Tag Archives: Coeur de Pirate
MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR
QUÉBEC ARTIST WITH THE MOST SUCCESS OUTSIDE THE PROVINCE
INTERNATIONAL FRACOPHONE ARTIST WITH THE MOST SUCCESS IN QUÉBEC
ANGLOPHONE ALBUM OF THE YEAR (BY A QUÉBEC ARTIST)
CRITICS’ CHOICE ALBUM OF THE YEAR
ALTERNATIVE ALBUM OF THE YEAR
ROCK ALBUM OF THE YEAR
BEST-SELLING ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Canada is a land of contradictions. On the one hand, it encourages Anglophone youth to learn French, has programs in every school and even a plethora of French immersion schools. On the other hand, it tells English radio stations not to air Francophone music, refusing to acknowledge that the best motivator to learn a language is to get into its music.
It is strange indeed that Top 40 radio stations in countries without French as an official language, like China and the U.K., play French songs, while Canada’s do not. This is, frankly, embarrassing.
Are we really going to go through life missing out on all this great music by stubbornly refusing to acknowlege that we really are a bilingual country and pretending we never studied French in school? Why not become one of the enlightened ones?
We’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to some of the best music being made in Canada but that, for the most part, is being ignored outside of Québec: JUNO nominees for Francophone Album of the Year.
Interestingly, none of the nominated artists have scored huge hit singles in French Canada in the past (at least none that made the year-end Top 50); they fit more into the category of “album artists”, and they are all exceptionally gifted. None of them has thus far won a JUNO.
CATHERINE MAJOR: Le désert des solitudes
This is Catherine’s 3rd studio album, since her debut in 2004, and her first JUNO nomination. She is a classically trained pianist and her music has been described as elegant, refined, delicate, and romantic piano pop. She stands out from some of her contemporaries in that her lyrics are more literary and she had assistance in their composition from Montréal poet Christian Mistral. iTunes
CŒUR DE PIRATE: Blonde
Cœur de Pirate is the stage name of Béatrice Martin. Like Catherine, she has been playing piano since she was very young but her style is more on the bubbly side. Her (self-titled) debut came out in 2009, was certified platinum, and was nominated for Francophone Album of the Year at the JUNOs. This is her 2nd JUNO nomination. Blonde is a gold-certified album having reached #5 on the Canadian Billboard albums chart. She has collaborated with Kardinal Official, David Usher and Bedouin Soundclash. iTunes
FRED PELLERIN: C’est un monde
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 went platinum and won 2 out of 4 Félix nominations. This is his second solo work, going gold only a month after release. This is Pellerin’s 2nd JUNO nomination. iTunes
JÉRÔME MINIÈRE: Le vrai le faux
Jérôme was actually born in France. He studied cinema in Belgium relocating to Montréal afterwards in 1995. He released his first album in 1996 and toured Canada and Europe. He began dabbling in electronic music and began winning Félix awards in 2002. His poetic, political, electronic venture Chez Herri Kopter was considered one of the most important albums from Québec of the year. His latest album gives him his first JUNO nomination. iTunes
MALAJUBE: La caverne
Finally, we come to Malajube. This is the band’s 3rd JUNO nomination. Hailing from Montréal, they debuted in 2004 and wooed critics from around the world with their progressive rock sound. La caverne which they wrote recorded and produced themselves is their fourth full-length studio album. The four current members of the band are Julien Mineau, Francis Mineau, Mathieu Cournoyer, and Thomas Augustin. iTunes
Gold albums include Coeur de Pirate’s Blonde. Marc Hervieux has scored a pair: A Napoli released last year and Le Premier Noël released in 2009. Wooden Arms, Patrick Watson’s 2009 album, has also gone gold. Serena Ryder’s 2006 single “Weak in the Knees” has been certified gold as well.
Rapper-actor Drake has a couple of new certifications. “Take Care”, title track of his 2011 album, has gone gold, while “Headlines” is now platinum. Other platinum singles are My Darkest Days’ 2010 song “Porn Star Dancing” and Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”.
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.
The most significant event that occurred in the latter years of the first decade of the new millennium was that, for the first time in music history, a Canadian of east-Asian descent scored a radio hit. Canadians of Asian descent make up over 12% of the population but have seen little representation in the music industry. Maple Ridge B.C.’s Elise Estrada, born in the Philippines, recorded the R&B hit “Unlove You” which peaked at #11 on the singles chart.
This period also witnessed the 3rd best-selling Canadian single of all-time internationally, after Céline Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” and Bryan Adams’ “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You”. Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend” sold 7.3 million copies worldwide.
Edmonton, which had been left off the map in terms of churning out significant recording artists, contributed two during this time: Kreesha Turner and the Stereos.
Canadian music embraced further diversity. For the first time in a while, Canada gave the world a new male teen international superstar. A couple new electronic artists achieved success. Rock trio Metric released the single “Help, I’m Alive” which peaked at #21 on the singles chart in early 2009. LIGHTS, a female singer-songwriter, won the best new artist JUNO after her electronic pop song “Drive My Soul” became a Top 20 hit. Much of this diversity, however, involved taking on American styles of music, like R&B and rap. This coincided with Billboard magazine’s taking over the Canadian singles and albums charts in 2007.
In the late 2000s, a large portion of Canadian music began to emulate styles popular south of the border. A number of new Canadian artists began performing rap and R&B music. Relatively-speaking, such music did not sell well domestically. Most of these American-style artists arose from Toronto and were heavily promoted by Toronto-based MuchMusic. Although many of them were of Jamaican ancestry, they did not perform reggae music.
While it is true that Canadian artists like Avril Lavigne, Chantal Kreviazuk, and Raine Maida were busy writing and producing songs for American idol winners like Kelly Clarkson, and, in so doing, somewhat Canadianizing American pop, the American influence on Canadian music was much more apparent.
Artists who continued to perform Canadian styles of music began shedding their Canadian pronunciation, adopting American accents. And bad grammar became trendy. By the end of the decade these tendencies had become quite standard.
We can only speculate as to the motivations behind such a trend. Perhaps with the advent of digital music and the looming threat of rampant online piracy, record labels were pushing Canadian recording artists to tailor their music and accents to American styles in order to maximize chances of being successful in the world’s largest market for music. Ironically, many of the artists who did this did not end up making names for themselves in the republic. The most successful Canadian artists during the latter years of the decade were those who made music that was very Canadian: Michael Buble, Avril Lavigne, and Nickelback. The only new artists to sell many records during this period were Feist and Justin Bieber.
Although the year was heavily dominated by pop-punk superstar Avril Lavigne, the Juno gala held the following year gave all three major awards (song, album, and artist of the year) to a folk-pop singer from Amherst, N.S. called Feist. She had received some attention in 2005 for her cover of the Bee Gees’ song “Inside and Out”. Juno-winning The Reminder was certified double-platinum. Feist’s song “1234″ was a Top 10 hit in Britain and the U.S. and made it to #3 at home. In the late 2000s, Feist was the most successful new artist at the Junos, winning eight of 11 nominations.
Five-piece, Vancouver-based, punky grunge band State of Shock scored a Top 10 hit called “Money Honey”. They managed three songs in the year-end Top 100 charts by the end of the decade. They were one of the few male-female combo bands.
Toronto’s Jully Black also made the Top 10 with her cover of the 1960s song “Seven Day Fool”. In Québec, female rocker Anik Jean enjoyed the hit “Oh mon chéri” and Jonathan Painchaud scored with “Pousse, Pousse”. But it was rocker Marie-Mai, Star Académie finalist who shone the brightest. She won four Félix awards, released gold and platinum albums, and recorded songs with David Usher (Moist) and Simple Plan. Although she did not see any hit singles, Peterborough, Ontario’s indie folk singer Serena Ryder scored a pair of gold albums and was honoured with the JUNO for best new artist.
With the handover of the official Canadian charts going to Billboard magazine, there was no year-end chart for the year, and we do not have access to the weekly singles charts for the first half of the year. Nevertheless, we have attempted to piece together data on some of the hits this year which you can find HERE. In brief, besides the new artists mentioned above, Avril Lavigne, Nickelback / Chad Kroeger, Nelly Furtado, Finger Eleven, Michael Bublé, Bedouin Soundclash, and Céline Dion enjoyed big hits.
Like R&B singer Jully Black, Toronto’s Kardinal Offishall (born Jason Harrow) is of Jamaican ancestry. His singles have done much better than his albums. This year, he scored the international hit “Dangerous” (11th biggest of 2008) with American Akon which won the Juno for song of the year. The two collaborated again in “Beautiful” and “Body Bounce” in subsequent years. In 2011, he recorded the song “Ghetto Love” with Montreal’s Karl Wolf, a rap-reggae version of Peter Cetera’s “Glory of Love”. Kardinal Offishall has won 3 JUNO awards.
Edmonton-born Kreesha Turner, whose mother is Jamaican, started her career by performing 70s-style R&B and scored the Top 10 hit “Don’t Call Me Baby”. South of her, in Calgary, Andrew F became a one-hit wonder (so far) with his punky song “The End”. Marie-Pierre Arthur scored the Quebec hit “Pourquoi” as did Yann Perreau with “Beau comme on s’aime”. Gypsy jazz band The Lost Fingers, from Quebec City, scored a platinum album called Lost in the 80s.
Montreal’s pop pianist Béatrice Martin, under the stage name Coeur de Pirate, released her debut album this year. It was certified platinum and was nominated for Francophone album of the year at the JUNOs.
LIGHTS is not a band but a female singer-songwriter based in Toronto. She became one of the most successful electronic pop musicians in the late 2000s, winning the Juno award for Best New Artist. Her “Drive My Soul” was the 70th biggest song of 2008.
Vancouver’s Phillipine-born beauty contest winner Elise Estrada scored the hit “Unlove You” which finished in the Top 100 year-end chart of 2008. As far as we know, she is the first Canadian of east-Asian descent to score a hit on the radio in Canada, a remarkable achievement.
Mission, B.C.’s Faber Drive were signed onto Chad Kroeger’s label 604 Records and performed mainstream pop. “When I’m with You” made the year-end Top 100 and the following year their “Get Up and Dance” was the 48th biggest song of the year.
Many new artists emerged this last year of the decade.
Lebanese-born Montrealer Karl Wolf began performing R&B and his cover of Toto’s “Africa” was the biggest song of the year by a Canadian artist, finishing the year in 9th spot.
A Canadian rapper had a huge hit south of the border. “Best I Ever Had” was the 22nd biggest song in the U.S. (79th in Canada) thanks to Toronto’s Aubrey Drake Graham, known simply as Drake. He started out as an actor playing the character Jimmy Brooks on the television series “Degrassi: The Next Generation”. Drake’s father is an African American from Memphis, Tennessee, and his mother is Jewish Canadian. He started out by collaborating with American rap artists like Kanye West, Eminem, Jay-Z, and Lil Wayne, signing onto the latter’s record label. Drake’s album Thank Me Later managed to go platinum in Canada.
Outselling Drake was a youngster from Stratford, ON named Justin Bieber who managed one platinum and two double-platinum albums. “One Time” and “One Less Lonely Girl” were big hits this year. He became successful by uploading videos of his songs onto Youtube. This led to a recording contract. Although primarily a pop artist, some of his songs feature rap segments from American artists.
Besides Nelly Furtado and Shawn Desman, another Portuguese-Canadian popped out of obscurity; in fact, he is Desman’s younger brother, Danny Fernandes. His “Fantasy” was a big hit this year.
Born in Scotland, naturalized Canadian soul singer Johnny Reid, despite no hit singles, put out an album that went double-platinum this year: Dance with Me. Divine Brown was yet another Toronto R&B singer to arise, though she did not score any significant hits until she teamed up with Nelly Furtado and performed “Sunglasses” (#22).
Toronto’s Suzie McNeil had entered a CBS reality show called Rock Star: INXS to find a new lead singer for the band. She was the last female singer to be eliminated from the competition, having gained by then considerable respect. She relocated to Los Angeles to develop her career. Her “Supergirl” made the year-end Top 100 this year.
Also from Toronto was Melanie Fiona, whose parents immigrated to Canada from Guyana. Her “Give It to Me Right” also made the Top 100 of 2009.
Besides Kreesha Turner, Edmonton produced the band the Stereos who scored two big hits this year: “Summer Girl” (#2) and “Throw Your Hands Up” (#3). The Stereos made a kind of music that blended all the current popular styles: grunge, dance, and rap.
Originally from Trois-Rivières, Québec, The New Cities set up base in Montréal and released their debut LP this year. Gold single “Dead End Countdown” was a big new wave hit, 69th of the year.
Links to Related Posts
Lists of Canadian Songs in the Top 100 of 2008 and 2009 in Canada are HERE.
Mini profiles on semi-major artists Feist, Marie-Mai, State of Shock, Faber Drive, Drake, The Stereos, and LIGHTS are HERE.
Major profile on Elise Estrada is HERE.
Major profile on Justin Bieber is HERE.
A list of Juno and Félix song of the year nominees and winners for the decade 2000-2009 is HERE.
A list of best-selling Canadian albums 2000-2009 is HERE.
A list of best-selling Canadian singles 2000-2009 is HERE.