Heading into 2015 on the momentum of his latest CD, country singer Chad Brownlee is bringing his ‘When the Lights Go Down Tour’ to Red Deer.
He performs at Cowboys on March 24th.
An award-winning artist and former NHL draft pick, Brownlee released his third album The Fighters last year, featuring the tour title track When The Lights Go Down, as well as the top 10 single Fallin’ Over You.
For the Red Deer show, he will be joined by opening acts Jess Moskaluke and Bobby Wills.
“There’s definitely a lot of excitement and for this to be my first headlining tour – it’s nerve-wracking and exciting all at the same time. We feel we’re in a good place now and we can embark on our own tour. We are lucky to have artists such as Jess and Bobby to help out because their careers are on the rise. It’s going to a lot of fun.”
In only a few years since the release of his 2010 debut, Brownlee has rocked the charts with seven Top 10 hits on Canadian country radio, including singles Crash, Smoke In The Rain, Listen and Day After You, (a single which broke both the Top 10 on CMT’s Chevy Cross Canada Countdown and hit number nine on the BDS Canadian country radio chart), according to a release.
He received a 2013 Juno Award nomination for Country Album of the Year and has taken home a total of 11 British Columbia Country Music Association (BCCMA) Awards since the start of his country music career, including Entertainer of the Year.
Brownlee also received consecutive 2012/2013 Male Artist of the Year nominations at the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA®) Awards, previously winning the Rising Star CCMA® Award (2011) and was the winner of the CCMA® New Artist Showcase (2010). He released his latest album The Fighters in June of last year.
“(The awards) are always a feather in the cap. It’s nice to be recognized by your peers and by your fans. I don’t know many people who don’t like being nominated, or receiving awards. It’s such a really nice bonus,” he said. “I’m so lucky to say that I can do what I love and make a living out of that. I feel like I am living a life of bonuses at this point because everything I have is such a beautiful thing.”
In addition to his music, last summer Brownlee partnered with the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation to share music with campers, leading workshops across the country.
He also enjoyed a showcase year in the Canadian music scene as well, topping things off with a 2012 Canadian Country Music Award (CCMA) nomination for Male Artist of the Year and performing on the broadcast of the awards show.
An interest in music came at an early age for Brownlee – he was seven or eight-years-old when he began playing piano.
“My parents listened to Alabama, Alan Jackson and Clint Black – Garth Brooks was really my first favourite artist that I really gravitated to,” he said, adding that when he began playing the piano there was something that resonated with him. “I could just feel the emotion and I just never looked back from there. I was always singing and the sheer enjoyment of it really helped craft my skill set and has really helped me get to where I am today.”
When he began university at 19, a gift for songwriting started to emerge.
But as his hockey career progressed, (Brownlee was a sixth round NHL draft pick for the Vancouver Canucks in 2003) repeated shoulder injuries proved an obstacle and he came to a kind of crossroads.
“Music was more of a hobby while I was playing hockey. When I realized that hockey was no longer what I loved to do the most, music leap-frogged over top of that and I knew what I wanted to do as soon as that shift happened,” said Brownlee. “I call it the easiest, hardest decision I ever had to make to retire from hockey and pursue an equally, if not more unstable career in music. It was a little bit of a leap of faith and a scary decision, but intuitively in my heart of hearts I knew it was the right thing to do.”
His gift for songwriting was first acknowledged when he was nominated for the NCAA Hockey Humanitarian Award for his song The Hero I See in his fourth year at Minnesota State University.
In addition, in gearing up for his tour, Brownlee said although he feels some of the pressure that comes from hitting the road and headlining his first tour, it’s a pressure that comes from within himself.
“I think it’s a good pressure. I care about the show and I want it to be the best that it can be. I spent a lot of time preparing the set list and bringing a fresh show to the fans. The pressure is basically on my own shoulders to perform to my own standards and to always get better every time I am on stage.”
In terms of where inspiration comes from for new material, Brownlee said it comes from everyday life.
“All of the different experiences I have been through whether it’s a good relationship, a bad relationship – all aspects of life. I feel that if I can feel it, there’s a good chance the listener can also feel it. We are all human and we all share emotions,” he said. “I like to draw from those authentic moments in life and hopefully it resonates with the fans.”
Ultimately, Brownlee said there is nothing like performing on stage in front of a crowd of fans.
“I sometimes have a hard time putting how it feels into words because I don’t think it fully explains what we feel on stage and there’s probably a lot of artists that can agree with that statement. It really is addicting once you get up there and you feel that energy from the crowd and you are both giving each other that energy. It is so infectious and I never want the show to end.”