Brayden Watson is a rising country superstar who graced the Songwriter’s Showcase stage at last weekend’s Big Valley Jamboree in Camrose. | Phoenix Advertising and Marketing in Alberta photo Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

With his deep voice, his easy guitar twang and his songs about whiskey, relationships, and playing cards, Brayden Watson is already ahead of the game.

His first album, “Dealer Doesn’t Fold,” was just released a few weeks ago and is available on all platforms, including Apple Music and Spotify.

You might expect that he sings from experience and lots of hard work but you’d only be half right … about the “hard work” part, that is.

The 18-year-old B.C. native hails from Montney, north of Fort St. John and Dawson Creek, but music has been a part of his life since he was, well, just a kid. He’s been working hard toward this dream since he  was two and his efforts are already paying off.

The Fitzhugh was lucky to interview the rising star as he and his family stopped by Jasper on his return trip from a successful performance on the Songwriter’s Showcase stage last Friday afternoon at Camrose’s Big Valley Jamboree last weekend.  

 “It was amazing, actually. It was a lot of fun. The people were awesome there, and it was incredible,” he said. “I’ve always heard about it. This was my first time ever going.”  

Chalk that one up to another dream come true. You could say that he’s got a lot of drive to share his songs and make it in the music industry.

You could also say that he’s got a lot of heart.

It’s that heart that brought him to the stage, after all. He was two when he underwent surgery to repair a hole in his heart. Several operations later, he now lives with a permanent pacemaker to keep things to the right rhythm.

None of that has stopped him or slowed him down much, however. Over the years, he has practiced and developed his writing, singing and playing with the help of B.C. country artist Tom Cole.  

Now he can already boast of sharing that stage with Kim Mitchell, Emerson Drive, Washboard Union, Tanya Tucker and Randy Bachman.  

It’s because of his health that he got onto the radar of Make-A-Wish Canada, the organization that works to provide kids with critical illnesses their most heartfelt wishes. It helped to facilitate getting him to the BVJ festival lineup, something for which he expresses his deep appreciation. It has all been simply incredible, he says.

Getting to the door is one thing, but it’s what you do on the floor that really matters. At the mike during his spotlight moment in Camrose, he had the crowd charmed.  

“After I got up and started playing, everybody was super excited and happy. Everybody was clapping, and people were even singing along with some of my songs. It was incredible.”

“It was actually really crazy,” his mom, Shauna Watson, confirmed. “It was just amazing to see him. We were so proud to see him on the stage, to finally live out his dream. It just went so well. He deserved to be there.”

With a performing career opening up wide ahead of him, he is still hot in pursuit of another dream at the same time. September is on the horizon, and he’s looking forward to going back to school to train in aircraft maintenance engineering. He has already earned his Category 1 medical certification to become a commercial pilot. He’s training for his full license and hopes to become a medevac pilot for rural communities.

He won’t be leaving the music on the ground, though. One day, he might even sing over the intercom while he’s piloting around the skies.

“I still want to play some shows and everything. I want to see where the music world takes me: see if I can get my music out to more people and see if it’ll take off.”

By Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Aug 11, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from    The Fitzhugh    Jasper, Alberta

Comments are Welcome - Use the 'Join the Discussion' above any replies, or 'TheRegional / Chat' below replies. Both links take you to the same place. You will be asked to become a registered user if you are not one already - Posts are moderated