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(EDITOR’s NOTE: This story appears differently than it did in the print paper, due to a technical glitch.)

Bailey MacKinnon is going to Kick it With Kissel.

The 19-year-old Westville singer will be the opening act for Brett Kissel on his “Ice, Snow & 30 Below Tour” which will make its way to Glasgow Square in New Glasgow on January 28 and Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre on January 29.

“I’m very excited for this opportunity,” MacKinnon gushed on Saturday before heading back to school in Port Hawkesbury.

“I don’t sing a lot of country music but I grew up listening to it. This is a great opportunity for me and I’m very thankful.”

Local residents will remember MacKinnon – and her voice – from her many performances throughout the county as a solo performer and as lead singer of the group The Third Step.

“I’ve been singing ever since I could talk,” MacKinnon chuckles.

The talented young woman began taking voice lessons at age 5 from Darla MacKeil. She stuck with them for a few years then, several years ago, MacKinnon took on a few students of her own.

She also studied piano for several years and is now teaching herself to play guitar. She also accompanies herself frequently on the ukulele.

Currently in school at the Strait Area campus of the Nova Scotia Community College, MacKinnon will be attending the NSCC’s Waterfront Campus in the fall to study music arts.

She was chosen as the opening act for the Juno and CCMA award-winning Kissel through a video contest.

She was selected among many contestants vying to perform with Kissel through the “Kick It With Kissel” contest. Participants were asked to record a video of themselves performing their favourite original, cover, or Kissel songs and post it to social media using the “#KickItWithKissel” hashtag. Winners were chosen by Invictus Entertainment and Kissel himself.

MacKinnon uploaded a video of herself singing Dream a Little Dream.

According to the contest rules, the winners must perform as an acoustic solo, duo or trio. So MacKinnon is looking forward to sharing the stage with her equally talented musician brother, Brennon, who will accompany her on guitar and she is hoping to recruit former The Third Step bass player Nathan Snell.

MacKinnon has been playing everything from her own originals to songs by Amy Winehouse and other popular artists. Along with singing, she also plays the ukulele and keyboard.

“I’m excited because I will be playing at home as well as my home away from home.”

The next couple of weeks will be frantic and exciting for the singer as she practises for what will be a 20-minute set – five or six songs, she estimates.

MacKinnon is nervous, but excited for the experience.

“I am a little awkward talking with people, but when I sing it’s different. Singing is definitely the one thing I know I can do, I’m confident when I sing. Music has always been there for me and has really helped me a lot.”

Kissel is a Juno award winner, multi Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) award winner and reigning CCMA “Fan’s Choice” and “Male Artist of the Year”. His “Ice, Snow & 30 Below” tour begins in Sault St. Marie, Ont., on January 12 and ends on February 4 in Georgetown, PEI with 17 stops in between.

“I remember how helpful it was to my career to open for a bigger artist and play to a packed house,” commented Kissel in a press release. “I’m happy to provide a similar opportunity to up and coming artists as there is so much great talent out there!” 

For more information visit brettkissel.com.

Bailey MacKinnon belts out a tune while accompanying herself on the ukulele. She will be opening for Brett Kissel on his “Ice, Snow & 30 Below” tour in New Glasgow on January 28. (Adam MakBain photo)

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