The masters of defamation have launched their most recent attack on a Canadian. This time it’s our dear Avril. The target of the unprofessional criticism is the new music video Avril shot for her song “Hello Kitty”. Whether or not you are a fan of Avril Lavigne’s music, recognize that defamation of any of our artists hurts the Canadian music industry as a whole. Canada now ranks second last in the world for per capita spending on music.
Entertainment Weekly criticized the Hello Kitty video for being racist because it features Asians in it. If EW doesn’t want Asians featured in music videos, that sounds pretty racist to us.
Billboard Magazine criticized the video for its featured expressionless women, laziness, including the generic dance moves, and clumsy guitar-playing. Sounds more like Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love” video. But we guess that, because he is a white, adult, male, he’s exempt from criticism.
Canada’s own CBC criticized Avril for selling lots of records in Japan. The CBC recently announced big layoffs and cuts. Perhaps they can consider making some money from Japan too.
While entertainment journalists at the CBC slander our own artists, arm CBC Music tries to promote Canadian music. Here’s a secret: when the feet kick down what the hands stack up, nothing gets built.
Finally, The Globe and Mail wrote an excellent, objective, and positive review of the Hello Kitty MV which you can read here.
Two recently released Canadian albums have made the Top 10 Albums chart this week. Folk legend Gilles Vigneault’s new work, Vivre debout, has landed at #4, and right behind him is the self-titled, debut album from Star Academie finalist Olivier Dion. Of the nine albums that have made the Top 10 this year, seven are works by Quebec artists. Le Poids Des Confettis from Les Soeurs Boulay that came out last year is at #7 this week. Serge Fiori’s album remains near the top of the chart and is the second best-selling LP of the year to date; only the Frozen soundtrack has sold more copies.
On the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 are four new Canuck entries. Leading the pack is Saskatchewan’s Jess Moskaluke. This is the country singer’s first time ever on the chart, and we believe she has a very bright future ahead of her. Alex Nevsky has two songs on the chart, one of which is a re-entry. “Les Colories” is new and, at #85, becomes the highest peaking Francophone song of 2014. The aforementioned Les Soeurs Boulay have the third newbie, “Mappemonde”. Finally, The Road Hammers return to the charts with “Mud”. With all the Canadian artists on this week’s Hot 100, seven of ten provinces are represented in terms of their origin, a rare phenomenon.
A visual presentation of the current Billboard Canadian Hot 100 is HERE
Nielsen compiles weekly data on sales and radio airplay of singles and ranks them in the Canadian Hot 100 which is published by Billboard. Here we list all entries from the chart that are in whole or in part by Canadian artists.
RK = Rank. OR = Provincial origin of the artist. PS = Position on the Canadian Hot 100. CG = Change from last week’s position. WC = Weeks on the chart. PP = Peak position. Foreign artist in grey. RE = Re-entry. Most impressive numbers in last columns appear in red.
Note: The date of the chart corresponds to the release of Nielsen Music’s Canadian Update newsletter which is normally 10 days less than on the online Billboard chart.
Despite all the new releases on iTunes yesterday, some from fairly high profile artists, whether foreign or domestic, it is a pre-order from a Francophone female artist that has topped the albums chart. Marie-Mai is, for lack of a better word, HOT! She’s rocking well. The Varennes, QC native has won multiple Félix Awards, landed half a dozen songs on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100, and authored a pair of platinum-certified albums. We loved seeing her included as a performer at the Closing Ceremony of the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010. The new album, M, will be her 5th studio LP since debuting in 2004. Marie-Mai’s career was launched by her finishing among the top in the first season of Star Académie.
The upcoming album’s lead single, “Jamais trop tard”, a collaboration with Jonas, recently topped the CKOI Franco chart, and is currently sitting in the iTunes Top 10. Marie-Mai has shot a music video for track “Conscience” and will be premiering songs from the album at Montréal’s Bell Centre. To give you an idea of how big the singer has become, she will be performing twice at the venue: May 2 and 3. M will be released on May 12. You can pre-order it on iTunes. Album teaser below.
Fellow Canadians, If you were to travel to Britain right now, the world’s 3rd biggest music market, you will hear a song being played everywhere: shopping malls, supermarkets, cafés, house parties, discos, bloke fixing his Mini with the radio on. It has swept the masses, brought them to their feet, and it has topped the country’s official singles chart. Yes, it’s number one in the UK! When you hear this track, you will say to yourself, “These Brits make pretty good music.” The only problem is, the singer isn’t British. She’s Canadian. (Hear the needle sliding off the vinyl.)
How can a Canadian artist top the British charts when few people at home have heard of her? Well, we should have heard of her. Calgary’s Kiesza joined the reserves of the Royal Canadian Navy and became a code breaker. She also entered the Miss Universe Canada pageant. Kiesza learned jazz, ballet, and tap dancing and studied keys, guitar, and voice at Selkirk College in Nelson, BC. Then, in New York, she recorded track “Hideaway” and shot a music video. The unique MV, currently at 4.7 million YouTube views, was filmed in a single take as she dances along the streets of Brooklyn. The song was picked up by Annie Mac on her Mac’s Special Delivery segment on BBC Radio 1. And now, it’s the number one song in Britain.
This is not the first time a Canadian artist has become huge in mother England while remaining a virtual unknown at home. Kiesza’s fellow Calgarian, Raghav, scored four Top 10 hits in the UK and became a household name there. Ten years on, and he is still having to pull out all the stops to become recognized on his home turf.
In the end it’s not so much that these Canadian artists are hiding away from home to become superstars abroad; it is more a matter of us hiding away from embracing our finest talents. Let’s change this. “Hideaway” is available on iTunes.
London’s Meaghan Smith has boldly channelled her signature vintage style into the field of popular music on third album, Have a Heart. Back in 2009, Meaghan succeeded in attracting attention (and a JUNO Award) for trudging off the beaten path and making antique flavoured music in The Crickets Orchestra. Five years later, she faced a dilemma: does she continue the same vibe running the risk of things going stale or go mainstream and possibly lose a number of her core fans? She has played it smart by combining the vintage with the modern.
Generally, we hear the former in the writing and the latter in the production. More accurately, though, while all contain elements of both, some of the individual tracks veer more towards the classic and others towards the current. The best example of the latter is perhaps the title-track, a Hot 100 charting single. Our favourite example of the former is “The Moon Makes a Fool of Me” which greets us like a freshly built barbershop but with 60-year-old décor. “Je t’aime” oozes with lush beauty. Finger-snapper “Friends Like You” swings with vintage glory while being perked up by some bass synth. Booming anthem “Mirror” is another standout track, and the album includes an acoustic version of it. Making Have a Heart may have been a bold move for Meaghan Smith, but it sure has paid off in the final analysis. Lyric video for “Friends Like You” embedded below. iTunes
Sarah McLachlan is one of only 13 homegrown artists to ever score a diamond album domestically. That album was Surfacing, the LP that spawned the number one song of 1997, “Building a Mystery”. Gold/platinum certification grace all of Sarah’s studio albums. In the Top 40 hit singles department, the Vancouver based, Halifax native has 13 to her name. Eight JUNO trophies decorate her home. But the songstress is not just a superstar at home; she has sold over 40 million records worldwide. The stats are undeniably impressive; however, what we and many others love most about Sarah is her work towards building a better society.
In the 90s, McLachlan was frustrated by radio stations’ and concert promoters’ standard refusal to feature two female artists back to back. Rather than simply idly criticize the injustice, she took action and coordinated a series of all-female music artist festivals beginning in 1996. These Lilith Fair concerts launched the music careers of many female artists and raised over $10 million for women’s charities in northern America.
In 2011, she opened the Sarah McLachlan School of Music in east Vancouver, a free music school for at-risk youth. The school provides music lessons with the goal of increasing self-esteem and cultivating an appreciation for the arts through music education.
Last year, Sarah McLachlan felt it was time to make some new music and returned to the studio with long-time collaborator Pierre Marchand. Climbing aboard the production team were heavyweight Bob Rock and keyboardist Vincent Jones (The Grapes of Wrath). The new album, her eighth, bears the title Shine On and will be released in both standard and deluxe versions on May 6 through David Foster’s Verve Music Group. McLachlan says the album was inspired by the passing of her father and her renewed appreciation of life:
“This album is about moving through the second half of my life in a more mindful and meaningful way, recognizing that every day, every moment is precious and though we all have our issues and problems, our damages, we all have the ability to continue to learn, grow from our experiences, thrive and shine on. Many of the songs are inspired at least partially or wholly by my father’s passing three years ago and the profound effect losing him had on me. I had to find my footing again without the anchor of his unconditional love.”