Category Archives: Mini Artist Profiles
Belly is the stage name of Palestine-born rapper Ahmed Balshe and is taken from the word rebellious. He was signed onto Ottawa-based record label Capital Prophet Records (which later relocated to Toronto and became known as CP Records). Belly’s debut album, The Revolution, released in 2007, won the JUNO award for Rap Recording of the Year and achieved Gold Certification. The best-known track from the album was “Pressure”. This was a double-album centered on humanistic themes. Disc 1 was titled “The People” and Disc 2, “The System”. Like most rappers, Belly has collaborated with singers, most notably Danny Fernandes and Josh Ramsay (Marianas Trench). He is a supportive fan of the Ottawa Senators.
Derek is a blues guitarist singer-songwriter from the largest First Nation in Canada, Six Nations of the Grand River (Ontario) which consists of Cayuga, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca and Tuscarora. After getting into music in his teens, his profile was heightened when he toured with Buffy Sainte-Marie in the late 1990s. He was offered a deal with Winnipeg’s Arbor Records and released his debut album, Music is the Medicine, in 2002. The track “Lovesick Blues” won the JUNO for Aboriginal Recording of the Year. The Dirty Looks followed, winning for him his second JUNO in 2008. Derek Miller was invited to perform alongside Eva Avila and Nikki Yanofsky during the Closing Ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. He released his third album that year, Double Trouble.
Emmalyn is the younger sister of British Columbia Filipina-Canadian R&B star Elise Estrada. When she was 17, she won a singing contest hosted by Vancouver radio station The Beat 94.5 FM and released the single “Get Down” two months later. This was nominated by the CRMA (Canadian Radio Music Awards) in the Dance / Urban / Rhythmic category. In October, she relocated to Los Angeles and teamed up with record producer Chris Stokes of label TUG (The Ultimate Group). Single “Don’t Make Me Let You Go” followed. She returned to Vancouver in 2011 to perform at several festivals and has joined Adam H’s new record label XOXO Entertainment with her sister Elise.
Born Cyril Kamar in Lebanon, K.Maro relocated to Montreal when he was 11. He is a rapper / singer-songwriter who performs in both English and French, occasionally throwing in some Arabic. K.Maro is also a producer and has his own record label, K.Pone.Inc. He started out in a successful Québec rap duo called LMDS (Les Messagers du Son) in the late 1990s. Debuting in 2002 as a soloist, he has already released several albums which have seen international success, most notably in Europe. Three of his singles have made the year-end Top 50 charts in Québec: “Femme Like You” (#8 of 2004), “Let’s Go” (#38 of 2007), and “Music” (#30 of 2010). He has collaborated with several artists including Belly and Corneille. K.Maro has opened a clothing line called Balbec, named after the town where he was born.
Simply put, Marc Hervieux, graduate of the Montréal Conservatory of Music, is now one of the most popular Canadian opera singers in the world. He has performed in such countries as Russia, Israel, the United States, Spain, France, China, and South Korea. He was invited to put on a private concert in honour of the king of Sweden. Having a natural attraction for a wide variety of musical styles, Marc has also collaborated – onstage or on CD – with several Canadian popular recording artists including Ginette Reno, Sylvain Cossette, Isabelle Boulay, and Patsy Gallant. Three of Marc’s albums have received Gold Certification in Canada: Apres Nous contains both classic and original French songs; A Napoli is dedicated to Neopolitan songs from Italy; and Le Premier Noël, an album of mostly French traditional Christmas songs. His Tenor Arias won the 2010 Felix Award for classical vocal album of the year.
Stef Lang, a Canadian of proud Eurasian heritage (German-Filipina), was born in Nanaimo BC, but grew up in Ladysmith (also on Vancouver Island). At 17, she relocated to Vancouver to pursue a career in music. She won a contest in 2006 by local radio station The Beat FM and was offered a four-song record deal with producers Mike James (Kelly Rowland) and Troy Samson (Kreesha Turner, Snoop Dogg). In the space of four years, Lang had written over 250 songs and released a couple of EPs. She was eventually signed by Nettwerk and released a digital album in 2010. Besides having an amazing voice and composing her own songs, Stef Lang learned both piano and guitar; she has all the ingredients for a credible superstar. Thus far, her best-known songs are “Mr. Immature” and “Slave 2 Love”. In 2012, she released the new single “Paper Doll” from EP Fighting Mirrors which received radio airply. She was featured on 2 tracks off Delerium’s album Music Box Opera and released her second LP Self.
Canada has had a surprising number of all-female acts over the years. Many of these were indie bands or outside of the pop/rock umbrella. There were a few, however, that enjoyed radio hits, were honoured at the JUNOS, scored gold records, and achieved some international success.
Most prefer to note the distinction between girl groups and female rock bands. Girl groups and boy groups simply sing and harmonize together with others writing their songs and playing musical instruments for them. Female rock bands, in contrast, write their own songs and play their own instruments. Canada has had examples of both over the years.
When such acts hit the mainstream, they tend to become extremely popular, so one may wonder why there weren’t more of them. We have seen that, since the early 90s, few male soloist superstars have emerged unless they did something outside of mainstream rock and roll. They have preferred, instead, to form rock bands. Canadian women, in contrast, have usually preferred to go solo. Part of the answer lies in understanding the differences in Canadian male and female culture, values, and attitudes. Rather than going into this, let’s take a look at some of the Canadian all-female acts. We will not include female duos but those groups consisting of three or more members.
Indie all-female acts include Cub, Magneta Lane, Fifth Column, Maow (sometimes called Meow), Jale, Ladies of the Canyon, The Organ, Plumtree, and Pony Up. The Be Good Tanyas, The Wailin’ Jennys, and The Good Lovelies were fairly successful folk/country bands. Below are mini-profiles of some of the better-known pop/rock groups.
This is a four-member JUNO-nominated female heavy metal group from London, ON that formed in 1996. They have, since then, released six studio albums and have had success in the United States and Britain. The band’s debut album Spit went GOLD in the United States, as their song “Brackish” became a hit in heavy metal circles. Kittie formed when two members met during an extracurricular gymnastics class. The band is still active and released its sixth studio album I’ve Failed You in August 2011.
This pop/rock band began as Tigerlily during high school in Cranbrook, BC. In 2001, Lillix was signed by Maverick Records, releasing debut album Falling Uphill two years later. Three singles were released including a cover of The Romantics’ “What I Like About You” which was featured in the Freaky Friday and 13 Going on 30 soundtracks. They received two JUNO nominations in 2004. After their second album Inside the Hollow and single “Sweet Temptation”, Maverick Records folded and two members left the band. The group reformed with added male members and is no longer an all-female group.
This short-lived pop/punk band from Vancouver enjoyed the hit single “I’m Afraid of Britney Spears” which appeared on the Dude, Where’s My Car? soundtrack. They released albums in 2002 and 2003 before disbanding. Lead vocalist Colette Trudeau is Métis. Lead guitarist Brittin Karroll has written songs with Bif Naked. The two other members of the band were Foxx Herst (bass) and Leah Emmott (drums). The band’s name comes from basketball jargon.
This was a trio of high-profile Canadian female recording artists from Atlantic Canada: Kim Stockwood, Damhnait Doyle, and Tara MacLean. The group was not as successful as the individual artists’ solo careers; however, Shaye’s song “Happy Baby” received a JUNO nomination in 2004 for Single of the Year. They released two albums before calling it quits. Doyle is now with the indie band The Heartbroken. Stockwood is still active as a soloist, releasing the album Back to the Water in March 2011. MacLean released studio album Wake in 2008.
Vocalist/guitarist Jenny MacIsaac, guitarist Jen Blackwood, bassist Claire Blake, and drummer Naomi Langworthy formed this Toronto-based pop/punk band in 1995. They toured both sides of the 49th parallel to packed houses and were interviewed by VH1. Their only album, Here We Go (Warner), came out in 2002. MuchMusic began showcasing the MV for “Who’s the Fool Now?” but it was “It’s Over” that became a #4 hit in Canada. “Summer Song” was their third single. They toured for the next two years but dropped off the map after that, sadly.
West End Girls
This was a beloved Vancouver-based early-90s teenage trio consisting of Camille Henderson (daughter of Chilliwack frontman Bill Henderson), Aimee MacKenzie, and Silvana Petrozzi. The West End is a ritzy area of downtown Vancouver. Their debut (self-titled) album was released in 1991 and spawned two Top 40 singles and two Top 10 hits: “Not Like Kissing You” (which made the year-end Top 100) and “I Want U Back” (cover of the Jackson 5 song). The album was certified GOLD and The West End Girls received a JUNO nomination for Most Promising New Group of the Year. They toured with Roxette. First Petrozzi then Henderson left the band in 1992 and were replaced by Janele Woodley and Celia-Louise Martin respectively. The new lineup released their second album We Belong Together in 1993. “R U Sexin Me” and “Pure” received JUNO nominations. As their sophomore album did not sell as well as their first, the group broke up in 1994.
Please do let us know if there are any other Canadian all-girl groups you would like us to mention.
There were a number of established artists we have not yet profiled whose popularity continued to grow in 2011. Marc Dupré was awarded the Félix for pop-rock album of the year thanks to his Entre deux mondes. Ricky J is a popular dj/rapper from Montréal. His single “Whatta Night” was certified gold in December. Pop pianist Pierre La Pointe released a new album this year called Seul au piano which peaked at #2 on the Canadian albums chart. Hamilton’s The Arkells, who won the JUNO for group of the year in 2010, released their second LP this year, Michigan Left, and it made it to #5 on the albums chart. Below, in reverse alphabetical order, are mini-profiles on some of the bigger names whose success continued to burgeon in 2011.
The popularity of this native of Sherbrooke, Québec just keeps on growing. After coming in second place at a 1996 regional talent show in his hometown, he released his debut album way back in 1999, when he was 21, but his first Félix-nominated songs came off his fourth LP, Le repère tranquille, released in 2006. Le monde tourne fort came next, in 2009, and its “En attendant le soleil” was nominated; however, at the Félix gala in October, 2011, it was “On va s’aimer encore” that won the coveted award for song of the year as well as music video of the year. In December, the album was certified platinum.
Fred is from the quaint little town of Saint Élie de Caxton, in the lake-dotted foothills of the Laurentian Mountains. As a folksinger, he tells intriguing stories and first released an album with his brother Nicolas in 2007. His first release as a soloist came in 2009 and was titled Silence. It was massively successful, going platinum. It was nominated for four Félix awards and won two including Folk Album of the Year. His second release followed in 2011. C’est un monde went gold only a month after it was released, an impressive accomplishment for a Francophone album in Canada. It was nominated for Francophone Album of the Year at the 2012 JUNOs.
If you search the net with this, you may find references to a Canadian doom metal band. The Nadja that we are talking about could not be farther away from such pursuits. She is an R&B singer (reminiscent of soul music from the 50s and 60s) from Saint-Félicien, Québec, and already has two gold albums under her belt. While studying accounting in Montréal, she sang in piano bars around the city and was soon invited to join a group. This led to a deal performing at a five-star hotel in Taiwan. She left for 3 months and ended up staying for 6 years. Her reputation grew through Asia and she performed for a number of dignitaries. In 2005, she returned home and toured throughout Canada. She attracted the attention of famous singer Mario Pelchat who signed her with his label. She released her debut self-titled album in 2009. “Hound Dog” was a hit on the adult contemporary charts and the album went gold. This year, she released two albums: Everything’s Going My Way and Christmas album Noël which was certified gold in December.
Carly Rae Jepsen
The Mission, B.C. native finished in third spot on the 5th season of television reality series Canadian Idol. She struck a deal with Fontana/Maple Music and released her debut album in 2008, Tug of War. The album spawned two top 40 gold singles: the reggae-styled “Bucket” and the title-track. She received two JUNO nominations. 604 Records in Vancouver signed her next, and she wrote the song “Call Me Maybe”. At the end of 2011, the song was picked up by mainstream radio and began climbing up the charts. In 2012, it topped the charts and became the best-selling domestic Canadian single in history. Carly was signed by Justin Bieber’s management team. The song was released internationally, topping the charts around the world and became the best-selling song of the year on iTunes. Carly’s EP Curiosity was released on Valentine’s Day 2012. Hits “Curiosity” and “Good Time” with Owl City followed. The latter topped the Billboard Hot 100 and Carly released LP, Kiss. Jepsen won 3 JUNO awards in 2013 wherein “Call Me Maybe” was named Song of the Year and Kiss Album of the Year.
This Toronto synth-pop outfit consists of singer-songwriter Martina Sorbara, drummer Joel Stouffer, and bassist Dan Kurtz. The latter was responsible for producing Feist’s first (independent) album. Feeling that Canada was not the best place to launch their careers, they relocated to electronic-dance friendly Britain to record their debut album in 2007. While there, they backed up New Order, Basement Jaxx, and the Sugarbabes. Dragonette scored its own Top 30 hit in 2009 called “Pick up the Phone”. “Hello”, on which they collaborated with France’s electronic music disc jockey and producer Martin Solveig, finished the year 2011 as the 11th biggest song of the year in Canada and received the highest certification for a digital downloadable single—double platinum. “Hello” stayed on the charts for over 40 weeks. In 2012, their biggest hit was “Let It Go” which peaked at #23 on the weekly chart and was the 73rd biggest song of the year.
Richard has been around a long time. He was born in 1948 in Rouyn, QC. In addition to his music career, he has directed several films and has also scored music for cinematic productions and documentaries. He debuted musically in 1981 in conjunction with the group Abbittibbi. His albums have sold well, 1990′s Tu m’aimes-tu being his first platinum-certified disc. 1998′s Boom Boom went gold. And, in 2011, his L’existoire was a gold album. Desjardins is an environmental activist especially in terms of speaking out against overactive deforestation.
Coeur de Pirate
One of the Francophone performers to make some inroads into English Canada is Béatrice Martin who operates under the stage name Cœur de Pirate. She has been playing piano since she was 3. Her (self-titled) debut came out in 2009, was certified platinum, and was nominated for Francophone Album of the Year at the JUNOs. As she became a big name in Europe, she won the Félix for Québec artist having the most success outside the province. Her second album, Blonde, was released in 2011, debuting at #5 on the albums chart. Her work was acknowledged by the CBC’s Q radio show who named it as the 12th best album of 2011, a notch ahead of Adele’s 21. It was nominated for Francophone Album of the Year at the 2012 JUNOs.
City and Colour
City and Colour is not a band but an individual from St. Catharines, ON named Dallas Green, Dallas being a city and Green being a colour. He was previously the lead singer of the band Alexisonfire and now plays a style of melodic indie rock. His released his first album, Sometimes, under his moniker in 2005. Both it and his second album were certified platinum. In 2011, Little Hell, was his third and went platinum in early 2012. He has not yet fared as well in the singles department; however, his song “Waiting” peaked at #32 on the weekly singles chart in early 2008.
George is one of the more popular Canadian country artists. He grew up in Nova Scotia but relocated to High River, Alberta. He held many interesting jobs to support his dream of becoming a professional singer. He worked as a law enforcement officer and a slaughterhouse beef inspector. Ironwolf was his first album, released in 1996. 2004′s One Good Friend, his third, secured his breakthrough, going gold and winning Country Recording of the Year at the JUNOs. His followup release, Somebody Wrote Love, reaped the same award. His second gold album came out in 2011, Better Be Home Soon.
Feist was born in Amherst, Nova Scotia but the family relocated to Regina and then Calgary. In 1991, while a teenager, she formed a punk band in Calgary. She experienced vocal cord problems in 1995 and relocated to Toronto a year later where she worked with various local indie artists. She recorded her own album on an independent label which was produced by Dan Kurtz who later created Dragonette. In 2001, with friends, she formed popular indie band Broken Social Scene. She released the acclaimed album Let It Die in 2004 and her cover of the Bee Gees “Inside and Out” was popular. She won the JUNO for Best New Artist in 2005. A remix album, Open Season, came the following year. Her big breakthrough was in 2007 when she released double-platinum The Reminder. It won the JUNO for album of the year, track “1234″ song of the year, and Feist, herself, artist of the year. In all, she has won 8 JUNO awards. “1234” was the 35th most popular song of 2008. Feist released the album Metals in 2011.
Rocker Marie-Mai (Bouchard) was a finalist during the first season (2003) of Star Académie, somewhat of a French version of Canadian Idol. She grew up learning piano and developed a love and a talent for singing. Her grandmother mentored her and was the one who encouraged her to audition for the reality TV show. She released her gold debut album in 2004. She became noticed in Europe opening for Garou. Marie-Mai’s popular standing was sealed with the release of her second (gold) album, Dangereuse attraction, which won the Félix for rock album of the year. “Mentir” was nominated for the Félix song of the year, and she performed “Emmène-Moi” at the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. She released her 3rd album, Version 3.0, in 2009. It was certified platinum and won her 2nd rock album of the year award. Both “C’est Moi” and “Comme Avant” (co-written by Rob Wells) were nominated for Félix awards. Marie-Mai won the Félix female artist of the year award in both 2010 and 2011. She recorded the song “Kill the Lights” with David Usher (Moist) and provided vocals for the French version of Simple Plan’s “Jet Lag”. In 2012, she had the biggest Francophone song of the year, “Sans cri ni haine”, a French-language cover of Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend”. It won the Song of the Year Felix. She released album Miroir which was quickly certified gold.
This Vancouver hard rock band has enjoyed three songs in the year-end Top 100 singles charts: “Best I Ever Had” (#87, 2008), “Money Honey” (#67, 2008), and “Too Pretty” (#100, 2009)—all from their second (gold) album Life, Love, and Lies. State of Shock is special in that it is a gender-combo band, including both male and female members. They released their debut album in 2004 but shot to stardom with their second release. Their lead singer is Cameron Melnyk, originally from Edmonton and of Ukrainian descent. They have toured with Nickelback and Puddle of Mud. State of Shock released its third album, Rock ‘n’ Roll Romance, in 2011.
This band is from Mission, B.C. and has been more successful in the singles than the albums department. Like State of Shock, they have enjoyed three songs in the year-end Top 100 charts: “When I’m with You” (#83, 2008), “G-Get Up and Dance” (#48, 2009), and “Give Him Up” (#84, 2010). “Tongue Tied” was a hit in 2007. The band is named after lead singer Dave Faber and has gone through several line-up changes, the only other consistent member being Jeremy “Krikit” Liddle. They shifted from standard pop rock fare to a more synth-rock sound on their second album.
Toronto’s Aubrey Drake Graham is a Canadian rap artist. He became known as an actor first, however, playing the character Jimmy Brooks on the television series Degrassi: The Next Generation. His recording career was launched when he was signed by American rapper Lil Wayne’s company. He released an EP first (in 2009) and his debut (platinum) album, Thank Me Later, was released the following year. Drake often collaborates with other artists in his recorded singles. “Headlines” is his only gold-certified single. “Best I Ever Had” made the year-end Top 100 in 2009; “Find Your Love” and “Over” did in 2010, when he won two JUNO awards, including one for best new artist. In 2011, he recorded hits with Barbados’ Rihanna and Trinidadian-American Nicki Minaj. That year he released his second full-length studio album, Take Care, with contributions by Chantal Kreviazuk, among others. Drake’s father is African American and his mother is Jewish Canadian.
Edmonton is not known for churning out popular rock bands. But all that changed with the advent of The Stereos who have a gold album under their belt and have managed three year-end Top 100 singles: “Summer Girl” (#35, 2009), “Throw Ya Hands Up” (#85, 2009), and “Turn It Up” (#80, 2010). The first two were double-platinum digital downloads and the latter platinum. The Stereos are led by Pat Kordyback. They formed in 2008 under the moniker Stand By Me, changed it to Turn It Up, and finally settled on The Stereos. They rose to prominence by performing on MuchMusic show disBAND and were judged by Gene Simmons of Kiss. Universal Music Canada signed them immediately. After their gold debut album in 2009, they released a second album the following year.
LIGHTS is a female recording artist and synthesizer virtuoso. She was born in Timmins, Ontario but moved around during her childhood, living in Jamaica, The Philippines, and Vancouver, before settling in Toronto in her teens. In 2006, she got a job with Sony/ATV Music Publishing and composed music for television. Her talents led to a record deal with Sire / Warner Music and her song “Drive My Soul” became a Top 20 hit and the 70th biggest song of the year 2008. Before she even released her debut album, she received the JUNO award for best new artist. The Listening came out in 2009 and was certified gold. Her second album, Siberia, came out in 2011 and was certified gold in 2012. A departure from her more poppy-sounding debut, Siberia showcased a more creative electronic rock sound and drew critical acclaim.
Of French and Trinidadian ancestry, multi-talented Charles was born in 1968 in Montreal. At 7, he won the national Canadian piano contest and performed with many of the country’s symphonies. He studied law but landed a role in the TV series “Chambres en ville”. This led to his hosting a daily radio show, a television game show, a chat show, and he made several appearances in “Just for Laughs”. He toured with Celine Dion in 1998, providing backing vocals and piano work. He launched a variety show in the new millennium and finally his first studio album in 2006, I Think of You. It was certified triple platinum and he was nominated for three Juno awards. The French album Loin de la lumière followed in 2008 for which he won the Felix for male artist of the year.
Born in 1985 this singer-songwriter and model from Scarborough has English, French, Aboriginal, and Jamaican ancestry. Her debut self-titled album, released in 2003, went platinum and she received two Juno nominations. The album spawned two Top 10 hits: “Bye Bye Boyfriend” (#8) and “Don’t Go (Girls & Boys)” (#9). She ran into record company problems and her second album was never released. After many delays and changes, her third album Joy came out in 2010 resulting in three Top 20 hits. “Ghost” was the 47th biggest song of 2010. And, in 2011, “Can’t Breathe” was 76th of the year while “Stutterin’” was 45th. Fefe is known for her music videos which have won three MuchMusic awards for her.
Forming way back in 1989 as the Rainbow Butt Monkeys, they released their first album in 1995. It and its two hard rock follow ups made little impact. But in 2004, the band scored the international acoustic guitar hit “One Thing”, the 66th biggest song of the year in the U.S. In 2007, their song “Paralyzer” did even better scaling up the domestic charts to #3 and was the 64th most popular song in 2008. “I’ll Keep Your Memory Vague” also made the year-end chart (#53). Two of the band’s albums have gone platinum, including 2007′s Them Vs. You Vs. Me which won the Juno for best rock album. The band has received 8 Juno nominations to date.
This sextet (five men and one woman) folk outfit formed in 1996 and released its debut album in 2000. Like Les Cowboys Fringants, their style is dubbed as neo-traditional. The band’s third 2004 album, En Famille, went double-Platinum, a difficult feat for a French release. They have also scored two platinum albums. At the 2007 Felix gala, the band’s song “Dégénérations” was named song of the year. “Le déni de l’évidence” was nominated two years later. Mes Aieux was declared Group of the Year thrice in Quebec.
This is a heavy metal quartet, formerly known as Pezz, led by vocalist Ben Kowalewicz. They formed in Mississauga and recorded a self-titled album in Vancouver in 2003 which sold over 300,000 copies domestically. Their first Top 10 hit came in 2009—”Rusted from the Rain” which was the 61st biggest song of the year. Billy Talent has been nominated for a whopping 17 Junos, winning 7 of them including Group of the Year twice and album of the year in 2005.
Shawn is an R&B singer from Vaughan, Ontario (just north of Toronto) and, like Nelly Furtado, is of Portuguese descent. Generally speaking, he has done better in the singles than the albums department in terms of sales. His only album to achieve gold certification was his debut, self-titled release in 2002. 2005′s Back for More won a Juno for R&B/Soul recording of the year. “Don’t Wanna Lose You” was his first hit single (#19). “Get Ready” topped the charts with “Shook” (gold) peaking at #3. His album Fresh, released in 2010, spawned three hit singles, all of which made the year-end charts. In 2010, “Shiver” was 78th and “Night Like This” was 86th. And in 2011, ”Electric“, a platinum download, was 59th of the year. In 2012, “Nobody Does It Like You” peaked at #18 on the Canadian Hot 100.
Thibert of Montreal has achieved remarkable success in a very short time. She was runner-up in the first season of Quebec television reality series Star Académie (somewhat of a French version of Canadian Idol). Her debut, self-titled album, released in 2004, went triple platinum in Canada, a striking achievement for a Francophone album. It won the Juno award for Francophone Album of the Year. What’s more, her single “Toi l’inoubliable” was certified 6x platinum, making it the 2nd best-selling single of the decade (after Kalan Porter’s “Awake in a Dream”). She has released two albums since then, both of which have gone platinum.
Mike Ayley, Ian Casselman, Josh Ramsay, and Matt Webb formed the band in Vancouver and eventually landed a deal with Chad Kroeger’s (Nickelback) local record label, 604 Records. Their debut album appeared in 2006 and spawned a couple of hit singles: “Say Anything” peaked at #3 on the charts and “Shake Tramp” was certified gold. Followup album Masterpiece Theatre was a platinum release in 2009 and, in all, four tracks made the year-end Top 100 singles chart in 2009 and 2010; the highest charting was ”Cross My Heart” (43rd of 2009). In 2011, they released a new platinum single “Haven’t Had Enough” (81st of the year) and their third studio album, Ever After. “Fallout” and “Desperate Measures” both made the year-end Hot 100 of 2012.
Blues-rocker Boucher has released three studio albums, including his platinum- certified debut Dix Mille Matins. His song “La désise” was declared the song of the year at the Felix awards gala in 2001. Other hits of his include “Chez nous” and “Le vent soufflait mes pellicules”. Daniel studied civil engineering in Montreal before switching to a career in music after success in multiple singing contests.
Les Cowboys Fringants
Although not achieving huge album sales, the band from the Montreal suburbs, has achieved tremendous critical reception and attracted large underground cult followings in Europe. Six of their songs have garnered Felix song of the year nominations, one of which, “Les Étoiles filantes“, won the award at the gala in 2005. The other nominees were “Toune d’automne”, “Mon chum Rémi”, “Plus rien”, “8 secondes”, and “La tête haute”. They were named Best Group two years in a row. Their album Break Syndical received a Juno nomination. They are best-known for performing modernized Quebec folk music with a rock flavour, known as the néo-trad movement.
The powerful Francophone singer from New Brunswick has released seven studio albums. De L’amour le mieux was nominated for a Juno. Her exquisite piece “Je n’ai que mon âme“, which she performed at the Eurovision contest, was named song of the year at the Felix gala in 2002. She also delivered the Felix-nominated “Laisser l’été avoir 15 ans” with Claude Dubois. St Pier has, unlike many French Canadian singers, become popular in francophone Europe, as well as in Poland and Russia.
They never scored any big hit singles until 2011′s “Baby, You Don’t Wanna Know” (#10) but the punk rock band from Ajax, Ontario has sold many records, their most successful being their triple-platinum debut All Killer, No Filler, released in 2001. “Fat Lip” from the album topped the Billboard so-called “Modern Rock Tracks” charts. The band is led by Deryck Whibley who enjoyed a marriage to Avril Lavigne. The band has received nine Juno nominations, one of which it won: Group of the Year in 2003.
The brand of music performed by this Windsor, Ontario band was labelled “Moroccan roll” by the media. Before disbanding in 2005, the group released eight studio albums, three of which were certified double-platinum. Eight of their singles made the Top 40, the most successful of which were “Lullaby” and “Soulbreaking” both reaching #3 in 2001. “Heaven Coming Down“, however, remains the band’s signature song. Led by Jeff Martin, the band achieved an amazing 13 Juno nominations, winning none.
Led by vocalist Daniel “Boom” Desjardins, La Chicane, originally from Val-d’Or, QC, received a couple of Juno nominations for Group of the Year and won the Juno for best-selling Francophone album in 2000 for their debut album En catimini, released in 1998. The band had three Felix-nominated songs over the years: “Calvaire”, “Tu m’manques”, and “Viens donc m’voir”.
The Italian-Canadian was born in 1977 and began composing songs in English and Italian when he was 12. After winning a singing contest, he obtained a recording contract and released his (French language) debut in 1999 while studying child psychology at university in Montreal. Four singles from the album topped the charts in Quebec. “J’t'aime tout court” was named song of the year by the Felix awards. “Chanson pour Marie” and “Le menteur” were also very popular.
The Halifax native, not to be confused with Britain’s Cheryl and the United States’ Natalie, is considered a jazz artist but has performed songs in the arena of country, rock, and other genres. She relocated to Toronto and launched her music career in 1989 as the Holly Cole Trio. They performed covers of songs from Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, and Lyle Lovett. In the mid-90s “Trio” was dropped from the name and she began moving into pop until the new millennium when she returned to her jazz roots. “I’ve just seen a face” was her best-known song.
The Newfoundland folk-rock band managed two platinum and two multi-platinum albums. Although specialists at converting traditional songs and sea shanties from the region to rock pieces, they have also composed original material. Their most famous songs were “When I’m Up (I Can’t Get Down)”, “Ordinary Day”, “End of the World”, and “Consequence Free”.
The four brothers (Scott, Clint, Bob, and Dave) grew up in British Columbia (Tumbler Ridge and Victoria) and started out performing country at various festivals. They relocated to the United States becoming regulars on Nashville Now with Ralph Emery. Later, they joined a show in Las Vegas. Finally, in 1994, they released their first album; their father served as their manager, as they were a teen performing act. But they quickly switched to pop and rock as a boy band and were more successful doing so. Their third and fourth albums released in 1998 and 2000, were both certified platinum and they enjoyed seven Top 30 hits including “I’ll Be There for You” (#5) and the chart-topper “Bang Bang Boom”.
Born in 1964, Mario had been churning out albums since 1982. In the 90s, his album Pelchat was certified double-platinum. In 1999, his song “Je ne t’aime plus” was named song of the year at the Felix gala. “Tant de mots” and “Aimer” received nominations in the new millennium. He is also known as a music producer.
Born in 1962 in the Quebec City suburb of Charlesboug, he performed in English bands before starting his own French group. He relocated to Montreal and performed in bars before joining some musicals. Bruno’s debut album came out in 1992 and appeared in Luc Plamondon musicals La Legende de Jimmy (about James Dean), Starmania, and Notre Dame de Paris. His third album sold 200,000 copies and he began winning Felix awards. “Le temps des cathédrales” was named song of the year in 1999.
Three songs of the metro Toronto band made the year-end charts in the late-90s: “I am the Man”, “Hurts to Love You”, and “Cry”. The group’s name comes from Plato’s Republic. They all met while students at Thornhill Secondary School, Gerald Eaton becoming their lead singer.
This was the duo James Renald and Antoine Sicotte from Montreal. They met while studying music engineering in 1992. In the new millennium, Anastasia replaced Renald. The group enjoyed three chart-toppers: “Love Song”, “Superhero”, and “You”.
Sylvain was born in 1963 in Grand-Mère, Québec. He started out musically by joining the English-language band Paradox in the 80s. In 1994, he embarked on a solo career. A couple of his albums went Platinum and he enjoyed many hit singles in Quebec. Felix-nominated songs of his were: “Tu reviendras”, “Que je t’aime”, “Dans tes yeux”, and “Pas besoin de frapper”. In recent years he released a series of albums called 70s in which he covers classic English songs, like “Takin’ Care of Business”, “Let It Be”, and “Message in a Bottle”.
This Toronto band formed in 1985 and released their debut the following year. The primary line-up consisted of the three Timmins siblings Margo (vocals), Michael (guitar), and Peter (drums), as well as Alan Anton (bass). Their first notable hit didn’t come until 1989; “Misguided Angel” peaked at #24 on the national RPM charts. Their biggest hits were “Anniversary Song”, “A Common Disaster”, and “Angel Mine” which all appeared in the mid-90s. Michael was their principal songwriter. The Timmins siblings are the great grandchildren of mining prospector Noah Timmins who founded the city of Timmins, Ontario.
The hard rock quintet from Vancouver released only three albums. Their 1994 debut, Silver, went 4x Platinum thanks to the title-track and “Push”. Their second effort, Creature, spawned hits “Leave It Alone” and “Resurrection”. Moist was led by David Usher, the other members being Kevin Young (keyboards), Mark Makoway (guitars), Jeff Pearce (bass), and Paul Wilcox (drums). Usher has released several albums as a soloist.
A 90s power pop quartet from Vancouver, Steven Drake, Doug Elliot, Craig Northey, and Pat Steward (who replaced earlier member Paul Brennan) relocated to Los Angeles, U.S. as they felt their career was going nowhere. There, they were adopted by Warren Zevon as his band. This led to a record deal with BMG. Their biggest hits came with their third and fourth albums (1995-97): “Truth Untold”, “Someone Who’s Cool”, and “Make You Mad”.
Kim, born in St. John’s in 1965, moved to Toronto in 1993 to launch her music career. She secured a recording contract quickly, with EMI and released her first album Bonavista in 1995. Three songs made the year-end charts: “She’s Not in Love”, “Jerk”, and “You Won’t Remember This”. She followed up with 12 Years Old, the title-track of which was her biggest hit, appearing on the year-end chart for 1999 at #33. While the normal course is for rock groups to disband and members embark on a solo career, Stockwood did the opposite. In the new millennium, she left her solo career to form all-female band Shaye with Tara MacLean and Damhnait Doyle.
Luce was born a year after Stockwood in Orleans, Ontario. She began her singing career with a performance in a mall at fifteen. She joined a rhythm and blues band in Montreal. In 1992, Luc Plamondon offered her a role in “The Legend of Jimmy” musical. This was followed by her appearance in 1993′s “Starmania”. Her debut album appeared in 1996. She has since come out with several albums over the years. “Soirs de scotch”, “Quand on s’en va pour oublier”, “Belle ancolie”, and “Tu me fais du bien” were all Felix-nominated songs.
Membership of this Halifax-formed, Toronto-based group has remained unchanged and all members have participated in both its song-writing and singing. Sloan is Jay Ferguson, Patrick Pentland, Chris Murphy, and Andrew Scott. The band formed in 1991 and released their debut album the following year. Their breakthrough came with the third album One Chord to Another in 1996. Sloan’s biggest hits were “Everything You’ve Done Wrong”, “The Good in Everyone”, and “Money City Manics”.
Born in 1961 in Sainte-Foy, QC, Jean grew up in Algeria and Togo and was influenced by African percussion. He returned to Quebec in 1976. His first album came out in 1989 followed by a second in 1990. But his breakthrough came with his third release, Le Dôme, in 1996 . Felix-nominated songs of his were “I Lost My Baby”, “La vie est laide”, “Je joue de la guitar”, “Balade à Toronto”, “Les Corneilles”, and “La plus belle fille de la prison”.
Born in 1959, Sainte-Foy, QC, she joined a number of bands in the 80s: Accident, Blood et Marie, and Radio Rats. Claude Dubois used her as a backing vocalist, as did The Box. Luc Plamondon selected her to play in a renewal of “Starmania”. This led to her releasing a debut solo album in 1988. Her first Felix-nominated song, “Faut pas que j’panique”, came at the turn of the decade. She released four more studio albums in the 90s spawning such hits as “Entre l’ombre et la lumière” and “J’ai l’blues de vous” garnering for her the Felix Female Artist of the year award in both 1992 and 1993. In the new millennium, she retired from the entertainment business to undertake humanitarian pursuits in Peru.
Born the same year as Marie, in Rivière-au-Renard, QC, she started out in the band Volt in the mid-80s which won a radio competition. But the band released only one single (“Nobody Knows”) before splitting up. Laurence subsequently embarked on a solo career, releasing her debut (self-titled) album in 1990. With the help of hit singles “Au nom de la raison”, “Tomber” and “À toi”, the album was certified Platinum in Canada. Her follow up, Corridors, came in 1993 and was even more successful than its predecessor. It won the Felix for Pop / Rock album of the year and the track “Encore et encore” was named song of the year. “Bella” was also a big hit. Avant le Squall and hit “Pour toi” came next, followed by a live album, Communio, with Dan Bigras in 2000. She released a few more albums in the new millennium
Colin was born in Regina in 1964. He began learning the guitar at 8 and playing around the province with folk band Sod Hut and Buffalo Chips when he was only 13. He quit high school after Grade 10 to play with punk band Nick Danger and the Close Calls. He then formed blues-rock outfit Hoodoo Men and moved to Winnipeg. At age 20, he settled in Vancouver and was able to open for John Lee Hooker and George Thorogood. He became noticed when he toured the U.S. with Stevie Ray Vaughan in the 1985. Acting on advice from Vaughan, he started his own backing band and made his first (self-titled) album in 1988 which spawned the hit “Voodoo Thing”. 1990 was a big year for him. It saw his biggest hit “Just Came Back” which sounds similar to Platinum Blonde’s “Contact”. The song won the Juno for Song of the Year and he for Male Artist of the Year. He also won the latter Juno in 1996 when he scored another big hit—”Saviour”.
Julie Masse was born in 1970, in Greenfield Park, QC (near Montreal). Her debut (self-titled) album was certified double-Platinum in Canada and was also a hit in France. It spawned the hit singles “C’est Zéro“, “Billy”, “Sans t’oublier” and “Prends bien garde”. The latter two were nominated for Felix song of the year awards. She won the Felix for Female artist of the year in 1991. The hit “Comme on l’a choisi” and album À Contre Jour followed in 1992. She won the Juno award for Best New Female Artist in 1993. Encouraged by this, she released her first English album, Circle of One, the following year in which she collaborated with Corey Hart. Later, she added vocals to Hart’s albums and married him. They now have four children together and live in the Bahamas.
The Pikes formed in Saskatoon in 1984. Primary members were Bryan Potvin, Jay Semko, Merl Bryck and Don Schmid. They managed six Top 40 singles, including two top 10s which both appeared in 1990—”She Ain’t Pretty” and “Girl with a Problem”—off their third, Snow in June, album. The band was nominated for five Juno Awards but never saw a win. After two more studio albums they disbanded in 1993.
Born in Brandon, Manitoba, she pursued art school in Ontario in her twenties. Worried she’d become a starving artist, she assembled a musical trio and relocated to Vancouver. From there she joined the rock band Foreign Legion playing electric guitar. She teamed up with John Dexter and co-wrote the song “Heaven in Your Eyes” for Loverboy which was included in the soundtrack for the film Top Gun. But it was her providing backing vocals for Barney Bentall that resulted in a recording contract with CBS. She released her first album, Oceanview Motel, in 1990 which produced three Top 30 hits, the most successful of which was “I’ll Watch Over You” (#16). Moore’s second album, Bohemia, was a bigger hit. Two of its tracks, “Because of Love” and “Coat of Shame” made the year-end Top 100 chart. Her third album, Dragonfly, released in 1995, also made two contributions to the year-end singles chart: “Watermark” and “Genuine“. The latter was her biggest hit, peaking at #6 on the weekly singles chart. For unknown reasons, despite her growing popularity, CBS dropped her from their label. With the assistance of Jann Arden, she released a couple more albums but was unable to replicate her previous success.
Barney Bentall (and the Legendary Hearts)
Bentall, born in Toronto, formed a Vancouver-based band naming themselves after a Lou Reed album. From 1979-80, they released three EPs that made little impact. They switched from A&M to Epic/CBS and with the assistance of Bob Rock recorded their first full-length (self-titled) album in 1987. A music video for “Something to Live For” was aired on MuchMusic helping the song become their first hit (#17); the album reached Platinum status. They did even better in the 90s. Two songs made the year-end Top 100 charts: “Crime Against Love” (1990) and “I’m Shattered” (1995). They released their last album in 1997.
The Grapes of Wrath
This Kelowna, BC band formed in 1983 releasing an EP on Vancouver’s Nettwerk label the following year. Despite obvious talent, Canadian radio did little to promote the band. Tom Cochrane produced their 1987 album Treehouse whose “Peace of Mind” was a minor hit. Adding a keyboardist, their follow up album secured their breakthrough. “All the Things I Wasn’t” broke into the Top 20 and was nominated for a Song of the Year Juno. Like Bentall, two of their songs were huge hits the early 90s: “I Am Here”, the 49th biggest song of 1991 and “You May Be Right“, a Top 10 hit in 1992. The moment they began earning lots of money, their name suddenly became tied up in litigation, so they changed it to Ginger with a couple of hits that scratched the Top 30 in 1996/97.
The Jeff Healey Band
Jeff was an adopted, Toronto-born, blind blues-rock singer and guitarist. He lost his sight due to a rare cancer of the eyes called retinoblastoma. He began playing the guitar at three with the unique style of holding it flat on his lap. He formed the band Blue Direction when he was 17 and hosted a radio jazz and blues show. The Jeff Healey Band was formed after he was introduced to a bassist and a drummer. They began playing nightly in local clubs around Toronto. He was discovered by Stevie Ray Vaughan during a performance at Albert’s Hall and signed to Arista Records in 1988. “Angel Eyes” off the album See the Light made the Year-End Top 100 and peaked at #5 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. While being nominated for an American Grammy award for the album, the band was working on the soundtrack to the Patrick Swayze film Road House. Three Jeff Healey songs made the Year-End Top 100 in the early 90s: “I Think I Love You Too Much” (1990), “How Long Can Man Be Strong” (1991), and “Lost In Your Eyes” (1993). Healey died of lung cancer in 2008.
Sarah was born in Birmingham, England but grew up in Montreal. She joined a couple of bands including The Pinups as lead singer and bassist. She wanted to name herself Flash Jordan but the name was already taken and under copyright. She wrote material for various Quebec artists, sang backing vocals for The Box, and served as a local video jockey. Her first album, Tell Somebody, came out in 1988, spawning the hits “Tell Somebody” (#11) and “Double Trouble” (#12). The album attained Platinum sales. Her second album, 1992′s Racine, included four hit singles, all easily making the Top 20. Her biggest success came with her third album, Rats. Two songs made the Top 10 and finished in the Top 100 Year-End charts of 1994: “High Road Easy” and “Sun’s Gonna Rise”. In the new millennium, Sass was one of the judges on the hit TV series “Canadian Idol”.
Kathryn Dawn Lang was born in the tiny town (less than 1,000 people) of Consort, Alberta in 1961. She smoked up the country charts with “I’m Down to My Last Cigarette” before topping them with “Full Moon Full of Love”. She rounded out the 80s with three more country hits and then crossed over to pop in 1992 with the Top 10 hit “Constant Craving“. Although it peaked at only #38 on the Billbaord Hot 100, it won for her the American Grammy award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. From there she proceeded to the adult contemporary arena with the hits “If I Were You” in 1995 and “Summerfling” in 2000. k.d. received a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2008. She performed her rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver and the song brought her back onto the pop charts, peaking at #2.
We focus mainly on artists in the pop / rock category on the site, unless they’re big-sellers. And adult contemporary / country / folk singer Rita MacNeil was a very big seller with five multi-platinum and three platinum albums. She was born in Big Pond, Nova Scotia in 1944. She first appeared on stage in 1971, recording her first album four years later. Prior to her breakthrough she performed at many folk festivals. In 1987, MacNeil released the album Flying on Your Own which became double-platinum with a couple of hits on the Adult Contemporary charts. Her subsequent four albums matched or surpassed sales, the biggest being Now the Bells Ring, 3x Platinum. Her 1990 song “Working Man” was a hit in Britain (#11). She hosted the Gemini award winning TV variety show “Rita and Friends” from 1994-97 and runs a tea room in Big Pond which attracts many tourists. Canadian playwright Charlie Rhindress wrote a play on her life called “Flying on Her Own”, which was performed around the Maritimes and features many of her songs.
Born as Mitsou Annie Marie Gélinas in 1970, Loretteville, QC, her name means honey in Japanese. As a child she began acting and modelling, taking an interest in singing during her teens. In 1988, she secured a recording contract, releasing El Mundo. “La Corrida“, “Les Chinois”, and “Bye Bye Mon Cowboy” were huge hits in Quebec. The latter became a radio hit across Canada, a rare phenomenon for a Francophone song. Her sophomore album, Terre des Hommes, saw her collaborating with Men Without Hats’ Ivan Doroschuk. Her music video for the song “Dis-Moi, Dis-Moi” contained a nude scene and was banned on MuchMusic. Mitsou lashed back asking the question why violence was okay but nudity not? The fact that Madonna’s video for “Justify My Love” was banned at the same time sparked a national debate. MuchMusic responded by creating a new late-night series “Too Much 4 Much” which showcased such videos. The controversy worked in Mitsou’s favour as the song was played on radio stations across Canada. Mitsou released an English-language album and singles that were generally ignored by English radio stations in Canada (“Deep Kiss” was perhaps the most successful).
The Box was a new wave band formed in Montreal in 1981 by Jean-Marc Pisapia, an early member of Men Without Hats. They scored seven Top 40 singles, the biggest being “Carry On” in March 1990 which peaked at #12. Like Men Without Hats they were able to incorporate some French into their songs and still get airplay on highly discriminatory English radio stations outside Quebec. After four albums they called it quits in 1992.
Janz was born in Alberta and grew up in Switzerland before settling in North Vancouver. He was raised in a Mennonite family and became a theologian. Seven of his driving melodic rhythms became Top 40 hit singles, the most notable of which was “Every Little Tear” which peaked at #5 in 1990.
Luba was perhaps the most successful female singer in the male-dominated 80s, at least in terms of hit singles. While most successful Anglophone women had been in folk, country, and adult contemporary (Anne Murray, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Joni Mitchell, etc.), Luba deserves credit as the first successful woman in pop. This success helped open the door to the appearance of the first female superstar (Alannah Myles) in 1989 and the many women who followed. It is no surprise, given the success of female artists from Quebec, that Luba arose from Montreal.
Luba landed nine Top 40 hits, her biggest (#6) being a cover of Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman”. Her most successful original song was 1990′s “Giving Away a Miracle” which peaked at #9. That year she went on hiatus from the music industry to dedicate more time to family. She returned 10 years later with “Is She a Lot Like Me”, a Top 30 hit.
A rock band from Prince Edward Island? You gotta be kidding! No, we’re not! Debuting in 1985, these rockers chalked up a hat trick of platinum albums and five Top 40 hits despite ill treatment from their record company, Attic Records, who constantly made unrealistic demands and did little to promote the band. Haywire’s biggest hit was “Dance Desire” which peaked at #10 and made the year-end Top 100. It also won the Best Song Award at the World Popular Song Festival in Japan.
A more progressive and sophisticated sound animated the work of Honeymoon Suite unlike their more poppy contemporaries Glass Tiger and Platinum Blonde. Like the latter, they managed five Top 40 singles, the most successful of which was 1988′s “Love Changes Everything” (#9). Their albums sold well, attaining Platinum Status and they won the Juno Award for Group of the Year in 1986. The band named itself after their hometown of Niagara Falls, the honeymoon capital of the world.
The Sarnia native departed from the album-oriented band Max Webster in 1981 to pursue a solo career. His Shakin’ Like a Human Being won the Album of the Year Juno in 1987 and he won the Best Male Artist Juno in 1990. Mitchell’s 1985 song “Go for Soda” was featured in an episode of TV Series “Miami Vice”. Three of his songs made the year-end Top 100 RPM charts, the most successful being 1989′s “Rock and Roll Duty“, 43rd of the year.
Patrick had been active since the 60s. His bilingual disco song “Let’s Try Once Again” in 1977 sold 100,000 units. But his switch from RCA to the Star label in 1984 proved to be a good move. His Quand on est en amour album sold a quarter million copies thanks mostly to its title-track, a huge hit in Quebec. Norman won the Felix Award for Male as well as Album Artist of the Year in 1987.
Platinum Blonde scored a #1 hit in 1985 which became the 5th biggest song of the year: “Crying Over You“. “Situation Critical” (#8) ensured they were not a one-hit wonder group and that their album Alien Shores went multi-platinum. They managed three further Top 40 hits. These guys were a British-Canadian hybrid band based in Toronto, known for their glam-like appearance, big blonde hairdos, and pastel outfits. Later on they renamed themselves The Blondes and had a minor hit in 1990 before calling it quits.
Martha and the Muffins formed in Toronto in 1977 and recorded their first album in 1980 which spawned the chart-topping, Juno-winning new wave classic “Echo Beach“, which broke into the Top 10 in Britain and was shunned in the U.S. The band’s longer name was shorted a few years later to simply M+M and they enjoyed three more Top 30 hits in Canada: “Women Around the World at Work” (1981), “Black Stations / White Stations” (1984), and “Song in My Head” (1986). At the core of the band was song-writing duo Martha Johnson and Mark Gane. The band deserves credit in giving rise to the “Queen Street West” scene that later produced The Parachute Club, Blue Rodeo, and the Cowboy Junkies.
Following in M+M’s footsteps was another new wave Toronto outfit—The Parachute Club who debuted in 1982 with Juno Award winning Top 10 hit “Rise Up“. The group’s founding members were lead singer Lorraine Segato and percussionist Billy Bryans who specialized in Caribbean rhythms. Its songs centered on sexual politics. “At the Feet of the Moon” was the band’s second major hit, followed by the more poppy “Love is Fire” featuring guest vocalist John Oates of Hall & Oates. After only three albums, the group disbanded.
Martine is both a singer and a lyricist, performing cover songs of Gino Vannelli and Jean-Pierre Ferland when she was 15. Luc Plamondon offered her the role of Crystal in the rock opera Starmania in Montréal in 1980, and she won a Félix Award for discovery of the year in 1981. Martine released her debut album the following year. Her sophomore effort, Il y a de l’amour dans l’air, was nominated at the Félix Awards for pop album of the year in 1985 and three of its songs were nominated for song of the year.
Her third LP in 1986, Ce soir l’amour est dans tes yeux, sold over 100,000 copies, and St-Clair won Félix awards for pop song, best-selling single, pop LP and female performer of the year. The English-dominated Juno Awards could not resist giving her work nods in with nominations for Female Vocalist of the Year and Best-Selling Single “L’amour Est Dans Tes Yeux“. She also engaged in several collaborations, one of which was the English song “Closer Together” with new wave group The Box.
Toronto performed a harder brand of rock and was formed in the city of the same name when singer Holly (Annie) Woods met guitarist Brian Allen. They released their first album in 1980 and “Even the Score” made some headway locally. The band’s big breakthrough came with their grammatically incorrect 1982 song, “Your Daddy Don’t Know” off their third LP. Hits “Start Tellin’ the Truth”, “Girls Night Out”, and “New Romance” followed.
In an interesting bit of trivia, the band wrote but did not record the song “What About Love” which became an international hit for Heart in 1985.