Mapleblazers

Belly

Belly is the stage name of Palestine-born rapper Ahmed Balshe and is taken from the word rebellious. He was signed onto Ottawa-based record label Capital Prophet Records (which later relocated to Toronto and became known as CP Records). Belly’s debut album, The Revolution, released in 2007, won the JUNO award for Rap Recording of the Year and achieved Gold Certification. The best-known track from the album was “Pressure”. This was a double-album centered on humanistic themes. Disc 1 was titled “The People” and Disc 2, “The System”. Like most rappers, Belly has collaborated with singers, most notably Danny Fernandes, The Weeknd, and Josh Ramsay (Marianas Trench). He is a supportive fan of the Ottawa Senators.

Derek Miller

Derek is a blues guitarist singer-songwriter from the largest First Nation in Canada, Six Nations of the Grand River (Ontario) which consists of Cayuga, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca and Tuscarora. After getting into music in his teens, his profile was heightened when he toured with Buffy Sainte-Marie in the late 1990s. He was offered a deal with Winnipeg’s Arbor Records and released his debut album, Music is the Medicine, in 2002. The track “Lovesick Blues” won the JUNO for Aboriginal Recording of the Year. The Dirty Looks followed, winning for him his second JUNO in 2008. Derek Miller was invited to perform alongside Eva Avila and Nikki Yanofsky during the Closing Ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. He released his third album that year, Double Trouble.

Emmalyn Estrada

Emmalyn is the younger sister of British Columbia Filipina-Canadian R&B star Elise Estrada. When she was 17, she won a singing contest hosted by Vancouver radio station The Beat 94.5 FM and released the single “Get Down” two months later. This was nominated by the CRMA (Canadian Radio Music Awards) in the Dance / Urban / Rhythmic category. In October, she relocated to Los Angeles and teamed up with record producer Chris Stokes of label TUG (The Ultimate Group). Single “Don’t Make Me Let You Go” followed. She returned to Vancouver in 2011 to perform at several festivals and has joined Adam H’s new record label XOXO Entertainment with her sister Elise. She became one of five members of American-British-Canadian girl group GRL which scored a couple of international hits in 2014 before disbanding in 2015 following the death of member Simone Battle.

K.Maro

Born Cyril Kamar in Lebanon, K.Maro relocated to Montreal when he was 11. He is a rapper / singer-songwriter who performs in both English and French, occasionally throwing in some Arabic. K.Maro is also a producer and has his own record label, K.Pone.Inc. He started out in a successful Québec rap duo called LMDS (Les Messagers du Son) in the late 1990s. Debuting in 2002 as a soloist, he has already released several albums which have seen international success, most notably in Europe. Three of his singles have made the year-end Top 50 charts in Québec: “Femme Like You” (#8 of 2004), “Let’s Go” (#38 of 2007), and “Music” (#30 of 2010). He has collaborated with several artists including Belly and Corneille. K.Maro has opened a clothing line called Balbec, named after the town where he was born.

Marc Hervieux

Simply put, Marc Hervieux, graduate of the Montréal Conservatory of Music, is now one of the most popular Canadian opera singers in the world. He has performed in such countries as Russia, Israel, the United States, Spain, France, China, and South Korea. He was invited to put on a private concert in honour of the king of Sweden. Having a natural attraction for a wide variety of musical styles, Marc has also collaborated – onstage or on CD – with several Canadian popular recording artists including Ginette Reno, Sylvain Cossette, Isabelle Boulay, and Patsy Gallant. Three of Marc’s albums have received Gold Certification in Canada: Apres Nous contains both classic and original French songs; A Napoli is dedicated to Neopolitan songs from Italy; and Le Premier Noël, an album of mostly French traditional Christmas songs. His Tenor Arias won the 2010 Felix Award for classical vocal album of the year.

Stef Lang

Stef Lang, a Canadian of proud Eurasian heritage (German-Filipina), was born in Nanaimo BC, but grew up in Ladysmith (also on Vancouver Island). At 17, she relocated to Vancouver to pursue a career in music. She won a contest in 2006 by local radio station The Beat FM and was offered a four-song record deal with producers Mike James (Kelly Rowland) and Troy Samson (Kreesha Turner, Snoop Dogg). In the space of four years, Lang had written over 250 songs and released a couple of EPs. She was eventually signed by Nettwerk and released a digital album in 2010. Besides having an amazing voice and composing her own songs, Stef Lang learned both piano and guitar; she has all the ingredients for a credible superstar. Thus far, her best-known songs are “Mr. Immature” and “Slave 2 Love”. In 2012, she released the new single “Paper Doll” from EP Fighting Mirrors which received radio airply.  She was featured on 2 tracks off Delerium’s album Music Box Opera and released her second LP Self, followed by extended play works.

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