Chad Brownlee promises a show full of energy, passion and the essence of Extreme Mudfest
“If riding a quad through the mud counts, then yes,” Chad Brownlee laughs that he’s a demolition derby, mud bogging, kinda guy! He wouldn’t mind jumping into a spare derby car or race a lawn mower; but what he’s really excited for his hitting the stage at Extreme Mudfest in Bonnyville Saturday night.
The Canadian Country sensation, says he loves playing his latest single “I Hate You for It” in front of a live crowd and cannot wait to see the reaction he gets tomorrow evening. “It’s been going over really well this summer. Every time I play it, you can feel this energy start to swell in the crowd – nothing feels better as a songwriter and a performer than when an audience starts to react to a song and get behind it.”
“There’s a lot of love behind it,” laughs Brownlee. The single co-written by Brownless is one of seven tracks on his latest album Hearts on Fire. He’s quite partial to the tune, “it’s always tough to pick just one favourite tune, especially the ones that you write, they’re kinda your babies. And you don’t want to call any of your babies ugly, they’re always listening.” Brownlee jokes that with the success of the latest single and how much fun it is to play live, I Hate You for It, is “definitely a front-runner,” for his favourite tune.
The album is very solid, up for CCMA Album of the Year, Video of the Year (Hearts on Fire), Recording Package of the Year, and Video Director of the Year (Stephano Barberis – Video for “Hearts On Fire”). “It means a lot when there’s a lot of support from your peers and your making good music. We wanted to make sure this record was great; not just good, great. There’s so much talent from Canadian artists, right now. You can’t release anything that’s just average. I wanted to make sure that I was confident with every.single.song on this record before we went into the studio and put it together. I didn’t want to put a timeline on it, I wanted to make sure the creative process had room to breathe and wanted the organic process to come through.” Brownlee feels they were able to achieve it, “the nomination is an added bonus and an indication that you’re doing something right.” Brownlee will also be performing at the awards, on September 11 in London, Ontario. The singer wouldn’t reveal which song he’d hit the stage with (and we hate him for it!).
In 2011, Brownlee won the CCMA Rising Star Award, which help solidify his position as a Country Music star. “It was a symbol of me being accepted in the country music world, and I really felt that after I won that award. It was only two years after releasing my first single, it happened really quick, I was really thrown into the fire.” Brownlee a Vancouver Canuck, NHL draft pick, turned singer-songwritter, says he “put down his hockey skates and went straight to the stage on the Canadian country music scene. My learning curve is very steep, I loved every second of it.”
That was a symbolic moment for me, it made me realize ok maybe I’m here to stay and this is really going to happen. – Chad Brownlee
Even on the rink, singing was always a passion of Brownlee’s, “I was always into music, I started playing piano when I was right years old. I played tenor sax in the middle school band, I picked up the guitar when I was playing junior hockey in Vernon. I was always singing, I was in middle school musicals and stuff. I was a very interesting jock, in a sense, because I liked the arts, music and drawing and acting. It was kinda the other side of me that I always worked on.”
Brownlee said at that time music was a hobby, “I wanted to play in the NHL since I was five years old. Up into that moment I realized I no longer loved the game.”Interesting enough, it took playing his first professional game for Brownlee to recognize that it wasn’t the career he wanted. “At that moment, when I had that epiphany, I instantly gravitated to that other thing I had a passion for and that was music; and I haven’t looked back.”
Take chances is Brownlee’s advice to the person sitting at home with a passion eating away at them. “Life’s too short to do anything, but what you love to do. That’s the real value. The real value is your time, how you feel, and how excited you are to get up in the morning to do what it is you’re about to do.” Never do anything for the paycheque, “sometimes it takes a while and there’s some great sacrifice, but the reward at the end of the day, to be able to enjoy your time; the bonus is getting a paycheque at the end of the day. Chances are, it’s going to be a big one, because if you’re doing what you love to do – you’re going to be good at it. And if you’re good at it, you’ll get paid well for it. And even if you’re not, it’s about your time and enjoying what you’re doing.”
“Giving back to the community is very important,” Brownless just wrapped up his forth annual Boys of Fall Charity Golf Tournament. An event he co-hosts with fellow Canadian musician, Dallas Smith. After touring together in 2012 the artists decided it was time to give back, “it started as an idea on the back of the bus. We decided, you know what, it’s time to give back to our community. Langley has been so good to us.” Dallas Smith is a Langley boy, born and raised, where Brownlee has been living in the community for a number of years after moving from his hometown of Kelowna.
The tournament this year raised $144,000, adding to previous years’ totals, $100,000 (2015), $75,000 (2014) and $14,000 (2013). “To see how quickly it’s grown has been absolutely amazing. It’s nice to be able to give back. There’s so many people that come out to our shows, support what we do, buy our merchandise, and listen to our music. It’s nice to be able to give back to that community that helps give us a career.” The tournament supports Basics for Babies Campaign & a vision of a hunger free future. “It’s a no-brainer in our positions as public figures, to use your influence to do good. It’s something I think everybody should do in our position.”
The show tomorrow night will capture all the elements of Extreme Mudfest, “we just like to have fun,” says Brownlee. “We’re a straight forward, simple, country-rock band. You can see the energy and enjoyment we have while playing. It really affects the audience, when they’re happy and playing along it really replicates and comes back to us.”
When they’re happy and singing along, it gives us even more energy! – Chad Brownlee
Tickets for Extreme Mudfest can be picked up at the gates or online, extrememudfest.com/tickets.