Brownlee back for another year
Chad Brownlee will be back on the main stage this year following the release of his third album, The Fighters. Released on June 3, the album features an eclectic mix of songs and will “take the listener on a journey,” Brownlee said.
“I wanted there to be an ebb and flow from beginning to end,” he said. “Each song has its own story. Then you have your party songs, your love songs, your breakup songs and your inspirational songs. It’s got a lot of colours.”
Brownlee’s performance at BVJ will feature a mix of new and old songs including hits such as “Smoke in the Rain,” “Love Me or Leave Me” and “Where the Party At?”
“It’s nice and refreshing to have some new songs. I was excited to finally add some new songs to the set list,” Brownlee said.
The B.C.-born artist first performed at Big Valley in 2010 as the opening act on the first day of the festival. The experience was a big one for him, he said, as it helped introduce and guide him into the world of music festivals.
“It was actually the first major festival that I played,” Brownlee said. “I had this gigantic stage that I wasn’t used to being on.”
He recalls he didn’t quite have a full audience but enjoyed the experience anyway.
“There were a lot of white lawn chairs. Not a lot of bums in the seats on a one o’clock on the first day, but I still loved every second it,” Brownlee said.
Just three years after his first Big Valley Jamboree performance, Brownlee received a JUNO nomination for Country Album of the Year for Love Me or Leave Me and was among big names such as Dean Brody and Emerson Drive.
“It was amazing. It’s always an honour to find out you’re nominated for an award, especially on a platform such as the JUNO’s,” Brownlee said. “There have been so many legendary Canadian artists that have been a part of that and to be associated in that world is extremely humbling.”
But Brownlee wasn’t always rubbing elbows with big country music stars. He was bumping into hockey stars as a former NHL draft pick for the Vancouver Canucks in 2003. After suffering from shoulder injuries, he decided to pursue a music career.
He said he went through an identity shift when he transitioned from hockey player to country artist. Brownlee had been playing hockey since he was five years old and his friends and family knew him as a hockey player.
“It took me about a year before I was really comfortable in my new skin. As confident as I was in my decision to pursue music, there was still that apprehension of fitting into a new mold. But I definitely don’t regret my decision,” Brownlee said.
Now currently signed with independent Canadian country music label MDM Recordings, which is in partnership with Universal Music Canada, Brownlee has had multiple singles chart in the Top 10.
Brownlee said he is excited to have the opportunity to perform at BVJ again and adds that the best part about performing is hearing the audience sing the song back to him.
“We just like to have fun with the audience,” he said. “We’ll play some new and old songs, and give everybody there a good experience. When we see smiles on their faces, we’ve done our job.”
Brownlee will be performing on the main stage on Saturday, Aug. 2.