Category Archives: Special Features
JUNO-nominated Elise Estrada, who has landed eight songs on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100, was set to release her first major single in three years when news reached her about the devastation Typhoon Haiyan wreaked upon The Philippines. Take a good hard look at the photo above. Before the typhoon struck, this was a happy, bustling city, named Tacloban, of hard working people and families raising children. Look at it now. Elise consulted with her team and they decided to write and record a charity single, every penny of which is going directly to help the victims of this horrific disaster. “All It Takes Is a Moment” debuted today on Vancouver radio station SONiC, and is now available for download on iTunes at 99 cents. iTunes
Big names in electronic dance music (EDM) are emerging all over the world, and Canada is no exception. A dead mouse and ex-soul decision collaboration aside, the great white north is producing a number of rising new acts. Victor JD, an expert of the genre, contributes the following piece on three names to watch for and their most recent releases.
Adventure Club is an upcoming duo from Montreal composed of Christian Srigley and Leighton James. They have been releasing electronic remixes and singles over the past few years that have been gaining momentum globally. There is plenty of excitement surrounding this duo as they have an album in the works. The first single from the album, “Gold,” features the familiar vocals of Malaysian-born Yuna. “Gold” is a refreshing track that emulates their patented dubstep sound. While the track may sound similar to other Adventure Club singles, it still maintains a unique and high quality tone. Adventure Club is a pioneer in the softer, vocally charged dubstep that has gained prominence in the electronic music world. One can only hope that Adventure Club stays gold in their future releases.
For months, a mysterious song has been devastating the electronic music world, exciting fans everywhere. A successful marketing scheme to hype this massive festival banger kept the artists a secret. Bloggers around the globe made guesses and assumed “Tsunami” was a product of a major artist such as Tiesto or Laidback Luke. The track was also the #1 most played song at the world’s largest electronic music festival, Belgium’s Tommorowland. However, the world was shocked to learn that the mystery track was created by Toronto-born DVBBS and Los Angeles product Borgeous. DVBBS has been releasing excellent tunes over the last few years but has failed to really reach any major success. The release of “Tsunami” however has skyrocketed DVBBS’ fame as the track has been #1 overall on Beatport for over a week and continues to be played everywhere. Although premature, “Tsunami” may end up the EDM song of the summer and time will only tell what other complete bangers DVBBS releases in the future.
A Vancouver native, Taelor Deitcher (born April 9, 1987), better known by his stage name Felix Cartal, has been releasing music since 2009 when his EP Skeleton dropped. His original sound was a harsher electro beat and has transformed into a fresh, vocal infused sound. On August 20, 2013, Past Present Felix was released marking a major step in Felix’s career progression and may pave the way to radio success. Past Present Felix has been widely supported and is receiving great reviews worldwide. The four-song EP features two fantastic vocalists in Los Angeles born Koko Laroo and Ofelia.
“Young Love” (feat Koko Laroo) is a crisp, euphoric beat that has already made radio waves and has been remixed by several artists. The catchy beat and bass lines create a simple but powerful dance floor banger. This track shows true maturity in Felix’s beat as he refines and evolves his sound.
“Katsu” is a flashback to Felix’s harder electro days with its pulsing, bleeping baseline. The beat is bouncy but becomes slightly repetitive as the song progresses. However, Felix incorporates much needed softer interludes to give the listener a break. While this song serves as a solid dance floor beat, it may be the least creative of the four EP songs.
“After Dark” (feat Koko Laroo) is a futuristic, edgy electronic tune that encompasses a fantastic piece by Koko Laroo. The slow and methodical verses transition beautifully into a chilling chorus of Koko’s soothing voice and creative tones. This track represents a real transition in Felix’s sound and displays his ability to create wonderful softer sounds.
“New Scene” (Ofelia) is another fantastic tune and vocal piece that forces you to nod your head and move to the enticing bass line. The chorus’ wavy tones beautifully accentuate Ofelia’s soft “lullaby” voice. This track reiterates the softer transition illustrated by “After Dark” and leaves the listener wanting more.
Some were born in Canada from expatriate parents, some lived here for several years, and some even ended up becoming Canadian citizens. These are international superstars whom you may not know have enjoyed a significant Canadian connection. By no means is this a complete list, and we may post more in the future. But for now, here are three such marvels.
One of China’s biggest pop stars of all-time is Hong Kong’s Leslie Cheung. He was a teen heartthrob and huge move star as well, starring in Farewell My Concubine and John Woo’s A Better Tomorrow. Musically, he was dubbed the Elvis of Hong Kong by Canadian entertainment journalist John Charles. He began his musical career in 1981 with the release of the album The Wind Continues to Blow and set himself apart from other Chinese singers by dancing on stage. He retreated from the music industry in 1989 but made a big comeback in 1997 embarking on a world tour. What many people do not know is that Leslie Cheung was a Canadian, albeit a naturalized one. He moved to Vancouver in 1990 to escape the burden of press gossip. After a few years in Canada, he became a Canadian citizen.
On April 1, 2003, commotions ensued across the most populated country on earth, as people scrambled to verify whether or not news reports that Leslie Cheung had committed suicide were simply an April Fools’ joke. When broadcasts continued announcing his death the following day, realization of the sad truth hit hard and tears welled up all over the world. Leslie Cheung had flung himself out of a window in Hong Kong’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel. It is estimated that through his career he had achieved a net worth of 40 million U.S. dollars.
One of the U.K.’s leading makers of synthpop, spikey-haired, beret-clad Howard Jones scored a string of international hits in the 1980s including “New Song”, “Things Can Only Get Better” and “No One Is to Blame”. He was one of the performers at 1985′s Live Aid in the U.S. Howard was a trained pianist from age seven, and before breaking out made ends meet playing live classical piano music on the radio during the graveyard shift and working at a cling film (plastic wrap) factory during the day. His live shows often featured mime artist Jed Hoile, in white face paint, who performed improvised choreography. Jones’ debut album, Human’s Lib, went straight to number one in Britain becoming a multi-platinum release.
When he was nine years old, the career of Howard Jones’ father took the family from Britain to Canada. Howard lived in Ottawa, played street hockey, and made an appearance on Canadian TV singing Welsh songs. He made the permanent move back to the U.K. when he was 14.
From equestrian instructor to actress to model, Mylène Farmer (born Mylène Jeanne Gautier) eventually became one of the most successful French recording artists of all-time. She holds the record of 13 number one singles in France. Seven of her albums have been certified diamond and 11 of them have reached #1. She began her recording career in 1984 in the new wave genre, and her latest album, 2012′s Monkey Me, embraces electronic dance music (EDM). Of all her hits, “Désenchantée” is considered her biggest and charted internationally. She has collaborated with a number of well-known artists including the United States’ Moby. It was Mylène who discovered and mentored new millennium dance-pop sensation Alizée (“Moi Lolita”). Mylène Farmer has sold in excess of 30 million records.
Farmer was born in Pierrefonds, Québec. (Yes, you read that right). Her parents had emigrated from France in the late 1950s, as her father pursued an engineering contract in Montréal. Mylène spent her first 8 years growing up in Canada before returning to France with her family. Although she never became a Canadian citizen, it was the land of the maple leaf that shaped her early childhood years.
The future looks very bright for Montreal jazz singer Nikki Yanofsky. Three JUNO nominations, the first-ever Allan Slaight Award by Canada’s Walk of Fame, a gold album, a gold DVD, and a quadruple platinum single garnish her achievements, and she is only 19. Who will ever forget her classy and youthful opening of the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games in 2010? And who will not be awed by the fact that American legend Quincy Jones is producing her upcoming studio album, Little Secret? The question is: can she sing? I think the video below will provide a decisive answer to that question.
We will provide more info on the upcoming album as it becomes available. In the meantime, take a moment to follow this wonderful young lady on Twitter. Also, check out her website.
Wishing all a happy Canada Day. Here in BC, they are predicting a socrcher, so for all those artists performing live, take it easy lest the equipment look like this:
To mark the occasion, below are a dozen trivia questions about Canadian hit music history. If you “circle” the letters of the correct answers, they should spell out a secret Canadian message. Good luck!
2013 CANADA DAY MUSIC TRIVIA
1. “Sh-Boom” was a 1950s hit for this Canadian group…
P. The Crew Cuts
Q. The Diamonds
R. The Four Lads
S. The Sheepdogs
2. One of Paul Anka’s biggest hits was…
N. Put Your Hand in My Hand
O. Put Your Head on My Shoulder
P. Put Your Heart on My Sleeve
Q. Put My Song on the Radio
3. David Clayton Thomas was the lead singer of…
U. Blood, Sweat and Tears
V. Buffalo Springfield
W. The Lovin’ Spoonful
X. The Mamas and the Papas
4. Which of the following is NOT a song from The Guess Who?
T. Canadian Woman
U. Clap for the Wolfman
W. These Eyes
5. Who was the first Canadian artist to top the British album charts?
F. Andy Kim
G. Anne Murray
H. Gordon Lightfoot
I. Neil Young
6. The #1 song of 1974 was…
N. Seasons in the Sun
P. Takin’ Care of Business
Q. You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet
7. Due to the JUNO Awards’ lack of attention to Francophone artists, Québec launched awards named in honour of…
C. La Bolduc
D. Céline Dion
E. Félix Leclerc
F. Gilles Vigneault
8. A charity single for African famine relief was recorded by a super group of Canadian recording artists in 1985 named Northern Lights. The song was called…
Q. Take Off to Africa
R. Tears Are Not Enough
S. The Great White North
T. Wavin’ Flag
9. The #1 song of 1985 was…
O. “Never Surrender” by Corey Hart
P. “Run to You” by Bryan Adams
Q. “Summer of ’69″ by Bryan Adams
R. “Sunglasses at Night” by Corey Hart
10. The first album by a Canadian artist to sell a million copies domestically was…
B. Hot Shots by Trooper
C. Reckless by Bryan Adams
D. Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette
E. Come On Over by Shania Twain
11. Francophone hit single “Bye Bye Mon Cowboy” was from this singer…
I. Diane Tell
L. Roch Voisine
12. Which of the following pairs of famous Canadians did NOT grow up in the same metropolitan area?
Q. Alannah Myles and Mike Myers
R. Michael Bublé and Michael J. Fox
S. Nelly Furtado and Rachel McAdams
T. Sarah McLachlan and Ellen Page
Secret Message: __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ !
The Canadian Accent, eh!
It goes without saying that accents around Canada differ as do accents around the United States or England. But the following rules are more or less universal across Canada and are primarily what distinguish the Canadian accent from the American accent.
It is hoped that Canadian recording artists will retain their Canadian accents in their music; there is no reason why they shouldn’t.
Rules of Thumb
1. or is always pronounced like ‘or’ (ɔr), never like an ‘ar’ (ɑr). This includes the words sorry, horrible, tomorrow, borrow, foreign, sorrow, and orange. Many Americans tend to pronounce ‘or’ the same as ‘ar’. In the words your and for, Canadians will often use the ‘er’ instead of ‘or’ sound, especially in the common Canadian rhyming expression for sure (‘fer sure’).
2. The o in hot is pronounced exactly the same as the aw in raw (‘ɒ’). There is a tendency among many Americans to pronounce hot’s o as an a. In Canada, caught and cot, don and dawn, stock and stalk, etc. are pronounced exactly the same. We’re not having a haliday; we’re having a holiday.
3. The o in mom is pronounced exactly the same as the o in mother and in son.
4. The ou in house is pronounced differently than the ow in down. In house, the ou is pronounced ‘ʌu’, and the ow ‘au’. Many Americans mistakenly think that the ‘ʌu’ pronunciation is unique to Canadians. In truth, this is the Irish pronunciation.
5. shone rhymes with gone and shown rhymes with bone. This is true among all English-speaking countries in the world except the United States, which dares to be different.
6. The i in like is pronounced differently than in ride. Like’s i is pronounced ‘əi’, while ride‘s is pronounced ‘ai’.
7. life does not sound like laugh. The i in life is pronounced ‘əi’, while the a in laugh is pronounced ‘æ’. There is a tendency among many Americans to pronounce them the same and say time like ‘tam’, light like ‘lat’, fire like ‘far’, etc.
8. pen and pin are pronounced differently. The first is ‘pen’ and the second is ‘pɪn’.
9. Mary, merry, and marry, are all pronounced exactly the same, rhyming with berry.
10. feel and fill are pronounced differently. The first is ‘fi:l’ and the second is ‘fɪl’.
11. been is usually pronounced as it is spelled, occasionally like bin. The latter pronunciation is more common among Americans.
12. The i in semi, anti, and multi is pronounced like an ee, not like the letter i.
13. In the words adult, pianist, composite, and comparable, the accent is on the first syllable.
14. In the word advertisement, the accent is on the second syllable, not the third.
15. Canadians never put an ee sound before the letter a. There is a tendency in some Americans to say Cee-anada, hee-am (ham), etc.
16. vase rhymes with gauze, not with chase.
17. The syr in syrup rhymes with cheer not with stir.
18. asphalt sounds like ASH-fault.
19. The a in bath and pasta is pronounced the same as in bat.
20. route and root are pronounced the same, and the oo in roof is the same as in root. In all these words the vowel sound is the same as the oo in boot.
21. bother rhymes with father.
22. Aunt is pronounced the same as ant.
23. because sounds like bee-KUZZ.
24. Envelope is pronounced as it is spelled, not like “onvelope”.
25. In the word often, the t is usually pronounced.
Tonight is Chinese New Year’s Eve. Given that Chinese were born on Canadian soil prior to confederation and are the third largest group in the country after those of British and French ancestry, the Canadian Music Blog would like to wish all Canadians a very happy Chinese New Year. Because the festival occurs based on the lunar calendar, the date fluctuates each year at some point in January or February. This year, 2013, it is held February 10, and we are entering the year of the snake characterized by the qualities of calm and endurance. We are happy to present the brief bio below and special music video to mark the occasion.
Linda Chung is a Canadian singer and actress currently based in Hong Kong. She was born in Maple Ridge, BC, attended Templeton Secondary School in Vancouver, and studied education at The University of British Columbia. In 2002, Linda won a beauty contest hosted by Crystal Mall in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby. The following year, she won the title of Miss Chinese Vancouver which led to her participation in the Miss Chinese International Pageant in 2004. She won. She was subsequently signed by Hong Kong television network TVB and began acting in a series called Virtues of Harmony followed by a number of others. As she was a solid singer, she was asked to sing songs for a number of television series which led to a record deal in Hong Kong. Her first album appeared in 2008 and was certified gold.
Linda Chung’s beautiful song “Vaccination”, released last year, is sung in the Cantonese language and was named by Hong Kong’s Jade Solid Gold Music Awards as one of the 10 biggest songs of 2012. We have embedded the music video below.
For those of you born in the 90s and beyond, MacGyver was a popular 80s American television series centered around the adventures of a secret agent armed with an inexhaustible scientific resourcefulness, creating devices, explosives, and tools by using and combining ordinary materials around him. Trivia question: what connection does this TV series have with Canadian recording artist Suzie McNeil? No, she didn’t write the theme song.
Here’s a hint: it has something to do with Suzie’s song “Help Me Out” off her album Rock-n-Roller.
Still confused? Here’s another hint. MacGyver’s arch nemesis was Murdoc who was played by British actor Michael Des Barres.
Third and final hint: Animotion.
Okay, let’s tie all these loose ends together. Suzie McNeil’s song “Help Me Out” was co-written by American songwriter Holly Knight who also played studio keyboards for the track. Holly has written / co-written scores of songs for scores of artists including Pat Benatar’s hit “Love is a Battlefield”.
British actor Michael Des Barres is also a rock singer and songwriter.
In 1983, Holly and Michael wrote and performed a song together called “Obsession”. It was featured in the motion picture A Night in Heaven and was also used in the theatrical trailer for the film 9-1/2 Weeks. The song for one reason or another failed to make much headway as a hit single. Feeling that it needed a slicker, poppier treatment it was covered by American new wave band Animotion in 1984, becoming a Top 10 hit in Canada and around the world. Most of us are familiar with the Animotion version. Below is the original version as performed by Holly and Michael. You can listen to Suzie’s song “Help Me Out” HERE.
Three more months until the end of 2012. As we did last year, we’ll be recapping the year in Canadian music with stats on the best-selling singles and albums, profiles on new and successful artists in 2012, awards, and key events during the year.
Many music enthusiasts like to list the “10 Best” albums of the year. This activity is appreciated by some and frowned upon by others. In defence of the latter group, there is no such thing as a best album just like there is no such thing as a best colour. (“Blue is the best colour.” “No! red is!”). The positive aspect of the 10 “best” lists is that artists / record companies can use them for their promotional activities. (“X magazine rated our album as one of the 10 best of the year.”)
In order to do things right, we will not name our lists as the “10 Best” but as “The Canadian Music Blog’s 10 Favourite Albums of 2012″ which is more sensical. We will not present these lists in any kind of authority and in fact are happy to receive lists from our readers with their faves. We will also provide a list of our ten favourite songs of 2012. The #1 album and #1 song on our lists will receive imprint badges. We have already added these to our picks for 2011 (see below). Of note, in 2011 we listed only the 3 favourite albums and 5 favourite songs. People like to compile Top 10 lists, so we will be making the adjustment this year.
The problem with many lists is that they tend to discriminate against particular genres, popularity levels, regions, or ethnicities / languages of artists. The Canadian Music Blog looks simply at which music engages us the most and do not carry any prejudice in terms of what genre/style the music is, whether it is Francophone or Anglophone, what part of the country it comes from, whether it is a male or female artist, whether it is from a band or soloist, or whether it is indie or popular. The only stipulation is that the credited artist is a Canadian citizen. (We also consider songs that are a collaboration between a Canadian and foreign artist).
No doubt, many will be disappointed when noting that their favourite song or album of the year does not appear on our list. This is why we encourage you to submit your list. And we may even publish it! We will repeat this request near the end of the year. In the meantime, get working on them! We are more interested in lists that are well-rounded. (It really is rare to find such lists). Alternatively, you can simply send us your #1 favourite song and album at the end of the year.
Some of you are more internet savvy than me, but I can give fans of Canadian Francophone music a start in terms of tuning into radio statoins that play Canadian Francophone music. Most major radio stations in major cities broadcast over the net. The nice thing about this is that you can see displayed the name of the song and artist. Wikipedia is actually a good tool for finding stations. They list all radio stations in a given province sorted by city stating each station’s “format” (what kind of music it plays or whether it’s a talk/news station). From this list, you can click the link (call sign) to a radio station’s individual Wiki article, and at the bottom of this article will be the link to its website. From the radio station’s website you can click a button to listen live. For those not fluent in French usually the listen button will be called something like “Ecoute en direct” or “Lancer la Web radio” The Wikipedia list of radio stations in the province of Quebec is HERE.
For your convenience, we will provde links to websites of a few radio stations in Montreal and Quebec City that play contemporary Canadian Francophone music (among other stuff).
|CKMF||Astral Media||94.3||NRJ||Contemporary Hit Radio||LINK|
|CKOI||Cogeco||96.9||CKOI||Hot Adult Contemporary||LINK|
|CITE||Astral Media||107.3||Rouge||Soft Adult Contemporary||LINK|
|CJEC||Leclerc Communications||91.9||Wknd||Adult Contemporary||LINK|
|CHIK||Astral Media||98.9||NRJ||Contemporary Hit Radio||LINK|
|CITF||Astral Media||107.5||Rouge||Soft Adult Contemporary||LINK|
Additionally, AccuRadio, based in Chicago, USA of all places has some mostly commercial-free, talk-free internet radio stations that play Canadian Music, both Anglophone and Francophone. You can check them out HERE.
Bonne chance and happy listening!
The biggest party of the year begins tomorrow. One of its choicest aspects involves the live performances. Don’t miss them in whichever city you reside. To mark the 145th birthday of our nation, we’ve embedded a video below from Canada Day two years ago. The location: Canada Place in Vancouver. The performer: Carly Rae Jepsen. The song: Her first hit single, “Tug of War”. Enjoy. Don’t mind the weather. Looks like it’ll be the same this year. It’s the price you pay for living on the west coast, eh.
A couple weeks ago, we asked what your favourite Canadian album was last year (of the best-sellers). Avril Lavigne‘s Goodbye Lullaby received the most votes. Thank you to all who participated. Because you chose this as your favourite Canadian album last year, we will be writing a special piece on the album soon.
Fan site Avril Bandaids has run a survey on Avril’s Goodbye Lullaby era to gather feedback on how it went. We are happy to share some of the results with you.
1. Avril fans regard Goodbye Lullaby as her second best album after Under My Skin.
2. Fans regard their enjoyment of Avril’s music and the singer’s personal happiness as more important than her public reputation and commercial success.
3. Two-thirds (67%) of the fans rated Goodbye Lullaby as above average, 27% average, and 6% below average or poor. Fans regarded all aspects of the album (including sound and vibe, lyrics, artwork, production, and song themes) as outstanding.
4. Interestingly, when fans were asked what their favourite song on the album was, the #1 choice was “Everybody Hurts” which was not released as a single. Their second favourite song was “Wish You Were Here” which was their favourite of the singles.
5. Favourite music video was “Smile”.
6. When asked about the overall success of the album, most (45%) felt it was mostly a success with some missteps.
7. The “missteps” were felt to be the promotion of the album; 80% felt it was not promoted well enough.
8. Fans felt the best aspects of the Goodbye Lullaby era were the live performances (72%).
9. The majority (58%) felt that, overall, Goodbye Lullaby has helped Avril’s career.
10. In terms of Goodbye Lullaby’s commercial performance, fans felt that the most positive influence was the album’s musical quality (77%) and the most negative (73%) was the delayed release of the album.
11. 42% of Avril’s fans surveyed were able to attend at least one of her shows on the Black Star World Tour.
12. The fans’ favourite performances of songs on the tour were “I’m with You” (#1) and “Everybody Hurts” (#2).