Only a handful of musicians can lay claim to having released a record before they were even a teen. Edmonton country music artist Brett Kissel is one of those people, however. After four independent releases, the first of which was released in 2003 when Kissel was 12 years old, the musician signed a record deal with Warner Music Canada earlier this year. He released his major label debut, Started With A Song, on October 1.
The MusicNerd Chronicles caught up with Kissel last week as he and his wife were preparing to permanently relocate from Edmonton to the undisputed home of country music, Nashville.
Although it makes complete sense from a career standpoint, what specifically prompted your decision to move to Nashville?
When I sat down and looked at my flights from 2012, I realized I was spending more time in America than I was at home in Canada. It was a definite “aha” kind of moment. It took almost a year to get the paperwork and visas all straightened away but now that they are all sorted, things are moving quickly.
Do you feel intimidated at the prospect of being a small fish in a pond the size of Nashville as opposed to staying in Canada?
I think that I would definitely be feeling intimidated if I was going in there without the contacts and friends that I have made. I would dare say that half of the Canadian country music industry is there so that really helps remove any intimidation factor.
Where did your love of country music come from?
Country music was all that my parents played in the house when I was growing up. I got my first guitar at age six but wasn’t interested in playing new country or rock music. I was playing Johnny Cash and Conway Twitty songs because that’s what I believed everyone was listening to.
Is it important for you to pay tribute to guys like Johnny Cash and Conway Twitty while still maintaining a bit of a modern edge to the music you write?
No matter who you listen to in country music these days, everyone is paying tribute to those who have come before us; some more so than others. My heroes are Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Buck Owens. There is some pop and rock influence to the music I make but at the end of the day, I want to be sure the music I play reflects who I am.
Article published in the October 24, 2013 edition of Here Magazine