Brett Kissel Biography

Canadian country singer (born 1990)Not to be confused with Brett Keisel.

Musical artist

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".


  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Career
    • 2.1 2000–2011: Early years
    • 2.2 2012–2014: Started with a Song
    • 2.3 2015–2018: Pick Me Up and We Were That Song
    • 2.4 2019–present: Now or Never and What Is Life?
  • 3 Personal life
  • 4 Discography
    • 4.1 Studio albums
    • 4.2 Singles
      • 4.2.1 As lead artist
      • 4.2.2 As featured artist
    • 4.3 Christmas singles
    • 4.4 Promotional singles
    • 4.5 Music videos
  • 5 Awards and nominations
  • 6 Notes
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links

Early life

Kissel, a fifth generation Albertan, was born in St. Paul, Alberta, 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, 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.

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, 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.


2000–2011: Early years

Kissel recorded his first album, Keepin' It Country, when he was 12 years old. 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".

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. 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. Tried and True – A Canadian Tribute and My Roots Run Deep sold a combined 70,000 copies. In 2006, Kissel was nominated for the Chevy Trucks Rising Star Award at the Canadian Country Music *ociation Awards. Kissel was 16 years old at the time, making him the youngest CCMA nominee in the history of the awards show.

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". The music video for the song was viewed 10,000 times in its first two days of release.

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.

Kissel was featured on The Rick Mercer Report on CBC in March 2015. On May 10, 2013, Kissel signed a record deal with Warner Music Canada. His debut single, "Started with a Song", was released on June 17. It became the most added song at Canadian country radio in its first week, surp*ing a record set by Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together". It debuted at number 87 on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 for the week of July 27, 2013. The music video for the song premiered on CMT Canada on June 27. Kissel's first album for Warner, also *led Started with a Song, was released on October 1, 2013. Kissel co-produced the album with Ted Hewitt and Bart McKay. "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 Gl*", 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 *ociation 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 *led "3-2-1" with a music video directed by Shaun Silva of Tacklebox Films. The video was shot in Nashville, Tennessee and has received heavy airplay on CMT Canada.

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.

In September 2014, Kissel led all country singers with eight nominations 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". 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.

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. (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) *ociation 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 *le 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. Amero and Kissel have also since toured together, performing as a duo in aboriginal communities.

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. He also released a new album We Were That Song on December 8, 2017. In 2018 he went on a tour across Canada to support the album.

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.

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

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

In September 2020, Kissel released this third single off Now or Never, "A Few Good Stories" 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. Kissel then signed his first American record deal with Verge Records, a Nashville-based partner of ONErpm. "A Few Good Stories" became Kissel's third Number One on Canada Country, "She Drives Me Crazy" became Kissel's second Platinum-certified single, and "Drink About Me" was nominated for Single of the Year at the 2021 Juno Awards.

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. "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. It later became his fourth career Number One at Canadian country radio, and his first song to chart in the top 50 of the Billboard Canadian Hot 100. Kissel won the "Fans' Choice" award at the 2021 Canadian Country Music Awards in November 2021.

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. 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. 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. Kissel and his wife Cecilia are co-owners of the vodka brand "Deuce Vodka", launched in 2020.


Studio albums


As lead artist

As featured artist

Christmas singles

Promotional singles

Music videos

Awards and nominations



      External links

      • Official website