Fifteen years into his recording career, Brett Kissel should be settling in to his role as one of Canada’s leading music creators. The country music artist already has a career most musicians would dream of. Settling, however, might be one of the few things Kissel doesn’t do well.

 “It’s important to constantly grow and evolve in this business,” he says. “To always look to the future and do things bigger and better than what you did in the past.”

This ever-growing desire to develop is plainly evident on his new album too. “We Were That Song,” released in December, features two duets with artists that help explain exactly where Bret Kissel came from and where he’s going. The first is with country music legend, Charley Pride, and the second is with hard-rock icon and MegaDeath founder, Dave Mustaine.

“This album has an overall vibe to me that shows a lot more confidence in who I am,” says Kissel. “I wouldn’t say there’s a ‘little bit of everything,’ I would say there’s ‘a lot of everything’ on this album, and I am awfully proud of how it turned out.”

“I am still learning lessons, and I feel that one of the greatest things I’ve learned is to keep learning,” he adds. “And my favourite lesson is that hard work pays off.”

Kissel is no stranger to hard work. With his first public performance at six years old and his first album released at 12, Kissel has literally grown up working in the music business. Over the past few years, he has received an armful of Canadian Country Music Association awards, was named the breakthrough artist of the year at the JUNO awards, was the recipient of the Allan Slaight Honor from Canada’s Walk of Fame, and was recognized as the international artist of the year at the Worldwide Radio Summit in Hollywood, California.

The new-album tour checks into the Georgian Theatre on Feb. 22.

“I feel the most connected to my fans while up on stage; I’m an entertainer, it’s what I do best.” Kissel says. “We sold out the Georgian Theatre last year, there won’t be any nerves from me this time around. This time, it’s like a long lost friendship. We don’t need to reintroduce ourselves. I can kick things into high gear from the first song up and then take it to a new stratosphere from there.”