Brett Kissel hosted the awards nights for the Western Canada Music Alliance, a part of the BreakOut West music festival underway in Regina.
"It was really fun," Kissel said of the experience of hosting the awards, which were held Thursday night. "It was a little nerve-wracking for me because it's an area of my career that I really haven't dabbled into that much, to be a host or an MC."
Kissel said he tailored his opening remarks to the local audience.
"You know you're in for a good night if you mention the Roughriders," he said, referring to a story he related about being at Mosaic Stadium for a game a few years ago which his favourite team, the Edmonton Eskimos, lost. "The Roughriders crushed my Edmonton Eskimos and the minute I said that, the crowd was like, 'Yeah. Roughriders. Boo Eskimos.'"
Kissel has himself been the recipient of numerous music awards and nominations.
His most-recent album, Pick Me Up, includes the song Airwaves, and Kissel remembers the recording session very well.
"When we first heard the final product, it was this 'aha' moment that we said, 'Yeah, this really could be something special,'" he said. "And it turned out to be our first number-one record."
Kissel says his family and his roots growing up on a cattle ranch are strong influences on his outlook on life and his music.
He said a line in one of his songs captures the essence of that.
"I was 18, time to move on. And now it's any reason to go back home," he said. "That's what it's all about, to get my feet back on the ground."
He also spoke lovingly of his grandmother, who bought him his first guitar when he was six — even though he had his heart set on Lego. He very quickly learned a few chords and then started taking lessons.
"That just changed, for me," he said. "I just didn't care about anything else. All I ever wanted to do was play guitar. And that's thanks to my grandma."