Born Paul Rennee Belobersycky, July 21, 1972, in Airdrie, Alberta, Canada; son of Claude and Edith Belobersycky; married Elizabeth Peterson, February 22, 1997. Education: Attended nursing school. Addresses: Home--Nashville, TN. Record company--Warner Bros., 1815 Division St., P.O. Box 120897, Nashville, TN 37212; Reprise Records, 3300 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505. Fan Club--P.O. Box 57144, Sunridge Postal Outlet, 2525 35th Street N.E., Calgary, Alberta T1Y 5T0, Canada.

After entering the country music scene in the early 1990s, Canadian Paul Brandt captured the hearts of country music fans throughout North America and Europe with his melodious baritone voice and touching, rock-edged lyrics. His 1996 debut album, Calm Before The Storm, mesmerized the country music world and reached gold status in the United States by April of 1997. During those two years, Brandt won numerous music awards and produced a second critically-acclaimed album entitled Outside The Frame.

Brandt was born Paul Rennee Belobersycky on July 21, 1972, to parents Claude and Edith, outside of Calgary, Alberta, in the small town of Airdrie. With his two sisters, Jenny and Sunny, he grew up amidst oil refineries and cattle ranches. His earliest exposure to music was hearing gospel hymns in church, and his first performances--with his sisters--were done there as well, singing in an a cappella trio and in choir. Brandt recalled in an interview with Country Magazine, "Secular music was not allowed in our household." He also explained that his interest in music was inherited from his Russian great-grandfather who had been a musician and opera singer in Russia during the 1920s and 1930s.

While in the ninth grade, Brandt took up playing the guitar. His mother encouraged him by providing classical guitar lessons, and Brandt showed an exceptionally fine ear for music and taught himself as well. Until he was about 13 years old, the family had no television. Rather than feeling deprived, the situation provided Brandt with a wonderful opportunity to develop his artistic imagination. As a teenager he began writing poetry, which ultimately he would combine with his music. By the time he performed in front of an audience, they were hearing the total Brandt package--with lyrics and music written by the young man.

Brandt has said that he initially played folk music resembling the style of Four Strong Winds. He was part of a vocal/jazz ensemble. At the same time he started to connect his poems to music. He was also being strongly influenced by popular country artists, including Buck Owens, Dwight Yoakam, Clint Black, and George Strait. Brandt also appreciated The Mavericks, as he explained in an online interview with cable network Great American Country, because they were "the artists who were traditional, yet managed to push the envelope." This was the beginning of Brandt's development of a country style with a rock edge.

During his final years in high school, Brandt began entering local talent contests for songwriters, singers, and performers. He entered the Calgary Stampede Contest three years in a row. The first year he placed in the top ten, the second year he didn't place in any category, but by the third year--1992--he won first prize for songwriting and second prize for his performance.

This contest would prove to be the beginning of a new road for Brandt professionally. Although he had always enjoyed music, he was something of a reluctant performer and it hadn't occurred to him to pursue it as a career. After high school, Brandt went to college to become a registered nurse. In a way, he was following in his parents' footsteps: his father was a paramedic and his mother had returned to nursing school at the same time as her son. However, Brandt's fascination with music persisted during his time in nursing school. He spent all of his extra time and money entering contests, recording demos, and performing around the Calgary area.

In 1993, Brandt won a national talent contest sponsored by the Canadian performance society SOCAN, when his tune "Calm Before The Storm" was named Best Original Canadian Country Song. This honor gained him the attention of Warner Music's Reprise label. Many powerful record executives had been in Hamilton, Ontario, for the competition and for the Country Music Week happening at the same time. After the contest, Warner Music Canada's Kim Cooke got in touch with Brandt and forwarded his demo tape to Nashville. Brandt then received a call from Warnr vice-president Paige Levy, who sent representatives to Canada to see him perform. Shortly afterwards Levy signed the young man to a recording contract.

Having spent two years as a pediatric nurse for the Children's Hospital in Alberta, it was now clear that a new professional path lay ahead of Brandt. Nevertheless, he had found considerable fulfillment in his medical career. Speaking in the Calgary Sun of his experiences nursing sick children, Brandt said, "It was difficult, but it was also rewarding. When you have a chance to see kids get better, everything makes it all worth it. All I wanted was to try to make a difference in my life and have a legacy in some way, but for something I had done in someone else's life." As a nurse, Brandt hoped to make a difference in children's lives, and now he hopes to use music in the same way. The singer-songwriter's work with sick and dying children exposed him to the rawest of human emotions and showed him individuals in their most vulnerable moments. He shared the joy of new parents and felt the pain of those who lost a child. These experiences probably explain why, as a young man, Brandt has often seemed wise beyond his years.

The reluctant country star first became a commercial success in Canada, with Calm Before The Storm going platinum by November of 1996 and double platinum by March of 1997. Later in 1997, Calm Before The Storm was certified "Gold" in the United States after sales exceeded 500,000 albums. Brandt now had the attention of country music lovers in both the United States and Canada. The Record magazine reported in July of 1996 that his first single, "My Heart Has A History," was the "most played song on Canadian country radio." The cut "I Do" was Brandt's first number one hit single in the United States, according to Billboard Magazine in October of 1996.

In June of 1997, Brandt won five awards at the Big Country Awards. The tune "My Heart Has A History" earned Song of the Year and Video of the Year. The music industry newcomer also won Album of the Year, Male Artist of the Year, and Canadian Country Artist of the Year. The following month, Brandt returned to Calgary for a benefit performance. He was greeted enthusiastically by more than 13,000 fans at the Canadian Airlines Saddledome for his first concert in his hometown since releasing Calm Before The Storm. The concert's proceeds--some $250,000--were donated to Alberta's Children's Hospital.

In September of 1997, Brandt took four out of five honors that he was nominated for at the Canadian Country Music Awards. He took three prizes for the cut "I Do": Single of the Year, SOCAN Song of the Year, and Video of the Year. He also won Male Vocalist of the Year.

Brandt's award-winning style is based on a country stance supplemented with a modern edge. His rich baritone voice dives deep into a well of human emotion, singing about love, passion, and regret. While recording his first two albums at Emerald Studios in Nashville, Tennessee, Brandt worked wth producer Josh Leo. His second album, Outside The Frame, was released to critical acclaim and included vocals by Kathy Mattea on "We Are The One." Brandt dedicated this album to his new wife. On February 22, 1997, he married Elizabeth Peterson--now known as Liz Brandt--who also sings backup on Outside The Frame. Many of the songs on the album speak of his marital bliss and his feelings towards his wife. While some of Outside The Frame's cuts are rocking, like "Chain Reaction," Brandt slows the pace down on the introspective, "A Little In Love." A reviewer from Entertainment Weekly stated, "Brandt comes to his second album with driving, testosterone-fueled rhythm songs ... his generally upbeat lyrics bring new dazzle to country's rhinestone heart."

Young, intelligent, and known as "Mr. Nice Guy," Brandt has shown the ability to bring audiences to tears. This phenomenon is explained by his approach to music, which he described to Great American Country: "The whole process of growing as a musician is a constant struggle to get to that place where there's nothing between what's in your heart and what's in your music." Brandt's combination of songwriting skills, gifted voice, and ability to project heartfelt emotion all point to a very bright future. On this subject, critic Jane Stevenson of the Toronto Sun noted, "My prediction is that Brandt is destined to become the next big thing in country music."

by Debra Reilly

Paul Brandt's Career

Worked as a pediatric nurse in Alberta, Canada, c. 1991- 93; gained attention of Reprise Records executives after winning Best Original Canadian Country Song in the 1993 National Talent Contest sponsored by the Canadian organization, SOCAN; signed with Reprise Records/Warner Bros. in 1994; recording debut Calm Before The Storm came in 1996; headlined first tour in 1997.

Paul Brandt's Awards

Calgary Stampede Talent Showcase, first place for songwriting, 1992; SOCAN National Talent Contest, Best Original Canadian Country Song, 1993 for "Calm Before The Storm"; Canadian Country Music Awards, Song of the Year 1996, for "My Heart Has A History"; Juno Award for Country Male Vocalist of the Year, 1997; Big Country Awards, Song of the Year and Video of the Year, for "My Heart Has A History," Album of the Year, Male Artist of the Year, and Canadian Country Artist of the Year, all 1997; Canadian Country Music Awards, SOCAN Song of the Year and Video of the Year, for "I Do," and Male Vocalist of the Year, all 1997.

Famous Works

Further Reading



Visitor Comments Add a comment…

almost 13 years ago

I don't know where you have gone but I miss your music very much and would love for you to come back and sing. It would be really nice to hear you and Liz do a song together. Your music speaks to everyday living, heartbreaks, good days, bad days, etc. It tells about life for everyone and helps you to cope with what's next. Being a former nurse you understand pain, suffering, heartbreak, happiness, etc. You saw it all and helped make it right. Nurses never get enough attention for the work they do. If people only knew what they had to go through to become a nurse and what they have to deal with after they are a nurse, I think they would see nursing from a different perspective. I was an LPN in Manitoba and the cut backs put a halt to my career, I have always wanted to nurse, and my chance got taken away fast. Now I have leukemia and degenerative disc in back and neck and find each day a challenge. I get up and pray I make it through the day, when I go to bed I pray to wake up and for the pain to subside, even for one day painfree, I would be in my glory. Well I don't know if you actually read these pages, I hope you do. I love your music and your beliefs, your wife is a wonderful person and you both help alot of people, that is awesome. Thanks for listening, and maybe a song about your feelings while taking care of terminally ill or fragile patients might make for an interesting song. I will always be listening and looking for your return. Good luck to you and your family. God Bless.

over 15 years ago

Hello Paul, I understand that we have been informally introduced by a mutual friend,(Al Derkson.) I am a pedal steel,dobro player and songwriter. I would love the opportunity to share my writing with you. Thanks for you time. cheers

almost 16 years ago

Country Music needs you!!!! Your voice is so much of why I love it. You are very missed on the country scene

about 16 years ago

hi paul i think you are great guy in my world and a best man ever any way i love you and liz and your mom and dad

about 16 years ago

i love you paul very much i can not belive that i am your part of the family and friends i like you always and i will think of you

about 16 years ago

hi paul i now you dude i want to see you good luck on your baby i want to come by and see it how is Jenna and sunny and your dad and your mom i am your huge fan of you paige

over 16 years ago

What a small world,Paige....My father also works with EMS in Calgary. Did you also get to hang out at the fire halls when you were a kid too....I wonder if Paul Brant did as well?

over 16 years ago

Hi every one, I mailed a letter to the Paul Brandt Fan Club address given on all the Web Sites Sundridge Postal Outlet Calgary & it came back as " MOved" does anyone have a correct updated address. Thanks

over 16 years ago

Paul Brandt is such an amazing artist. His song "My Heart Has A History" is so my song. it discribe exactlt how i am, i have such a trouble commiting to one guy and everytime i am close to commitment do something stupid to ruin it becuase i feel they deserve better than me. the only mant i every loved and commited to my Fiancé Jesse was killed in the line of duty and Paul's music was such a gift to me in getting through that tough time.

over 16 years ago

i now paul brandt beacuse he is my prat of my life i am huge fan og him his dad works with my dad with the E.M.S. Paige

over 16 years ago

I just saw Paul in concert a few days ago and was absolutely blown away. Hi music and stage presence is something that I have admired and loved for some time however I think what I admire most is his compassion and love of people. I definately got on board and bought a filtration system for a family in Africa and think it is brillant that he is using his celebrity in such a way as to help so many people. WHen I met him at the meet and greet...he thanked me for buying the system and to that I absolutely assured him that he was the one who was to be thanked...for all that he does and for all that he is...s

over 16 years ago

I want to thank paul brant for singing the song I Do. My soon to be husband don't usually listen to country music but when he heard I Do he said thats our wedding song. Thank you . He said how did he know how i felt about you.