In 2017, it’s a tough go getting on the radio if you’re a Canadian female. It’s also tough if you’re not from Ontario. The only Canadian artist outside of that province to score a Top 40 hit so far in 2017 is none other than … Shawn Hook. Shawn is from British Columbia, and so is a pop group no stranger to landing hits called Hedley. Two JUNO awards have been won by the band, and two albums have struck the double platinum mark. Hedley began releasing music in 2005 scoring a few hits prior to the launch of the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 in mid-2007. On this chart, the band has placed an impressive total of 24 songs, 16 of which have made the Top 40, and nine the Top 10. “Kiss You Inside Out” is the biggest Billboard hit at #2.
Hedley is one of the few bands from the mid-noughties still successful at making music today. The group is launching seventh studio album Cageless at the end of September. Lead single “Love Again” is up to #56 on the charts, and the group presents its nocturnal neon themed music video complete with a robot which we embed below. The video is a “virtual reality” which you can rotate around 360 degrees. (It works on some browsers and not others.) The new album is now available for pre-order. iTunes
Meet the most successful Canadian female soloist of 2017 after Alessia Cara (by our reckoning)…
Despite some sure-fire pop hits, the radio airwaves in Canada haven’t been kind to Canadian females, preferring instead to go with the American ladies. Alessia Cara is the only home-grown female to score a Top 40 hit in 2017, and she had to team up with Zedd to do so.
Beautifully crafted songs of various styles have appeared from Allie X, Amaara, Carly Rae Jepsen, Emily Rowed, Keshia Chanté, Louise Burns, Natasha Zimbaro, Ralph, Stacey, and female-fronted groups like Austra, The Coutrneys, Lolaa, The Luyas, and Young Galaxy.
Limited airplay has been given to Jocelyn Alice, Mia Martina, Ria Mae, and Serena Ryder. Newcomer Kayla Diamond is gaining some momentum.
In order to find the most successful Canadian female artist after Alessia Cara, we have to think outside the box. In this case, the box represents language.
Introducing Andréanne A. Malette, a red-hot Canadian singer-songwriter. Her song “Fou” both from the standpoint of radio airplay and sales is a massive Franco hit in Canada. Malette was a finalist during popular talent search show Star Academy in 2012 and appeared on its double platinum certified various artists compilation album with her fellow contenders as well as its platinum Christmas CD.
Andréanne released her debut solo album Bohèmes in 2014. She has performed at home of the Habs, Montreal’s Bell Centre and has shared the stage with Stromae and Jean Leloup. “Fou” has been at or near the top of the Franco charts for months; in fact, it has been certified as the #1 Top BDS Francophone track in Canada. We present the lyric video below. It’s a folk-pop tour de force. Enjoy.
Due to new releases trickling in during the summer months, we have combined new discs from last and this week.
We begin with Country, Music from Ontario’s Joey Wright. The comma is important here, as the album is more of a singer-songwriter affair. Joey is a JUNO nominee. His Jalopy was up for Instrumental Album of the Year in 2008. The new album goes for a mostly relaxing feel and is quite good.
A fellow JUNO nominee is Burlington punk group Silverstein which releases Dead Reflection. As you might guess, this one is not for relaxing.
Let’s make it three with the JUNO nominees. Album Times Infinity Vol. 2 follows 2015’s Vol. 1 from Montreal alternative group The Dears.
When I Get Better is the impressive debut LP from Vancouver’s Sarah Jickling and Her Good Bad Luck. The pop album, a little quirky, a bit theatrical, chronicles her own path in trying to deal with disorders of the central nervous system.
Dundas, Ontario JUNO nominated Daphni, a project of Dan Snaith, contributes 28-track dancey electronic album Fabriclive 93.
Toronto’s allie is getting rave reviews (count us among them) for her deep, rich, electro R&B/soul album Nightshade, a stunner.
Duo Goldtop from Edmonton launches alternative disc You Possess Me for those who like something with a variety of flavours.
As far as EPs go, Benoît Martin‘s three track disc Ailleurs presents beautiful heartland pop. Rap enthusiasts can check out 20/20 from Winnipeg’s Dele O. And finally July Talk’s Josh Warburton teams up with a producer to create side project White Hot Guilt, a pop-rock self-titled EP.
Canada’s largest record label Universal Music recently came under fire for its exclusion of French-language music in its Canada 150 compilation and has issued an apology as follows.
Unsurprisingly, the CBC, in an attempt to soften the seriousness of the omission, mentioned the complaints coming from Quebec only. In fact, they came from Anglophones outside of Quebec as well. Count us among them.
We would go beyond the status quo of shallow standards to say that any playlist, compilation, or “best of” Canadian music list that excludes Franco works is anti-Canadian. And, no, we do not believe that this is too strong a statement. Francophones make up 22% of our population and create some of the best music not only in Canada but the world at large. Beyond being mindful when compiling music lists, national events like the JUNO awards must include a French-language performance at its main televised gala, as well the Grey Cup half-time show. Both Anglo and Franco songs ought to be played in arenas and during breaks in play of hockey games at home. A couple of Franco songs must grace the playlists of all English-language conducted radio stations and be included in Canadian television and movie soundtracks regardless of the language of dialogue. We must adopt a zero-tolerance policy to those who make Francophobic comments. We cannot refer to Anglophone artists as “Canadian artists” while calling Francophone artists from Quebec as “Quebec artists”. We either call all Canadian or specify the provincial or local origin of each. We cannot move forward as a country that claims to espouse federalism with francophobia intact.
“Despacito” featuring Justin Bieber spends its 10th week at the summit of the Billboard Hot 100. Reaching a new peak position on the chart is Shawn Mendes‘ “There’s Nothing Holding Me Back” at #6. It is Shawn Hook, however, who is king of the Emerging Artists chart for the second week in a row with “Reminding Me” which is up to #31 on the Hot 100. Only 13 Canadian artist tracks (whether as the main or lone featured artist) sit on the chart this week.
No new Canadian artist albums debut within the Top 10; Broken Social Scene settles for the respectable #14 for latest album Hug of Thunder.
Most chart activity is happening with country this week. New in the All-Format Airplay Top 50 is Gord Bamford‘s “Living on Summertime” at #42 (see brand new MV below). He is followed by Jojo Mason and “Something to Wrap My Heart Around”, #43. Tim Hicks is up to #2 on the Country Airplay chart for his “Slide Over”. He is bettered only by Thomas Rhett. Washboard Union‘s “Shine” debuts on the chart at #45.
As promised, here’s a little dose of the Bamford:
Below are, as reckoned by the Canadian Country Music Association, the five women who are currently making the hottest country music in the land: Edmonton’s Alee, Calgary’s Lindsay Ell, British Columbia’s Madeline Merlo, Saskatchewan’s Jess Moskaluke, and Ontario’s Meghan Patrick. We’ve provided some info on the fabulous five with an embedded MV for each to give you a taste of their music. Who’s gonna win the award? And whom are you rootin’ for?
Edmonton’s Alee scored a couple of Country Top 40 hits from her debut independent album which drew the attention of Wax/Universal who signed her. Album Bad Habit came out this year. We have embedded the MV for her latest hit single “When I Do” below.
Lindsay Ell, based in Nashville, is from Calgary. She is one of the few Canadian country artists – male or female – who is doing relatively well in the United States. She hasn’t quite cracked the Top 40 there but has a few Top 50 hits in the Republic. At home, Lindsay scored her first Country Top 10 hit last year with “All Alright”. Lindsay’s “Trippin’ On Us” made the Billboard Hot 100 in 2014. Last week, Ell released the MV for her latest single, freestyle country song “Waiting on You” (see below).
Hailing from Maple Ridge, BC, Madeline Merlo is doing very well: six Top 40 Country hits including a Top 10 (“Whatcha Wanna Do About It”). In 2015, she won the CCMA Rising Star Award. Below is “Over & Over” which peaked at #13 on country radio.
There is no question that Langenburg, SK’s Jess Moskaluke is currently country music’s leading lady. She is a platinum and Billboard Hot 100 charting recording artist who has won a JUNO award. Ten of her songs (one as a featured artist) have made the Country Top 40, four of which rolled into the Top 10. “Drive Me Away” peaked at #3. Jess has won the CCMA Female Artist of the Year award for the past three. The awards are being held in her home province this year. Can she win a fourth time or will the CCMAs decide to give the award to another for a change? Below is Jess’ MV for “Take Me Home” which has amassed over half a million views.
With momentum on her side, Bowmanville, ON’s Meghan Patrick has three CCMA nominations this year, and she’s only just released her debut album, Grace & Grit, which has spawned four Top 25 country radio hits, including Top 10 “Still Loving You”. The album is the only one from a female artist up for Album of the Year and was produced by big names including Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger and Vince Gill! MV for her most recent hit “Be Country with Me” embedded below.
Move over “Weird Al” Yankovic, Canadian singer Mikey Bustos, an alumnus of Canadian Idol, though making successful original music, is becoming increasingly known for his hilarious parodies. We previously featured his delightful lyrical re-write of Meghan Trainor’s “No”. Mikey has taken the #1 hit “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber and, hitting the beach, rewritten the Spanish lyrics into English ones and titled it in true swimwear fashion: “I Wear Speedos”! It has surpassed 24 million views on Facebook and a million on YouTube. Canadian Music Blog sends Mikey a big congrats on the continuing success. He’s a very talented guy. Below is the MV which should put a big smile on your face.
Toronto collective Broken Social Scene (a.k.a. BSS) has scored two gold albums each of which won a JUNO (Alternative Album of the Year). At the core of the lineup which has gone anywhere from six to nineteen were founders Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning. Though a hit single has eluded the group, critical acclaim has poured in. BSS failed to stay afloat announcing a hiatus in 2010, but now experiences a strong return via superb new album Hug of Thunder. Onboard are such notables as Feist and Metric’s Emily Haines & Jimmy Shaw; 15 members are on the disc.
Track “Halfway Home”, absolutely epic, combines a towering Coldplay anthem with intelligent Arcade Fire facets; this is our favourite cut. Metric’s Emily Haines seems to have set off on a ski jump with a gliding vocal delivery while guitars pump the air beneath her in “Protest Song”. “Skyline” blends the cinematic folk of Grapes of Wrath with the alternative atmospherics of Love & Rockets; we dig the guitar work yielding to boss percussion halfway through. The popular “Stay Happy” is funky, quirky, and bold. Feist takes the mic in title-track “Hug of Thunder” drenched with her signature choppy approach, flickering bass, and subdued boom. iTunes
Vancouver’s Emily Rowed was heavily into folk music when EDM wizard Tiësto chose her as the voice on “Say Something”, a reworking of the song by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera. She found the progressive currents exciting and decided to make music that was bigger, more energetic, colourful, and electric. Signed to world renowned label 604 Records, Emily launched her single “Arrows” in May. Presenting a warm vocal delivery, the song is rooted in her acoustic songwriting while brought into fruition by smart alt-pop production. The La+ch remix of the track dresses the music with more ornate electronics. Rowed heralded her EP Electric Heart with the exquisite song “Electric”. Beginning as a boot-stomping bluesy number, it morphs into an advanced sculpture with both electric and electronic grooves. The other tracks on the disc are just as popular: “Burn” flickers, “Swords” cuts to the chase, and “Rubies” dances brightly. iTunes
Triple threat Kaelen Ohm, recording artist, actress, and award-winning filmmaker, recently released album Black Moon under moniker Amaara. Technically an LP (with six tracks, it has a run time of 27 minutes), Black Moon is drenched in dream pop atmospherics. Amaara, having served as a member of Reuben and the Dark, proves she can make just as satisfying music as a soloist. The music frolics airily through lullabies, fantasies, and fairy tale magic. The exceptional title-track perfectly delivers her style. “Dreamcatcher” blends the ominous with the soothing before breaking into a soft flow. Amaara’s Black Moon is a hauntingly beautiful album for those seeking something magical. iTunes
Kashka is the project name of Toronto’s Kat Burns who recently released synthpop EP Relax. Standout tracks include the burbling, glittery “Holding Steady”; funky, chiming “Wild Things”; and trippy yet sobering “Reset/Outro” propelled by eerie synths and backed by grieving strings. As its title suggests, this is music to relax to with unprocessed, crystal clear vocals, haunting electronica, and superb songwriting. Kashka’s Relax is among the best synthpop works of the year. Fans of the genre can’t afford to miss out on this one. iTunes
Emerging pop artist Every Last Chance (ELC) will be releasing new single “When I Grow Up” on July 21. The song presents a heartfelt and honest monologue inspired by almost losing a parent. Says the group, “That reflection became a discovery, that adulthood is scarier than it appeared when we were children – and that we never really feel as though we’ve ‘grown up'”. Ultimately the song explores what it really means to be an adult and how drawing on inspiration from our parents can help guide us on our journey. Canadian Music Blog embeds the official audio below. A music video is planned for September.
Every Last Chance (ELC) is a Canadian project that aims to make pop music with meaning. Debut single “Spotlight” featuring the superb vocals of Marissa Dattoli (lead singer of Ontarian band Crystalyne) stirred up some buzz; the euphoric EDM masterpiece peaked at #65 on the Mediabase CHR chart. Followup single “Roll the Credits” featuring David Spekter continued the momentum reaching #27 at AC and #39 Hot AC nabbing for the group Bell Media’s Future Star award. ELC launched its first EP (iTunes), a self-titled work, in 2016. The act has amassed close to half a million Spotify plays. A new EP is in the works expected to come out in the fall of 2017 which will include the new song “When I Grow Up”.
The Canadian Country Music Association announced nominations for the CCMA awards today. There are 34 categories, and eight trophies will be presented during the artist gala to be broadcast from Saskatoon on Sunday, September 10 at 8 p.m. on CBC. Already booked to perform are Dean Brody, Brett Kissel and Jess Moskaluke. During country music week, there will be three award ceremonies including artist, musician, and industry for a total of 42 awards.
Leading the nominees with five each are first-timer James Barker Band (Woodville), Dean Brody (Jaffray), and Brett Kissel (Flat Lake). Find the list of nominees below. To view musician and industry awards, visit the CCMA website: https://www.ccma.org/
You can vote for the Fans’ Choice Award here.
FANS’ CHOICE AWARD
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Beautiful Freakshow – Dean Brody
Dear Life – High Valley
Game On – James Barker Band
Grace & Grit – Meghan Patrick
Side Effects – Dallas Smith
FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR
MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR
GROUP OR DUO OF THE YEAR
Cold Creek County
James Barker Band
The Road Hammers
The Washboard Union
ROOTS ARTIST OR GROUP OF THE YEAR
The Washboard Union
James Barker Band
SINGLE OF THE YEAR
Autograph – Dallas Smith
Cool With That – Brett Kissel
Lawn Chair Lazy – James Barker Band
Take Me Home – Jess Moskaluke
Time – Dean Brody
VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Chills – James Barker Band
I Didn’t Fall In Love With Your Hair – Brett Kissel
That’s When You Know – Chris Buck Band feat. Kira Isabella
Time – Dean Brody
When A Momma’s Boy Meets A Daddy’s Girl – Aaron Pritchett
SONGWRITER(S) OF THE YEAR
James Barker, Gavin Slate, Travis Wood, Donovan Woods
Song: Chills (Performed By: James Barker Band)
Ted Hewitt, Brett Kissel, Phil O’Donnell
Song: Cool With That (Performed By: Brett Kissel)
Clayton Bellamy, Dan Davidson
Song: Found (Performed By: Dan Davidson)
Song: Time (Performed By: Dean Brody)
Patricia Conroy, Jessica Mitchell, David Thomson
Song: Workin’ On Whiskey (Performed By: Jessica Mitchell)
INTERACTIVE ARTIST OR GROUP OF THE YEAR
Four Canadian artist songs reach new peak positions on the Hot 100 this week. Virginia to Vegas‘ “Selfish” is up to #72, Hedley‘s “Love Again” #58, Shawn Hook‘s “Reminding Me” #34, and Drake‘s “Signs” #12.
The Icon series has put together a various Canadian artists compilation album of hits from the modern era called Canada 150. It debuts on the albums chart at #15.
Toronto’s Kayla Diamond was busy at law school when she submitted an original song to a contest. A win had her pursuing music full time. Her new song “Carnival Hearts” debuts at #35 on CHR radio, ahead of Kesha. Kayla is working on an album due out later this year with Cadence Music. She receives a feature in this week’s Nielsen Update newsletter. (See the song’s lyric video below).
Saskatchewan’s Jess Moskaluke, performing at this year’s CCMA awards gala, appears on the Country Radio chart with her new single “Kill You Love” (#48). She is followed by Ottawa’s River Town Saints whose “Woke Up Like This” debuts at #49. AC radio gives the nod to Vancouver’s Ashleigh Ball and “Crazy” (#31). Hot AC is bending for Nova Scotia’s Ria Mae; “Bend” debuts at #40.
The Canadian Country Music Association has revealed the initial performers at the 2017 gala which will be held in Saskatoon September 10 and broadcast at 8 p.m. on CBC. They are Jess Moskaluke, Dean Brody, and Brett Kissel. For those unfamiliar with these three darlings of the Canadian country music scene, below are some tidbits. The CCMA plans to have over a dozen players take the stage, the remainder of which will be announced in the coming weeks. Eight trophies will be doled out at the gala. Nominations will be announced July 12.
Langenburg, SK’s Jess Moskaluke is a platinum recording artist c/o her hit “Cheap Wine and Cigarettes”. Jess is currently country music’s leading lady; she has won the CCMA Female Artist of the Year Award three years in a row. Her collaborative single with Paul Brandt “I’m an Open Road” was recently certified gold. This year (2017), Jess won the Country Album of the Year JUNO award for her EP Kiss Me Quiet.
Originally from Jaffray, BC, Dead Brody is a platinum recording artist thanks to three of his songs. As well, he has a gold album, Dirt. Two of his LPs have won the JUNO for Country Album of the Year. Dean has been active since 2009. His song “Bounty” made it to #1 at Country Radio. He has placed an amazing 20 songs on the Billboard Hot 100.
Brett Kissel is from Flat Lake, Alberta and has scored three gold singles, including the #1 Country Airplay hit “Airwaves”. Brett won the 2014 JUNO Award for Breakthrough Artist of the Year which marked the first time in 17 years that a country artist nabbed the award. He has won six CCMA Awards. Eight of his songs have appeared on the Billboard Hot 100.