Canadian Country Star Brett Kissel Makes Sweet Harmonies Alongside 98 Degrees on New Single 'Ain't the Same'

PEOPLE has a first look behind-the-scenes with Brett Kissel and 98 Degrees on-set at the making of the "Ain't the Same" music video

98 degrees, Brett Kissel
Brett Kissel and 98 Degrees. Photo: Tristan Renaud

On a red carpet at an award show in Toronto, Brett Kissel met 98 Degrees, and they shared a dressing room. And that was where their story could have ended.

"It was sort of like, 'How are you guys doing?' and then we moved on," explains Kissel, 31, during an interview with PEOPLE. "They introduced me on stage that night too, but that was about it."

But as fate would have it, the country singer from Canada and the pop group from the States would ultimately find themselves in a room together as they collaborated on Kissel's new single "Ain't the Same."

"It was the quickest collab that has ever happened in my entire life," laughs Kissel, who has made quite the career for himself in Canada with 15 top 10 radio singles, 4 No. 1 songs, and a slew of gold and platinum plaques. "Within three days of talking to them about this song, they had their vocals on it."

Certainly, the collaboration was a bit of a no-brainer for the men, as both Kissel and the members of 98 Degrees — Jeff Timmons, brothers Nick and Drew Lachey and Justin Jeffre — find themselves making their way into the country genre here in the States.

"You look at the demographics of 98 Degrees fans who have followed their band since the beginning, and you will find that those fans today are country fans," says Kissel of the continuing appeal of 98 Degrees, who are currently celebrating their 25th anniversary year since they formed. "So, we actually share a lot of the same fans. And if you strip down some of their biggest hits, they are in fact country songs."

The men of 98 Degrees couldn't agree more.

"People have been pushing for 98 Degrees to do country for quite some time," explains Timmons, 48. "For us, it's always about the song and if the song will allow us to showcase our harmonies and abilities and such. So, to us, it just felt like it was the right time and the right song and the right person to do the song with."

98 degrees, Brett Kissel
Brett Kissel and 98 Degrees. Tristan Renaud

"What separates a country song from a pop song is the production," adds Drew Lachey, 45. "You take a certain keyboard sound out and you put a slide guitar in there and now it's a country song. I'm simplifying it, but I think there is a lot of room in that middle area where you can kind of go back and forth between different genres that are appealing to you."

The song itself is about that age-old topic: everything one experiences in life is better when you are doing it alongside someone you love.

"It's sort of like if you don't have sun, the beach kind of sucks," Kissel chuckles of the song that he co-wrote alongside Karen Kosowski and Tim Nichols. "Within about an hour and a half, we had this song done from start to finish. Then we decided that we were going to go celebrate and have a cocktail."

And yes, the cocktails were also flowing during the video shoot, as Kissel and 98 Degrees reunited to not only have some fun and create music, but bond over their shared love for their respective families.

"When you put my family, especially my little kids on camera, you never know what you're going to get!" says Kissel, whose wife Cecilia was pregnant with their fourth child during the filming of the music video, which is set for release in May. "Actually, we all talked about our families when we were together, about how we all really love what we've been able to accomplish in their careers, but we still obviously love spending time with family and friends. We were really connected over that both as men and as parents."

98 degrees, Brett Kissel
Brett Kissel and 98 Degrees. Tristan Renaud

"I played 'Ain't the Same' for my wife and immediately she was like, 'Do whatever you got to do to convince the guys to get on this one," remembers Timmons. "And fortunately for me, it didn't take much convincing. But yeah, my wife was instrumental in pushing me forward with this one."

Everything about this collaboration seemed to go smoothly, except for one thing.

"A tree almost killed Nick," Kissel recalls of the near-miss caught on a special behind-the-scenes video premiering on PEOPLE. "I'm not embellishing that. That's 100% true story — if Nick didn't duck, he would have fallen two stories. This bus we were on had no business going down some of those streets, but the director wanted more scenery and palm trees," he says with a laugh. "We got the shot and Nick survived!"

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