When I heard that the Canadian Country Music multi-award winner, Brett Kissel was releasing a song with 98°, I was excited and curious at the same time. The group’s song, “Ain’t the Same” isn’t exactly country, pop, or R & B, but it is fantastic. Once I heard it, it went straight to my Beach playlist.
Kissel felt inspired to write the song for his wife, Cecilia, alongside co-writers Karen Kosowski and Tim Nichols. He explained, “We kept landing on how much sweeter everything is when we get to experience life’s gifts with the people, we cherish most…and, how things just ‘Ain’t the Same’ if you’re missing the key ingredient. For me, that’s my wife Cecilia, who was the inspiration for the song.”
Kissel is one of my all-time favorite people to interview and I wanted to find out how the young superstar got hooked up with the older guys from 98°.
Regarding his collaboration, Kissel stated, “I’m over the moon. The opportunity to duet with such great vocalist and even better human beings.”
He credits this collaboration to his manager, Jim Cressman who is friends with 98° frontman, Jeff Timmons. Cressman heard Timmons say that maybe the band wanted to dabble in country music a bit. He sent Kissel’s song “Ain’t the Same” and thought it would be perfect for them. And even though 98° declined to do an entire country record, they loved Kissel’s song but they wanted to do it alongside him and not just on their own.
His manager called and asked him, “Would you like to do a duet with 98°?
Kissel replied, “That’s the stupidest question I’ve ever heard in my life. Of course, I want to sing with these guys.”
The band quickly recorded their parts and sent it back to Kissel. The vocals of the guys really shine on this track. Those who are 98° fans are aware of their stellar harmonies and they prove they are as good as they ever were and maybe even better on the song, “Ain’t the Same”
Kissel explained, “I remember hearing the first take, and I didn’t send them back any notes at all. It was perfection.”
And if you think back to some of their hits of 98° from the late 1990s, and early 2000s, those songs would be classified as country by today’s standards. Songs like “Because of You” and “I Do” would be country songs. As matter of fact, Mark Wills did his own country version of “I Do.” It just made sense for the group to hop on this song with Kissel and it is amazing.
Kissel stated his wife Cecilia also added the song to her Beach playlist. The upbeat song tells the story of a narrator (Brett) professing his feelings to the love of his life, (his wife Cecilia) explaining that life “ain’t the same” without her. The track also features a clever chorus that parallels the narrator’s relationship and famous pairings that just aren’t quite right when not together. With vivid lyrics such as the beach ain’t the same without the sun / Coke ain’t the same without the rum / Vegas needs them neon lights / tequila needs that lime, the song puts a fresh, lighthearted spin on the concept of finding one’s perfect match.
The song offers a unique blend of pop and modern country, highlighting Kissel’s warm, rich vocals and paired with the infectious harmonies of 98°. The tune is so well done and more importantly, a whole heck of a lotta’ fun. It is sure to entice listeners of all genres and from all age groups.
Though Kissel and 98° are extremely busy, they hope to be able to schedule several shows where they can play the song live. If they show up anywhere in Nashville, you can bet I will be there.
You can follow Kissel on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and all streaming platforms.
You can follow 98° on their website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and all streaming platforms.
– – –
Bethany Bowman is a freelance entertainment writer. You can follow her blog, Instagram, and Twitter.