Early in March, country music festival, Boots and Hearts released its lineup for this summer's 4-day long spectacle. Known for being Canada's largest country music festival, Boots and Hearts has hosted Country royalty since 2012 including Carrie Underwood, Sheryl Crow, Rascal Flatts, and Maren Morris.
Like many large-scale events, the festival was sadly canceled both in 2020 and 2021 due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic. As you can likely imagine, taking the stage this year will feel exceptionally special for the artists taking part, as for many, it will be their first major event back in front of a crowd.
The same can be said of country music fans. Major shows and events have almost all been canceled in both Quebec and Ontario - where the festival takes place - for the last two years. It's safe to say the energy will be high. For one Lachine resident, this is especially true.
Singer-songwriter Brittany Kennell grew up in Beaconsfield and went to the high school of the same name. In a recent Facebook post, the singer stated "if you would have told 9th grade me, who skipped her jazz concert to go see Shania Twain that she’d eventually be on the same stage as her at Boots & Hearts Music Festival she would have fainted."
West Island News had the chance to sit down with Brittany Kennell to discuss her career to date, and her plans for the future.
If you were to ask Brittany, she wouldn't describe herself as a singer.
"I was a songwriter first. I always imagined myself being more behind the scenes. But for me, country music was the medium where I could best tell the stories I had in my head."
- BritTany Kennell
Kennell was surrounded by music growing up. Artists like The Chicks (Formerly known as The Dixie Chicks), and Shania Twain were often heard from her parents' speakers. That's why one night in the ninth grade when Kennell was set to perform in a high school jazz concert (which she would be graded on) she instead opted to join her parents at the Shania Twain concert happening in Montreal.
"To me, it was a no-brainer. A night out, or a high school jazz concert? My dad wrote a note to my teacher and I never looked back."
- Brittany Kennell
Although Kennell had always loved music and writing, it was really when she turned 18 that she began to set her sights on a career in the industry. Guitar in one hand, and courage in the other, she headed to Boston and then Nashville where she began to carve out a name for herself. Now more than a decade and hundreds of shows later, it's safe to say she has.
Kennell released her debut album in September 2021, entitled "I Ain't A Saint" which went on to hit #3 on the iTunes country charts. She later checked off a major bucket list item in August 2021 when she had the opportunity to perform at the Grand Ole Opry alongside Ryan Kinder. On November 2nd, the songstress achieved one of the province's highest honors: performing the National Anthem for the Montreal Canadiens.
And as for 2022? It's safe to say the sky is the limit. The little 9th-grade girl who once watched Shania Twain from deep in the crowd will now set foot on the same stage as the Canadian icon.
"It's definitely a full-circle moment for sure. To go from watching her on stage to opening for her. I feel like I can say I've made it."
- Brittany Kennell
When the lights go down at Boots and Hearts, Brittany Kennell will head to her hometown of Montreal to perform at the first-ever Lasso festival which had to postpone its premiere in both 2020 and 2021. Kennell is also currently working on more original music.
It's safe to say this is only the beginning for this West Island star, and we are excited to see where the country music world takes her next!
For more information on Boots and Hearts, visit https://bootsandhearts.com/
For more information on Lasso, visit https://www.lassomontreal.com/