One of the most anticipated releases of the year, Kiesza’s Sound of a Woman, is out now. The Calgarian dance/house phenomenon is one of the year’s hottest new stars. New Brunswick’s multiplatinum singer Roch Voisine follows up his greatest hits release with brand new studio album, Movin’ On Maybe. Winnipeg country master Doc Walker who has scored 11 Billboard Hot 100 hits is back with The 8th. Two-time JUNO nominee Oh Susanna drops Namedropper, one of the most beautiful roots albums of the year. Also from Toronto, folk-pop JUNO winner Elliott Brood gives us Work and Love. Great alt rock album Tss Tss is out from Chocolat.
Lake Echo, NS JUNO nominee Jenn Grant returns in top form with alt-AC album Compostela. Blue Volvo is a rap album from Montreal’s Loud Lary Ajust. Hey Rosetta is a JUNO-nominated alt-pop band from St. John’s. The new album is Second Sight. Televised comedy series Les Appendices releases an album of tunes from its cast members covering Season 7.
A couple of magnificent EPs appear this week. Cat Thomson is a brand new artist from Calgary and has been signed to Vancouver label 604 Records. Her excellent debut, Puzzle, is adult contemporary with some pop/rock in the mix. Mauka is the new spine-tingling EP from New Brunswick electronic duo Vogue Dots. Self-titled EP Highs is alt-pop from the new Toronto band.
On a side note, Diana Krall’s Wallflower album under Verve Music Group is delayed a second time. The new release date is February 2015. Diana on her Facebook page explains the reason for the second delay: “I’m deeply saddened that I will have to postpone the release of my new album Wallflower and the Wallflower U.S Fall Tour until next year. I’ve been battling a case of pneumonia and am under doctor’s orders to rest for the next few months in order to regain my strength and good health.” We send our jazz empress our best wishes.
Canadians are beginning to involve themselves in international collaborations, as such are proving to be popular in 2014 and are mutually beneficial for both the artists involved as well as selling their music in their respective countries and around the world. We previously wrote of girl group G.R.L which includes Canada’s Emmalyn Estrada. Here are a few more recent and upcoming happenings.
Pink and Green
Most of you, by now, are aware of You+Me, a collaboration between Canada’s City and Colour (Dallas Green) and The United States’ Pink (Alecia Beth Moore). While some were initially surprised by the unlikely pairing, given the past difference in musical styles between the two, it has gone over well. The duo’s album Rose Ave. has topped the iTunes Canada chart for the past week and earned a Top 5 placement south of the border. Moreover, it has debuted at #2 on the official Australian charts and #10 in the UK. Considering that the music is folk, it goes to show that two big names, both having beautiful voices and inspired compositional skills, matters more than musical genre.
Hot new Toronto teen star, Shawn Mendes, is featured in single “Oh Cecilia (Breaking My Heart)” by British boy group The Vamps. It is not a cover of the Simon & Garfunkel song in the strict sense but more of an adaptation or reworking of it. Shawn’s debut single, “Life of the Party,” peaked at #24 in The States and is up to #9 at home. The question was, how does he introduce himself to the Brits. The Vamps had previously scored four Top 5 hits in the UK, so they are already well known to the British public. The new single featuring Shawn charted at #9 in the UK this week.
While promoting her latest album in France, Montreal’s Nikki Yanofsky and her heavyweight American producer Quincy Jones hooked up with Zaz (Isabelle Geffroy). The latter is a very popular French jazz-pop singer who has been working on her new album, Paris. The album will be released in Canada November 11, and Nikki is featured on one of the tracks — “I Love Paris / J’aime Paris”. Although both women do jazz-pop, their musical and vocal styles differ. Nikki has a smoother style while Zaz’s voice is more raspy. This should make for a very exciting pairing. Below is a promo video.
Rosaireville, NB’s Lisa LeBlanc rode out of nowhere like a princess on a snowmobile, got nominated for a JUNO, won a Félix, and struck platinum with the release of her debut, self-titled Franco album, with all tracks being self-penned. Lisa calls her genre of music “folk trash”. It’s a mishmash of country, folk, and rock delivered with in-your-face charisma and intense musicianship. Lisa rocks her banjo harder than most heavy metalists rock guitar (she plays guitar too). She has been called Canada’s answer to Janis Joplin.
Now, in smooth Acadian fashion, Lisa is crossing over into Anglo territory with the release of EP Highways, Heartaches and Time Well Wasted. The 6-track English disc will be released on November 4, and LeBlanc will be on tour from Ottawa to Victoria mid-November to mid-December. Album opener, “You Look Like Trouble (But I Guess I Do Too)” is available for digi-download, and the EP can be pre-ordered from iTunes.
Blumenort/La Crete Alberta’s High Valley is a JUNO-nominated country group of brothers (The Rempels) who scored six hits on the Hot 100 since debuting in 2007. Originally a trio, Bryan decided to depart the band to focus on his family and raising of his two children with wife Jessica. With that, the band is down to duo Curtis and Brad on fourth album, County Line. The album opens with the title-track and current hit single (see MV below). Recent hit “Rescue You” closes out the work. The quality of music sandwiched in-between the two hits is remarkably good. The album presents a rousing and rugged feel with attractive lyrics and a dose of spirituality. U.S. multiple Grammy winner Ricky Skaggs is featured on one of the tracks. iTunes
Sherbrooke’s Vincent Vallières is up for five ADISQ Felix Awards this year including male artist of the year, song, and pop album of the year for stellar LP Fabriquer l’aube. He has released a music video for “Lili” which appears to be the most popular track off the album. We have embedded the MV below which features some youthful busking on keys, the humiliation of getting picked last for soccer, and some heartbreak. Vince is doing quite well. His 2009 album Le monde tourne fort has received platinum certification from Music Canada. iTunes
Andee is following up her Top 40 debut single “Never Gone” with “Sorries” which has been sent to radio. She has shot a video of the song with acoustic guitar (Frankie Whyte) and voice only. This stripped down version uncovers the magnitude of her vocal talent which has us shuddering in awe and covered with goose bumps. After watching this, we are not at all surprised at her being scooped up by Universal Music, nor at some calling her Canada’s answer to Adele. Andee is currently on tour with Demi Lovato. Her debut album is expected out in early 2015 and is being worked on by a team of professionals including Simple Plan’s Sébastien Lefebvre. “Sorries” will be available on iTunes soon. In the meantime, enjoy the video.
No 2014 album has attained platinum sales in the United States so far this year, and the only past album to reach the marker was last year’s various artists soundtrack, Frozen. In contrast, Canada has certified four 2014 albums platinum: Serge Fiori, Pharrell Williams’ Girl, Ed Sheeran’s X, and Coldplay’s Ghost Stories. The United Kingdom has a few including Ed Sheeran’s X (2x platinum) and Sam Smith’s In the Lonely Hour. Both X and Ghost Stories have been certified platinum in Australia. Unlike a number of other countries, The U.S. has not redefined certifications in light of the digital “download the tracks you want” era.
In order to count as an album sale, the entire album must be purchased either digitally, on CD, or other formats. In early 2008, Music Canada lowered platinum status from 100,000 copies to 80,000. Platinum in the United States has remained at 1 million. Consider too that in order for an album to be certified platinum, more Brits need to buy it than Americans. For every 100,000 Brits, 468 need to buy an album for it to go platinum, whereas in the U.S. only 314 need to buy it. Obviously, Brits buy much more music per capita than Americans. The latest data we have (from 2009) shows that the UK ranks 3rd in the world for per capita spending on music whereas the U.S. ranks 16th. Canada’s platinum standards are lowest among the four countries in the table provided below.
|Population||Platinum Sales||Per 100,000 People