at home right near Christmas, giving him and his family time to relax and celebrate at home.
What has your tour been like so far?
It has been remarkable. I don’t think any of us take it for granted, especially me because Canada is such an amazing country. Now that I’ve gotten to see the territories and maritimes it is so special. A lot of my family have waited for big life moments, my parents went to PEI for their 25th anniversary, my grandparents toured the maritime provinces for their 50th anniversary, and here I am I get to do it essentially for fun and I get to experience the best of the best from these places. I get to perform, meet the people and spend days there. This is my life and my career so I remind my band and my crew that we’re very blessed to be living this life and travelling as much as we have been this year. We get to bring a lot of positivity to the world and to our audiences because nobody is in a bad mood at concerts, so we’re pretty lucky to get to do that.
Have there been any challenges you have faced on the road?
There is absolutely nothing that’s been a pain or disappointment. There is nothing I would rather be doing than being on my bus with my band, my crew and especially my family. So when I tell you that I’m feeling blessed, I’m literally living a dream. This is it – I couldn’t be happier.
How did you convince Dan Davidson to come back on tour with you?
Well that was easy convincing him. He’s such a great entertainer and a great performer. In order to play as many dates as we play you have to have an artist that can adapt and play so many different rooms. We were actually booked in an arena for one of our shows, so we know that our ability is big enough to sell out an arena. We’ve got to make sure we have a guy that can put on a big show. When we play in the east we play in some of the oldest and most sought after theatres in Canada, those venues are smaller but we also need to make sure we have an entertainer who can adapt and put on an amazing theatre show. That is why he is the perfect artist to open for us. On all of the dates he can’t make we’ve got a really great entertainer, Eric Ethridge, who is just killing it in Nashville right now. He’s the guy who’s a great performer and entertainer who can do a really great job for us. He’s doing about 7-10 dates for us.
What does it mean for you to be nominated for Interactive Artist of the Year?
Well I did appreciate the recognition from my fans on social media. I know that may sound like a a ‘Miss America’ answer, but that’s not my intention. I really do appreciate it because twitter, instagram and facebook is something that I would do anyways so I’m really happy that I get to showcase my life on the road, my life with my family and all of our adventures. So to get a trophy that says “hey, we like what you’re doing” that’s very flattering. I certainly appreciate it and I don’t take it for granted. I think social media is such an important tool now for anybody in music, so I’m just really thankful that my numbers are growing all the time.
What’s it like meeting all of your fans?
Well I have to tell you when I played up in the Territories, I have to say this and it is not meant to be conceded whatsoever, but I felt like I was Elvis up there. They don’t get entertainment or a big show often and everyone forgets about them, so to travel down there meant a lot to us. When we were there they treated me like Elvis, and my band like the Beatles. I didn’t know what to expect and I couldn’t believe it. I was just beside myself with the treatment that we got and the love and excitement that came from performing up there.
How has being a dad changed your approach to your music career?
Well I truly believe that I work a lot harder than I ever did before because I’ve got two little girls to take care of and a beautiful wife to take care of. I want to work harder for them and show my daughters as they get older what it means to be ambitious and hard working. I want to teach them to write down their goals or put a dream on a vision board and chase after it. My wife has mentioned time after time that not only do we work harder but we work smarter too so that if we’re going to be gone we have to make sure that we try not to sacrifice too much in our family life. That’s why we have our own bus, so that my family can come along to pretty much anything we do, that allows us to still be a great family unit but still achieve as much as we can in music. I’m really appreciative that my wife is so giving and hardworking herself and gets the music business, so that we can get family integrated into the music and vice versa.
Do you have any concerts planned in Alberta, where you grew up?
Yes, by design our tour ends in my own stomping grounds, Bonnyville AB. I grew up in St Paul but Bonnyville is only 20 minutes and they’ve got a brand new arena that we’re going to play in, called the Centennial Centre. We just announced it a couple days ago and it’s already sold out, so we’re proud of that. It is right before Christmas so I’m going to drink, party and celebrate. I’ll be able to go back to the ranch after and be with family until Christmas.
You’re also travelling to the Ottawa area this coming week, what can fans expect?
For us it’s a lot of energy. We know with the Ottawa market there’s a lot to offer so we have tried to extend that. Playing in Kingston is something I haven’t done in a long time, the last time I was opening for Brad Paisley at the K Rock Centre and it was just an amazing night so I’m excited to play there again. Brockville, I’ve never played there so there’s going to be extra excitement from me and my band to play in a place we’ve never been. I’ve only been to Cornwall once in my life when I first signed with Warner Music I did a tour across Canada and I stopped in Cornwall. I met with the radio station there, had a really good visit so I’ve always said that I wanted to go back. Now that I finally get a chance to I’m really excited that I get to hit up those 3 places. There’s going to be a lot of energy and excitement from us, so we hope the fans feel the same way we do.
Do you have anything going on after the tour?
For us it’s all family right now. We have another little baby on the way, who should arrive on february 2nd of 2019. It will be really great to have some time off around Christmas. In January I have a few events, I’ll be playing on New Year’s Eve in Halifax and then I’ll be travelling to Nashville to play at the Grand Ole Opry again to ring in the New Year. As soon as that’s over I’m going to go dark, just spending time writing and being in the studio. I’m going to spend a lot of time at home with my family awaiting the arrival of our next little baby. Then the plan is to take it at it comes, we’ll have 3 kids under the age of 3 years old so we’ll be busy.