Tag Archives: Lights
Stompin’ Tom Connors Dies at 77
A Canadian country/folk legend has passed away. Stompin’ Tom was born in New Brunswick and grew up in PEI. He was 77. The CBC has created a nifty interactive map highlighting locales in the Great White North for which he has written a song (Link). Has he written a song about your city? Check it out. Connors released some 61 albums over the years (selling 4 million units), and apparently 10 have never been released. That should change pretty soon. He lived a tough life as an orphan in poverty and was a very patriotic Canadian. A message he wrote to be released upon his passing encourages all of us to carry on the torch and keep the Maple Leaf flying high. Canadian music journalist Karen Bliss has written a piece about him (Link).
Voting Now Open for the JUNO Fan Choice Award
It is the one JUNO award determined by votes from the general public. Voting is now open for the JUNO Fan Choice Award which will be presented during the main gala April 21 in Regina. In order to vote, you must provide your name and a valid email address. Nominees for this year’s award are Canada’s latest international pop superstar Carly Rae Jepsen, veteran diva Céline Dion, actor/rapper Drake, Canadian Idol finalist led Hedley, pop/R&B superstar Justin Bieber, folk-poet Leonard Cohen, pop band Marianas Trench, electronic rock band Metric, jazz/AC singer Michael Bublé, and Albertan metal group Nickelback. The winner of last year’s award was Justin Bieber. To vote, proceed to the following LINK.
LIGHTS Releasing Siberia Acoustic Version
LIGHTS, Canada’s wizard of electronic rock will be releasing an acoustic version of her gold album Siberia due out on April 30. Now that there is an electronic version and a forthcoming acoustic version, we wonder if she would be so good as to release an … electric version? Siberia would definitely sound good on electric guitars and a Wurlitzer electric piano. Some guest vocalists will be featured on the acoustic album including Coeur de Pirate, Owl City, and Max Kerman of the Arkells. She will be embarking on a tour to promote the new version kicking off in Surrey, BC on April 27. Check out her website for dates and a track listing of the new album.
National Music Centre Being Raised in Calgary
A 15,000 square-metre national music centre is being erected in downtown Calgary’s East Village. It will serve several functions including showcasing the history of Canadian music, a collection of musical instruments and sound equipment, collections of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, performance spaces, recording studios, broadcast facilities, and artist-in-residence programs. The centre was funded by all three levels of government—the City of Calgary, Province of Alberta, and the Government of Canada. Adding some arts and culture to an oil town is not a bad idea.
Last year we named Siberia, second album from Toronto’s JUNO-winning LIGHTS, as Album of the Year (LINK). She has thus far gotten tremendous mileage out of the album with extended tours and more single releases than she had anticipated. The album has been certified GOLD. Although a gifted lyricist, highly skilled musician complete with tech savvy, and what some describe as the voice of an angel, what impresses us most about her is her stunning song-writing ability.
While her fans have grown accustomed to her intergalactic, sci-fi-themed music videos, for her most recent production, she decided to try something different, coming up with a more personal, humorous, and down-to-earth work. Initially, some of her fans were a tad perplexed, but she launched a behind-the-scenes video explaining what the video was all about, like George Lucas offering the enlightening commentary track on the DVD release of THX-1138.
The song and the video are all about being at the right place at the right time. In her case, this meant running into her future husband. The video takes place in a fitness club and shows off LIGHTS’ new haircut and Canadian coloured socks. We have embedded the behind-the-scenes vid below. To watch the actual MV, click HERE.
Carly Rae Jepsen’s United States radio tour is paying off. “Call Me Maybe” (which is back at #1 in Canada this week – its 3rd week at the top spot) has debuted on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 within the Top 40! She has the 38th biggest song in that country this week.
While Carly is taking the U.S. by storm, her Canadian sister Alyssa Reid is the latest craze in Britain. “Alone Again” (her reworking of Heart’s classic “Alone”) is at its 5th week in the U.K. Top 20. It is the most successful Canadian single so far this year in Britain, having peaked at #2 on the charts there.
Fans of Celtic / new age music are no doubt delighted at Loreena McKennitt’s latest release, a live album of some of her classics, called Troubadours On The Rhine. Johnny Reid, Ian Thornley’s Big Wreck, and Gord Bamford have new releases out in just a couple of days.
With all the tours going on and about to begin, we are pleased to announce that LIGHTS will be touring the land down under for the very first time. Her album Siberia released last year is up for JUNO pop album of the year, and she will now be showcasing her dazzling electronic rock sound live in Australia. Perhaps she can bring a little Canadian snow with her.
Previously, we ran a poll to ask about your favourite best-selling Canadian album (those nominated for the Album of the Year JUNO). Here, we would like to know your favourite of the 5 albums nominated for Pop Album of the Year at the 2012 JUNOs. Let the voting begin!
Don’t forget to share this post on Facebook and Twitter so that other fans of your favourite artist can vote too!
It is officially the winter solstice, so our announcement could come on no better day. (You’ll understand what we mean further down the post).
There was so much good music that came out in 2011, it will have the JUNO judges pulling their hair out to come up with a list of nominees for album of the year in a few months. Many recording artists released their magnum opus this year.
Our third favourite album this year comes from Ron Sexsmith, the most overlooked Canadian recording artist of modern times and one who is admired by the likes of Sir Paul McCartney. Long Player, Late Bloomer is a beautifully-crafted folk pop album and was produced by the eminent Bob Rock. It is the St. Catharines native’s best effort to date in our humble opinion.
At #2 is Goodbye Lullaby, pop punk princess Avril Lavigne‘s best album yet for one uncomplicated reason: there is not a single weak moment on the disc. Filled with inspired pop tunes from start to finish, it is but a gem. And, of course, no current Canadian recording artist can outsing her pure, pleasant, and pitch-perfect voice.
#1? Well, it’s a bit cold in here, so let’s “pull the wool up like a smoke screen” and introduce it gradually…
It would make more sense to fly over the North Pole, as the distance would surely be shorter, but the airlines would rather take us on the scenic route, like “two sparks tumbling along”, and have us stop over and change flights in a number of bustling cities with “busy parks” on different continents. The easiest way to fly from Vancouver to the largest city in this region of the world would be to stop over in Beijing, but that would be expensive. A cheaper alternative would be flying to Chicago, USA or London, England, then to Moscow, and finally to our destination of Novosibirsk, a city just shy of 1.5 million people, the largest urban center of northern Asia, an area of the Russian Federation known as Siberia.
Before we go on our flight, we want to stay where we are, in Vancouver, and travel back in time. We set the dial of our time machine to March 29, 2009 and push the button. After a flash of lights, we find ourselves in pre-Olympic Vancouver. We hop onto the SkyTrain which will drive our soul downtown. Many passengers will be going to our destination today and are very excited. After arriving, we disembark and walk over to what was then known as “GM Place”. We purchase tickets at the door and make our way inside. The show is about to begin. Nickelback blows us away with a tour de force performance, after which we see the host of the proceedings, comedian Russell Peters. We are, as some of you have figured from the clues, at the JUNO awards gala of 2009. A number of awards are being presented for the best in Canadian music.
At about 5:40 pm, after a performance by Sarah McLachlan and a cute comedy sketch with Peters and Michael Bublé, Maple Ridge’s beautiful Filipina-Canadian pop star Elise Estrada, the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage, and Terrace’s country singer Aaron Pritchett step onto the stage. They will be presenting the prestigious award for New Artist of the Year. The nominees are Jessie Ferrell, LIGHTS, Crystal Shawanda, Kreesha Turner, and Nikki Yanofsky. James Moore announces, “And the JUNO goes to…”. He opens the “envelope” which looks more like a CD jewel case, and then declares, “LIGHTS!”
As Elise Estrada begins clapping, another young woman, in a purple dress, looking very surprised and very happy, stands up and makes her way to the stage. The song “Drive My Soul”, a Top 20 hit, begins playing. The crowd is cheering. We are cheering too. She gives the three presenters a hug and positions herself in front of the microphone. “Whoa. Oh my goodness. I was so not expecting this … You know, I didn’t get into this to win awards; I got into this to create some amazing music, and we’ll try to anyways…”.
What was significant about LIGHTS winning the JUNO was that she had not yet released her debut album; it came out later that year in September. The Listening was an electronic pop record and was later certified gold in Canada.
Encouraged by her success, she decided, in the making of her sophomore baby, to depart from mainstream sounds to something more creative, more gritty, on the “alternative” side of the musical spectrum. Various personnel within the record company, who were more concerned with the business side of music, opposed the artistic move, and she was faced with manipulative forces trying to push her in different directions. She remained fixed in her resolve and focused on her goal of creating something different but exceptional musically. A great team consisting of Thomas Salter, Dave Thompson, Jay Parson, Brian Borcherdt, and Graham Walsh assisted her in crafting and perfecting a Canadian masterwork.
After some delays, Siberia was released on October 4, 2011. It is an indie electronic rock album with some elements of dubstep, and it received rave reviews. Siberia debuted at #3 on the Canadian albums chart behind Adele’s 21 and Feist’s Metals and sold 10,000 copies in the first week. She went on a North American tour to promote the album and will be heading to Europe next year.
Although Siberia pays homage to the great masters of electronic rock—FM, Gary Numan, Bjork, and Metric to name a few—LIGHTS has carved out a niche for herself by honing her own unique style. Amidst the ethereal, pulsating synthesizer buzzes, her voice comes through as sweet as honey, and her lyrics are more inspired than the pennings of the aforementioned.
Everyone has their favourite tracks. Ours are the title-track “Siberia”, single “Toes“, ballad “And Counting…”, and, most of all, the hauntingly gorgeous “Cactus in the Valley”, a song she composed entirely on her own.
LIGHTS fought off all opposition to make her work of art like fighting off the cold to brave the “icy tides” and “sail across the east sea”. In her song “Toes” she sings, “You capture my attention”. No, LIGHTS, you have captured our attention and have worn out the laser on our CD player from a countless number of listens.
“I didn’t get into this to win awards; I got into this to create some amazing music,” she said. And she has done just that. LIGHTS’ Siberia is our pick for album of the year 2011. Well done.
Update: At the end of April 2012, Siberia was awarded GOLD certification in Canada.
Do you have a favourite Canadian album of 2011? Let us know: email@example.com.
In 1987, a baby girl was born in Timmins, Ontario. Her parents named her Valerie Anne, her surname being Poxleitner. While growing up, she fell in love with progressive, new wave, and electronic music, especially works from The Cure, Depeche Mode, Supertramp, and Björk.
She spent much of her childhood in diverse places: Jamaica, The Philippines, and Vancouver. From the age of 13, she lived in Toronto. She began seriously writing music from age 11. In 2006, she got a job with Sony/ATV Music Publishing and composed music for television. Her talents won the admiration of Jian Ghomeshi who became her manager.
She became a synthpop virtuoso and legally changed her name to Lights. She soon signed a deal with Warner Music and her single “Drive My Soul” became a Top 20 hit across Canada. This led to the release of her debut album The Listening in 2009, certified gold. She won the Juno Award for New Artist of the Year in 2009.
The Canadian Music Blog is pleased to make two announcements regarding this highly talented singer-songwriter. Her song “Saviour” is our 16th favourite Canadian tune of all-time. The first announcement is that Lights’ sophomore album, Siberia, will be in stores on Tuesday, October 4th. Second, Lights will be touring both Canada and The United States to promote her album (Note that “Siberian Tour” does not mean that she is touring Siberia!) The concert dates are below. Check them with the official listing on her website HERE. And don’t forget to listen to a sample of her single “Toes” from her new album.
October 14: Sydenham St. United Church, Kingston
October 15: The Mansion, Barrie
Oct. 16 – Nov. 11: U.S. Leg
November 12: 9 One 9, Victoria
November 13: Kelowna Community Theature, Kelowna
November 15: Vogue Theatre, Vancouver
November 17: Edmonton Event Centre, Edmonton
November 18: MacEwan Hall, Calgary
November 19: Odeon Events Centre, Saskatoon
November 20: Burton Cummings Theatre, Winnipeg
November 23: Bronson Centre, Ottawa
November 24: Corona Theatre, Montreal
November 25: Sound Academy, Toronto
Our 16th favourite song comes from a synthpop virtuoso who was born in Timmins, Ontario but spent her teens in Toronto. Like many Canadians, she was attracted to progressive rock acts Supertramp, The Cure, Depeche Mode, and Björk and soon began pursuing a career in this direction.
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 across Canada. Her debut album The Listening, released in 2009, was certified gold and she won the Juno for Best New Artist.
The woman of whom we are speaking was born Valerie Anne Poxleitner but changed her name legally to Lights. The song that opened her debut album, which she co-wrote with Thomas Salter, has made it here. It’s called “Saviour“.
The night is deafening when the silence is listening
And I’m down on my knees and I know that something is missing.
Because the back of my mind is holding things I’m relying in
But I choose to ignore it because I’m always denying them.
I’m a bit of a manic when it’s not as I plan it
‘Cause I start losing my head and then I get up in a panic
Remember when we were kids and always knew when to quit it
Are we denying a crisis or are we scared of admitting it?
I don’t want to know
I just want to run to you
And break off the chains and throw them away
I just want to be so much
And shake off the dust that turned me to rust
Sooner than later I’ll need a saviour
I’ll need a saviour
It won’t ever change if you want it to stay the same
I really hate it but I know it’s hard to choose if you’re chained
And when it’s all you control ’cause you’ve got nothing less to hold
You’re getting tighter and tighter it’s getting harder to let it go
I don’t want to know
Stand me up and maybe I won’t be so small
Free my hands and feet and maybe I won’t always fall…
Album: The Listening
To view other songs in the Top 50, click on 50 Favourite Songs in the Categories menu on the right-hand column.
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.
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.