Maple Blazers of 2014

Andee

andee3Hailing from Quebec City suburbs; touring Asia as member of all-girl group Akasha; performing with Lionel Richie and finishing in the Top 5 of talent show Star Académie; drawing comparisons to Adele; featured on double platinum and platinum compilation albums; appearing in the bilingual versions of Hedley’s “Kiss You Inside Out” and Shawn Desman’s “Dum Da Dum”; getting signed by Universal Music Canada; teaming with Simple Plan songwriter and producer Sébastien Lefebvre; launching her career in English; contributing track “We Are Gold” to the CBC’s coverage of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi; seeing her formal debut single, “Never Gone” reach the Billboard Canadian Hot 100’s Top 40; touring with Demi Lovato; and co-writing “Sorries” with Pink; Andrée-Anne Leclerc, now known as Andee, is all set for an illustrious career.

A Tribe Called Red

A Tribe Called RedThis Ottawa trio created new genre of music “powwow step” by combining modern electronic dance music with Aboriginal chants and drumming. With a passionate, growing fan base and popularity on the club circuit, the group’s second album Nation II Nation saw its renown skyrocket. A Tribe Called Red declined entry into the JUNO Aboriginal Album department for 2014 taking the risk of going straight for mainstream category Breakthrough Group of the Year, normally heavily dominated by White popular rock bands. Needless to say, the group won.

Crystal Shawanda

CCrystal Shawandarystal Shawanda was born in the Wikwemikong Native Reservation which is situated on Manitoulin Island (Lake Huron, southwest of Sudbury). She is of proud Ojibwa heritage. Signed in 2007 to RCA/Sony (Nashville), she launched a career in country music. Her debut album Dawn of a New Day entered the Billboard U.S. Top Country Albums chart at #16 becoming the highest charted album by a full-blooded Canadian First Nations country artist in the Nielsen SoundScan era. The album landed four songs on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100. Crystal’s album Just Like You won a JUNO Award. In 2014, she switched genres releasing a stunning blues album, The Whole World’s Got the Blues.

Kiesza

KieszaCalgary’s Kiesza topped the UK Singles chart before most Canadians had heard of her. Retro 90s dance charmer “Hideaway” eventually hit platinum in Canada helped in part by a concept music video of bustin’ moves on Brooklyn streets, shot in one take. “Giant In My Heart” and an EP quickly followed, and by the end of the year, Kiesza’s debut album Sound of a Woman, hit record shops. Live performances of dancing while singing without running out of breath on Letterman, the MMVAs, and other spectacles anchored her credibility.

MAGIC!

MagicAfter songs he produced won Grammy awards in the U.S., Canada’s Nasri Atweh (of production duo The Messengers) formed reggae pop band MAGIC! with his Toronto buddies. Debut single “Rude” became the biggest Canadian song of 2014 globally. It was discovered first in Australia and climbed the charts to #3 before most Canadians knew they had a new band. “Rude” topped the charts in both the U.K. and U.S. At home, it was certified multiplatinum and became only the 3rd song from a home-grown artist to spend over a year on the Hot 100. With the release of the band’s debut album, two further songs made the weekly Top 40. Album Primary Colours followed in 2016 which spawned further hits for the group.

Serge Fiori

Serge FioriIn the 1970s, Serge Fiori was lead singer of multiplatinum progressive rock band Harmonium. After the band split in 1978, he teamed up with Richard Séguin on an album. In the 80s he began writing songs for other artists, most notably Diane Dufresne and Nanette Workman and released his own solo album in 1986. He also penned the theme song for internationally renowned Canadian comedy production Just For Laughs. In the 90s, Serge began scoring movie soundtracks and also dabbled in new age music. In 2014 he made a huge comeback releasing a self-titled LP that struck platinum and placed a track in the Billboard Canadian Hot 100. It was voted Album of the Year via a poll conducted by the CBC.

Shawn Mendes

Shawn MendesThis breakout sparkly-eyed teen sensation from Pickering, ON posted a six-second video on Vine that turned him into a household name. He won Ryan Seacrest’s (American DJ) Best Cover Song competition and was signed to Island Records. Shawn’s debut single, “Life of the Party,” reached #1 on iTunes on the night of June 25-26 and became a Top 10 hit on the Canadian Hot 100. In the United States, Shawn became the youngest artist to debut in the top 25 with a first song on the Billboard Hot 100. With millions of Twitter followers, a 2015 tour with American superstar Taylor Swift, and a debut LP that topped the album charts and spawned further hit singles, he is on his way to a big career. In 2016, Shawn released second album Illuminate with further global hit songs. He performed at a number of international awards shows.

Tanya Tagaq

Tanya TagaqRegarded by many as one of the world’s most talented voice musicians, Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq has worked with Iceland’s Björk. She hails from Cambridge Bay, NU and released her 4th album in 2014, Animism, chock full of eclectic instrumentation. The critically acclaimed album nabbed the Polaris Music Prize given to the year’s most artistic work. Her mesmerizing performance at the gala, given in conjunction with scrolling names of missing and murdered Aboriginal women, brought down the house. Tanya is a multiple JUNO nominee.