Paul Brandt, singer. Songwriter, b Paul Rennee Belobersycky, Calgary 21 July 1972. Brandt grew up on gospel music and sang in church, but he soon developed a love for country music and, in 1992, won $1000 in a talent contest at the Calgary Stampede. At the same time he was pursuing a career as a pediatric nurse, but music took a more prominent role in his life after his "Calm Before the Storm" was named best original Canadian country song by SOCAN, Canada's performing rights society, during the annual Country Music Week. That caught the attention of both Warner Music Canada and Reprise Records in Nashville, and Brandt was soon signed to a joint deal by the two labels.
"Calm Before the Storm" became the title track of Brandt's 1996 debut album, which has sold more than 200,000 copies in Canada. Country Music Television named him male rising video star of 1996, and his "My Heart Has a History" single topped the Canadian country year-end chart and performed well in the US. Brandt was named top country male vocalist at the 1997 Juno Awards, and later that year at the Canadian Country Music Awards (see Canadian Country Music Association) took four prizes - best male vocalist, single, video and SOCAN Song of the Year for "I Do." Brandt's next album, Outside the Frame, was released that fall and sold more than 100,000 copies in Canada; it also earned Brandt another top male vocalist title at the Canadian Country Music Awards and Junos for both male vocalist and country male vocalist. Brandt released a Christmas album in 1998 and another collection of new songs, That's the Truth, in 1999, which won him an award for best country male artist at the 2000 Junos. A greatest hits album, What I Want to Be Remembered For, was released in 2000.
Brandt formed his own Brand-T Records label and moved from Warner to BMG in 2002 to deliver another winning album with Small Towns and Big Dreams. For 2004's This Time Around, Brand-T partnered with the upstart Orange Record Label, a Toronto-based, Universal Music Canada-distributed imprint. The disc spawned the hits "Leavin'," "Convoy" and "Home" and propelled sales beyond gold status. This Time Around was named album of the year at the Canadian Country Music Awards, where the video for "Convoy" also picked up a prize. Late in 2004, the Nashville resident recorded a duet titled "Hands" with his wife Liz.
A holiday album titled A Gift was issued in November 2006, while Risk was released through Brand-T/Universal less than a year later and won a Juno for Country Recording of the Year. After a break from recording, Brandt returned with Give It Away in 2011 and Just As I Am in 2012. The latter was a country bluegrass album that featured Brandt's favourite hymns and included contributions from American artists Patty Loveless, John Anderson and Ricky Skaggs, among others.
Brandt is a devout Christian who has done charitable work for World Vision, Samaritan's Purse, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and other groups. Although he grew up without having a TV in his house until he was 13, he has since become a seasoned veteran of the format through various appearances and performances on a variety of small-screen shows. He has hosted the televised Canadian Country Music Awards show a record five times and hosted a 2011 Country Music Television show called Build It Forward, where he helped build homes for seven Calgary families at risk of homelessness.
Brandt has become the most awarded male artist in Canadian history. He has won eight Junos and 13 Canadian Country Music Awards, while his domestic record sales are now well over a million. He was also named the American Country Music Association's 2005 global country artist of the year. The award recognizes outstanding achievement by country music artists who have furthered the popularity of the genre and brought attention to it in their region.