2015 Is Awash in Rookie Power!

The year’s best-selling Canadian album is an artist’s debut and a total of seven singers have scored their first major hits: two Francophone artists have made the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time and five Anglophones have broken into the Top 40. It would appear that 2015 belongs in large degree to the rookies, although some have been at it for a while and seen previous success in other ways and regions. This post will introduce you to this fine, fresh Canadian talent. Who are these stars? What is their story? Where do they come from? What is their style of choice?


It’s always exciting to see a teen star. The new single “Here” from Toronto’s Alessia Cara has smashed into the Billboard Top 40. While the song contains a vibe that will bring Portishead to mind, this R&B singer is flooring most with her vocal talent. Is she Canada’s answer to Ariana Grande? A younger version of The Weeknd? However you may wish to think of her, this girl has talent seeping through her veins and is set to conquer the masses with her upcoming album. This summer she will be giggin’ it States-side and playing shows in the UK after that.


coeur-de-pirateWe can hardly call Beatrice Martin a.k.a. Coeur de Pirate a rookie. The native of suburban Montreal has scored platinum albums and big hits internationally, but 2015 saw her make the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time thanks to single “Carry On”. She has also released a Franco version, “Oublie-Moi”. All indications point to her vaulting over to the mainstream in Canada. She has a new album in the works. Coeur de Pirate made her mark performing stripped down piano and voice only tracks but is beefing things up for a full-blown CHR sound.


Francesco-YatesGotta love that hair. It’s either natural or he has an ace stylist. Francesco is another teen star from Toronto and shared emcee duties last Canada Day with Andee in the nation’s capital. His raw talent has impressed Pharrell Williams who said he’s going to be a huge star and was … happy … to produce Yates’ debut album which is scheduled to drop August 21. His groovy 70s style track “Better To Be Loved” cracked the Billboard Top 40. Francesco is featured in an upcoming single by German deep house DJ Robin Schulz called “Sugar”.


jocelyn aliceThe Calgary electropop artist recently broke into the Top 40 with the year’s biggest offbeat hit “Jackpot”. Release of her album Summer Life has been postponed. Hopefully it will come out by summer’s end, else she’ll have to change the title. On the other hand, rumour has it that the big record companies are all fighting over her: Island Records, Universal Music Canada, Warner Music Canada, Sony Music Canada, Disruptor Records, and Fontana North. She gets to auction her talent off to the highest bidder while working on her next single!


kevin bazinetKevin is soul superstar Bobby Bazini’s little brother. He was off to a good start releasing an album in 2009 which opened some doors in France. EMI was interested in him but of course the record label folded, and things were thrown into chaos. Kevin took time out to get into meditation, make attempts to tackle anxiety, and he quit smoking. He hoped to get back in the game by participating in The Voice this year, and … he won! Kevin released the single “Jusqu’ou tu m’aimes” which made it into the weekly Billboard Hot 100.


scott-helmanOur third Toronto teen star made the Billboard Top 40 with “Bungalow”, and the single was declared gold certified just this morning by Music Canada. Scott was one of the performers at this year’s Much Music Video Awards, his being nominated for an award. He’s just 19 years old and released mini album Augusta this year, named after the street on which he played his first shows and wrote many of his songs. With Warner Music, he worked with producer Thomas “Tawgs” Salter who has worked with a number of artists including LIGHTS.


Shawn HookShawn is from small town BC. He released album Cosmonaut and the Girl with EMI. It spawned a couple of minor hits. With the changeover to Universal, he began working with new co-writers and producers. “Million Ways” was the single that got the buzz going, but it was “Sound of Your Heart” that secured his breakthrough. It made it up to #23 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified gold. His second album Analog Love came out recently. Shawn is a highly skilled pianist and solid songwriter. His main style of choice is electropop.


YoanYoan was last year’s winner of The Voice and has a stunning baritone. His self-titled country album is the year’s best-seller from a Canadian, now at 100,000 copies and platinum certified. The album contains songs, many of which are covers, in both official languages, mostly English, as well as duets with high profile artists Brett Kissel and Isabelle Boulay. It is remarkable for a debut album to outsell works from the veterans, especially given the lack of cross-Canada radio airplay, but his voice is so delicious and refreshing, we can see why.