West Island native Brittany Kennell always had country music in her blood. It started when her parents constantly played the albums by contemporary country superstars like Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and Keith Urban in their home and car. The first concert she ever attended was that of Shania Twain. She decided to pursue a career in country music while she was a student at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she studied songwriting and composition.
In 2011, Brittany took a chance and moved to Music City itself – Nashville – so she could work towards making her country music dreams become a reality. In 2016, she became the first Canadian to appear on the popular NBC reality competition series “The Voice”, where she was selected to become part of Blake Shelton’s team, while gaining vital career advice from show mentor Miley Cyrus. She also appeared as an extra on the popular TV series “Nashville”, and performed onstage with such country music stars as Maren Morris and Carly Pearce, as well as collaborate as a songwriter with Tenille Townes and Hailey Witters.
And on top of that, Brittany has competed as a semi-finalist in the SiriusXM “Top of the Country” competition, and was selected to compete in the Montreal finale of the Jim Beam National Talent Search.
Brittany moved back to Montreal in 2019. However, two years later, Brittany experienced a major aspect of the country music dream this past August 14, as she was invited to perform alongside star country music artist Ryan Kinder onstage at the most revered country music venue in America: the Grand Ole Opry at Nashville’s Opryland complex. It gave her the distinction of being the first female Quebec-born country music artist to perform on the Opry’s stage.
“Although performing at the Opry has always been on my bucket list, this opportunity was totally unexpected,” said Brittany during a recent phone interview. “I have been singing and recording with Ryan since 2019. And after his record was released this summer, he asked me what are the chances that I could come and sing with him onstage at the Opry. I just couldn’t say no to that. It was a magical experience. The people there, especially the backstage personnel, were very supportive to all the artists. I was very grateful to be there, and the music history that institution holds is just incredible, so I just took it all in.”
On September 17, Brittany embarks upon the next step in her pursuit of country music stardom, as she is about to release her debut album, which is called “I Ain’t A Saint”. The 10-track album, which includes such songs as “Neither Did I”, “Clean Break”, “Eat Drink Remarry” and “Bought the T-Shirt”, sounds more like a self-confessional set to music, which is a theme that Brittany agrees with.
“The album is indeed like a self-confession. It also conveys the message of being honest in every form and that although I am not perfect, you have to be happy and move on with your life. Some of the songs stemmed from my relationship breakup that precipitated my move back to Montreal, and the lessons that I learned from it,” she said.
Although she found her years living in Nashville as an incredible, immersive experience (“It was great being close to the magic,” she added), she is looking forward to the next phase of her career, which is to go on the road to promote the album, as well as represent the Quebec presence on the country music scene. “It was great to get back home and see that that there are an incredible number of talent country music artists who come from Quebec. I would very much want to represent Quebec country music and help it grow in the future.”