2015 saw a Canadian music renaissance. While big international hits from Canadian artists are not new, and certainly took place in 2014, 2015 witnessed a full-blown Canadian invasion. Artists who had enjoyed some success abroad in the past slaughtered the charts, and new faces came out of nowhere to quickly establish themselves. Canadian artists were embraced not only by The United States but in the tough European market and in the often roughest of all markets, Canada itself. Established artists whose new music was ignored by broadcasters were embraced by the critics, and those rejected by one region were lapped up by another. Everyone was a winner in 2015 in some way.
Most Successful Singles
It was remarkable to see all top four singles and seven of the top 10 on the Billboard U.S. Hot 100 Canadian ones, songs by Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, Drake, Shawn Mendes, and Alessia Cara. Justin Bieber became the first Canadian artist in history to score three #1 songs in The United Kingdom. Francesco Yates, featured in Robin Schulz’s “Sugar” championed the charts in a number of European countries including France and Germany. Carly Rae Jepsen’s “I Really Like You” was the top song by a foreign artist in the world’s second largest music market, Japan, at 6th of the year on the Billboard Japanese Hot 100.
In Canada itself, four songs from domestic artists topped the charts through the year, Justin Bieber’s “What Do You Mean” and “Sorry” and The Weeknd’s “The Hills” and “Can’t Feel My face”. The latter was the most successful on the year-end Canadian Hot 100 at #8. A total of 21 songs involving Canadian artists made that chart up from 19 last year. On the weekly charts, 109 songs involving Canadian artists debuted on the Hot 100 (95 in 2014). Of these, 31 reached the Top 40 (2014 saw 22), nine the Top 10 (five last year), and four #1 (none in 2014). Five songs that reached their chart peaks in 2015 were certified double platinum by the end of the year.
The most successful Franco song on Billboard was “Oublie-Moi” by Coeur de Pirate reaching #62, though the song had an Anglo version entitled “Carry On”. The biggest Franco only single on Billboard was Kevin Bazinet’s Jusqu’ou tu m’aimes, #76. Radio station CKOI which has published year-end Top 50 charts since 1976, lists Jean Leloup’s “Paradis City” as the biggest Canadian Franco song of the year at #5 overall.
Most Successful Albums
The only album released in 2015 to be certified multiplatinum by the end of the year, from either a domestic or international artist, was Justin Bieber’s Purpose (2x platinum). All 18 tracks on the deluxe version of the album appeared on the Hot 100. The year-end Billboard Canada albums chart has the top 2015 release as Drake’s If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late at #5 overall. Ten albums by Canadians topped the albums chart through the year and ten 2015 releases from Canadians made the year-end Billboard Top 50. Five were certified platinum and seven gold by year end. A total of 49 Canadian albums debuted in the Billboard Top 10 through the year, 22 by Québec artists, 15 from Ontario artists, nine from British Columbians, and three from Albertans. Many music critics around the world included Grimes’ Art Angels and Carly Rae Jepsen’s Emotion on their best of the year lists.
A number of first-time charting artists appeared in 2015. Some were new and some have been around a while. Artists who scored their first Top 40 hits during the year were Francesco Yates, Shawn Hook, Scott Helman, Jocelyn Alice, Alessia Cara, Ria Mae, and Coleman Hell. Steven Lee Olsen scored his first gold single.
The Canadian Music Blog added mini-profiles for six artists based on growing popularity or significant success in 2015: Alessia Cara, Francesco Yates, and The Weeknd for their international breakout success, Jess Moskaluke for her continuing triumphs as a female country artist, Shawn Hook for his platinum breakthrough domestically, and Yoan for his debut platinum album.
The ADISQ Félix Awards honouring the best mainly in Canada’s Francophone music released in 2014-2015 were held in the fall in Montréal. Jean Leloup made a big comeback in 2015, and was the big winner with five awards for album À Paradis City: Songwriter of the Year, Male Artist, Critical Acclaim, Best Rock Album, and track “Paradis City” won Song of the Year. Ariane Moffatt won Pop Album of the Year for 22h22 and Female Artist of the Year.
The JUNO awards were held in March in Hamilton to recognize the best in 2014 music. Alanis Morissette was inducted into the Music Hall of Fame. Dance music’s Kiesza won Breakthrough Artist of the Year. The Weeknd won Artist of the Year. Popular Problems by Leonard Cohen won Album of the Year. The Single of the Year Award went to MAGIC! for “Rude”. The 2016 JUNOs recognizing the best of 2015 Canadian music will be held April 3 in Calgary.
Canadian Music Blog Picks
Through the year, the Canadian Music Blog kept track of all new releases by Canadian artists and presented weekly summaries. A total of 661 long-play albums, 152 extended plays, and a number of stand-alone singles and music videos were reviewed.
At year-end, The Canadian Music Blog revealed its 2015 picks in lists ranking its favourite EPs (10), music videos (10), albums (25), and songs (30). The Canadian Music Blog declared Placebo by Alexe Gaudreault as EP of the Year, “I Really Like You” by Carly Rae Jepsen as Music Video of the Year, “Spotlight” by Every Last Chance featuring Marissa Dattoli as Song of the Year, and Emotion by Carly Rae Jepsen as Album of the Year.
Nods for international music were given as well: “Moments” by China’s G.E.M. as International Music Video of the Year, “My Kind” by The United States’ Hilary Duff as International Song of the Year, and Lucid Dreaming by Sweden/Australia’s Say Lou Lou as International Album of the Year.
Polls were created based on the most successful Canadian artists and their works in 2015 and CMB readers invited to vote for their favourites. Voting was open daily through the month of December. Alessia Cara was chosen as 2015’s Best New Artist, Coeur de Pirate as Best Artist, MAGIC!’s “No Way No” as the year’s Best Single, and Yoan’s self-titled LP as the year’s Best Album.