Natasha Zimbaro Drops Debut EP

From the city of Maple Ridge, which lies within Metro Vancouver, comes a country recording artist who recently dropped her debut EP, an eponymous one. The six-track disc follows the release of single “Rebound” last October. Her name is Natasha Zimbaro, and if her name or face seems familiar, that may be because she was a finalist in Simon Cowell’s X Factor UK in 2011. Moreover, she was one of three in pop group Prty H3ro who placed two singles in the Billboard Hot 100, “Life of the Party” and “Young & Shameless”. As a soloist, Natasha has decided to return to her country roots, the genre she embraced when she became a teenager.

Before we tell you how much we love this treat of an EP, let us state that the country music scene needs Natasha Zimbaro. One of the reasons for Shania Twain’s success was that she made the genre accessible to a broader audience by toning down the twang and making it fun-loving. She gave it some oomph (for lack of a better word). Natasha does that in spades. She has a fresh, youthful style and injects a wallop of energy into the genre. Picture Back to the Future III’s Doc Brown tossing some Presto logs into the locomotive boiler. That’s what Natasha does here. She elevates country music to a dynamic realm. She has a great voice and the music is fab. Hoping the very best for this brightest of shining stars.  iTunes

14 Canadians Who Debuted on the Hot 100 in 2016

The Billboard Canadian Hot 100, the definitive chart for measuring the relative success of songs from week to week, welcomed 14 Canadian artists for the first time in 2016. The chart, which combines measurements of digital purchases of tracks, radio airplay, and streaming data (the latter a recent addition), launched in June 2007 replacing the old, highly problematic Nielsen SoundScan charts which measured the sale of CD singles only. For one of the thousands upon thousands of Canadian artists to make an appearance on the chart, it is a very difficult task. Nevertheless, while the chart was dominated by all kinds of foreign artists and Canadian A-listers like Drake, Justin Bieber, and The Weeknd, 14 managed to climb in. Some may have lasted for only a week and some may have gotten in via a credited feature in a track, buy hey they did it, and it’s a huge accomplishment! Who are these 14 artists? Where are they from? What kind of music do they make? We intend in this post to put faces to the names. Here they are in alphabetical order. Watch for some of these slayers in 2017.

Bit Funk

bit-funk

Now based in New York, this Halifax lad is a producer, remixer and DJ. He is making his mark on the contemporary club scene with his EDM wizardry. In late 2015, Bit Funk released his pop crossover single “Off the Ground”. It gained traction on streaming services, gaining 4 million on Spotify, and the MV did well on YouTube. Some mainstream radio stations picked it up, and it managed to squeak itself into the Hot 100.

Bobby Bazini

bobby-bazini

This hot soul singer is known throughout the land. While scoring a pair of platinum albums and four JUNO nominations, a hit single was sure to come at some point. Voila! In 2016, “C’est La Vie” off his third album was picked up by radio, especially AC and Hot AC stations, and rocketed up to the top 20 at iTunes. It is Bazini’s first Hot 100 charting single. There will be many more to come.

Delaney Jane

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Delaney is from Toronto and began making music with Shaun Frank. They teamed up with international chart topping Canadian duo DVBBS in track “La La Land” which made the Hot 100. Delaney is working on her debut EP, and collaborations with other DJs are in store.

Jonathan Roy

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The star hockey player now has a star singer son. The Roys are awesome. Jonathan’s launch was helped by mentor Corey Hart, and his delicious single “Daniella Denmark” popped into the charts in February. He’s from the suburbs of Quebec City.

Kai

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One of the biggest songs of the year, “Never Be Like You” peaked at #21 and stayed on the chart for 28 weeks. The EDM track is from Australia’s Flume and features Toronto singer Kai. She had previously collaborated with Adventure Club, Diplo, Skrillex, and Childish Gambino. She also wrote the song “Sweet Talker” for Jessie J. But, of course, Kai’s big breakthrough came with the Flume track. It is now up for a Grammy Award.

Leonard Cohen

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Leonard Cohen? Yes. Remember that the Canadian Hot 100 has been around only since mid-2007. Following his heartbreaking death, Leonard’s song “Hallelujah” became a hit at iTunes and undoubtedly received some radio spins. It debuted on the chart at #17 remaining for just the one week. The same week, “You Want It Darker” from his last studio album charted at #73. It is a nice way to cap off the Montrealer’s legacy.

Lucky Rose

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Vincent Carrier, a.k.a. Lucky Rose, is a DJ/producer from Quebec City who specializes in tropical pop. Lucky released his first official single “The Way You Want Me” featuring Yan Etchevary, and it was picked up by the Virgin radio group across Canada. It made the Hot 100 in February.

Michelle Treacy

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This youthful star from Ottawa is red hot. She was selected to perform with Lady Gaga and was quickly signed by Sony. Michelle released her debut single “Armageddon” which remained on the Hot 100 for several weeks. Its music video racked up 300,000 views by the end of the year. Keep your eyes on this singer!

PartyNextDoor

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Being the first one signed to Drake’s OVO Record Label doesn’t hurt when it comes to breaking out in the urban music market. This Mississaugan’s real name is Jahron Anthony Brathwaite. He made the chart a few times through the year including as a collaborator. His first charting single (which incidentally featured Drake) was “Come and See Me” which peaked at #73.

Ruth B

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The most successful newcomer in 2016 was Edmonton’s Ruth B who scored a triple platinum single for her delicate piano ballad “Lost Boy”. It was on the Hot 100 for 28 weeks peaking at #14. She may just be western Canada’s answer to Alessia Cara.

Shaun Frank

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Shaun is the Toronto based DJ/producer involved in the aforementioned Delaney Jane and DVBBS track “La La Land”. He has done work with the likes of Borgeous, Kiesza, Down with Webster, and The Chainsmokers.

Sleepy Tom

sleepy-tom

Speaking of EDM crafters, Vancouver’s Sleepy Tom (Cam Tatham, born in Squamish, BC) teamed up with Diplo to score the charting single “Be Right There”. It garnered 160 million streams worldwide and went gold in Britain peaking at #8 on the official British charts! Sleepy has worked with Zeds Dead and Martin Solveig.

The Strumbellas

the-strumbellas

Another of the bigger successes of 2016 was Toronto roots leaning, JUNO award winning group The Strumbellas. “Spirits” peaked at #23 and went platinum. It also saw big success internationally. The photo above is the band being presented with a gold award by Germany.

Yan Etchevary

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Yan, from The Magdalen Islands, was featured in the aforementioned single “The Way You Want Me” by Lucky Rose. The song was included in Sony compilation album Just the Hits 2016.

Gelsea Mae Set For Big Things

gelsea-mae-need-you-nowIf ever there was a superstar in the making and one to watch for in 2017, Gelsea Mae is it. This multi-talent grew up on Vancouver Island studying classical piano at the Victoria Conservatory of Music and taught herself the guitar. Moving to Vancouver, she got into photography, and her work was scooped up by Cosmopolitan mag. Acting jobs came knocking. She landed roles in TV series Witches of East End and Rush. In 2017, she will star in thriller series The Arrangement. Gelsea’s feature film debut was in 2015’s Beeba Boys directed by Oscar nominee Deepa Mehta. In 2017, she will star in comedy The Fusion Generation.

Of course, we are most interested in Mae’s musical pursuits. A song of hers was featured in the movie All Things Valentine, and one of her covers attracted praises from Meghan Trainor. Now, Gelsea has teamed up with top producer Ryan Stewart (Carly Rae Jepsen, Hedley, Tyler Shaw, Victoria Duffield) to create her official debut single “Need You Now” which has received radio spins across the nation. Gelsea Mae recently launched its beautiful neon-themed music video which we have embedded below along with links to her social network sites.  iTunes

 

The Katherines and Frederick Are Better Off Now

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Album To Bring You My Heart is set for release January 13, 2017. It will be the debut long play from Vancouver alt-pop female trio The Katherines, signed to 604 Records. Ahead of this highly anticipated disc, the group has launched beautiful track “Better Off Now” featuring Frederick as a single complete with a music video which we have embedded below. Frederick is the alias of Colin Janz, son of North Vancouver 80s pop icon Paul Janz. Frederick released an exceptionally brilliant alternative pop EP back in 2008 called Artisan Kane. The Katherines are Kate Kurdyak, Lauren Kurdyak, and Kaitlyn Hansen-Boucher and work with musicians Liam McKeeWright (guitar), Mike Young (bass), and Johnny Andrews (drums).  iTunes

Let’s Give It Up for The Beaches

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Nielsen Music features Toronto’s The Beaches this week. The all-female rock band consists, according to the official biography, of “good girls gone great … their sassy, saw-toothed alt-rock songs recall … Metric and The Runaways and writhe, snarl and spit the kind of romantic defiance, youth rebellion and peer solidarity that makes these females such a formidable force for rock.” Single “Give It Up,” according to Nielsen, is bubbling under both the Modern Rock Airplay as well as the Emerging Artists charts. Members are sisters Jordan (bass) and Kylie (guitars) as well as Eliza (drums) and Leandra (keys). The group released a pair of independent post punk / new wave EPs and now has been signed by Island Records (UMG) with “Give It Up” being the band’s debut major label single. We embed the music video below, and you can find the song at iTunes.

The Black Moon Rises with Amaara

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New Canadian singer and dream pop specialist Amaara (Kaelen Amara Ohm), based in Toronto, is gearing up for release of an EP in early 2017, and she has launched her debut single “Black Moon” complete with a music video that stands as one of the year’s best. Filled with mystical themes and dark ambience, find Amaara near a misty forest joined by some real animals—horse, wolf dog, and owl—lightning, and a rising supermoon. The MV was shot in Alberta in June.  iTunes

Rise Up with Liz Loughrey

liz-loughrey-rise-up-2016Canadian singer Liz Loughrey recently released her fourth digital single “Rise Up”. Though bearing the same title as The Parachute Club hit, it is an original piece. “Rise Up” is the heralding track of the Torontonian soul-pop marvel’s upcoming EP and burbles along nicely through reggae tinged territory. The singer hopes the song will inspire us all to rise up for positive change in our local communities. Liz is currently visiting schools across Canada to talk to youth about doing so. She also hopes people will share stories on social media about making a difference under hashtag #RiseUpMovement. The “Rise Up” song was written and produced in Miami, USA by Loughrey, Adrian X (The Weeknd, Drake, Kylie Minogue), and Supa Dups (Drake, Party Next Door, Mary J Blige).  iTunes

Michelle Treacy: From Lady Gaga Duet to Debut Single

michelle treacy - armageddonOur radar screen picked up a new major blip, a very bright one! We are excited to tell you about Michelle Treacy. She’s a 20-year-old who hails from the nation’s capital. In 2014, Michelle, attending Lady Gaga’s concert at Montreal’s Bell Centre, was brought onstage to sing a duet with her. Her brother filmed the scene and had to apologize for the shaky recording because he was bawling the whole time. Michelle is now signed to major label Sony Music and working on her debut album. Treacy’s debut single “Armageddon” is out. It was produced by Canadian whizzes Todd Clark and Steve Kozmeniuk (Phillip Phillips, Kendrick Lamar). The song is currently getting added to radio and at #47 on Nielsen BDS. The national broadcaster featured Michelle in an article July 11.  We have embedded the official audio of “Armageddon” below. You want talent? You’ve got it!  iTunes

Three New Singers to Brighten Up Your Summer

3 new singers

Avery Raquel

Teen prodigy Avery Raquel is a big reason why Canada is a world leader of jazz music. One of the cool things about the genre is that it doesn’t matter how old you are; singers and musicians of all ages, from junior to senior, are welcome in the spotlight. Avery released an astonishingly good vocal jazz album of covers in early 2016 called Life Lessons which matches her singing talent with very professional and gorgeous arrangements. We embed a video of performance snippets below. You can check out her album on iTunes.

Rosemary Fairweather

Little is known about this independent artist who has thus far released three singles in the underground depths. We do know that she is from Toronto and is getting started on social media with her website in the early stages of development. Her most recent single “Moonlight” is a breathtaking electronic pop song of dreamy cloud surfing. We embed the SoundCloud below. Find a copy of the song on iTunes.

Vanessa Piunno

This Montreal-based teenage singer was selected to be the voice of the latest song from popular DJ MC Mario. While Mario has sold 3.5 million records, Vanessa is at the cusp of stardom. Having already appeared in commercials for Canadian Tire and in a music video from Snow Patrol (!), Vanessa takes the mic in “Dreamers” which is primed to become the anthem of summer 2016. Have a listen below and find the track on iTunes.

Shane Harte: Teen Star On the Rise

shane harte - left standing“Left Standing” from Brampton, Ontario, 19-year-old Shane Harte is gaining traction at radio. The single was released back in November 2015 through Cardinal Point Music but is finally seeing the light of the airwaves. Shane’s May 2015 song “Let You Know” garnered 100k plus YouTube views. In addition to a singer and songwriter, this talented teen has had roles in TV series Lost & Found Music Studios, The Next Step, and Good Witch. In 2013, Harte was one of the youth choir singers in Classified and David Myles’ quadruple platinum single “Inner Ninja”. We have embedded the “Left Standing” MV below.  iTunes

Shane Harte:     Facebook     Twitter     Website

Caveboy’s Debut EP

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caveboyMichelle, Isabelle, and Lana are marvellous Montreal female trio Caveboy (formerly Diamond Bones), creators of superb synthrock songs. Self-titled, six-track debut EP has hit the shops. Caveboy includes some dreamy, shoegazing, and funky grooves that add extra gusto to the already dark, dense, addictive sound. The EP was produced by Patrick Krief, guitarist of The Dears, and mixed by Jace Lasek, of Besnard Lakes. Closing track “Muscle Memory” is not a cover of the LIGHTS song but an instrumental spaceflight trip that caps off a great disc.  iTunes

New Teen Sensation Lenni-Kim Asks “Why Lose Everything?”

Lenni-Kim LalondeThe Anglophone world has received teen stars Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, and brand new one Alessia Cara. It is time for the Francophone realm to have one too. We are super excited to introduce 14-year-old Lenni-Kim (Lanlande) from Montreal who has topped the iTunes musique francophone singles chart with “Pourquoi tout perdre”. Lenni-Kim started out as an actor and is excited to be releasing his Louis Côté produced debut album due out by the end of the year. Like many in his generation, he attracted a following through posting videos of covers. His teaming with Phoebe Koyabe on the cover of Ellie Goulding’s “Love Me Like You Do”, for which an actual music video was made, has accumulated nearly half a million views.

LK’s formal debut single “Pourquoi tout perdre” (i.e. Why Lose Everything) was launched in honour of World Suicide Prevention Day. Lenni-Kim strives to bring happiness to people wherever he can. At this point, we cannot say whether his album will be a bilingual or purely Franco work, but it does not matter too much to us. This young lad is fire. We wish him all the best.  iTunes

Teen Star Charlie Storwick Takes on Ghosts

charlie - ghostsAt 12 years old, Calgary’s Charlie (Storwick) was crowned winner of YTV’s The Next Star Season 4. Now at 15, she has launched formal debut single “Ghosts”. It has received a feature in this week’s Nielsen newsletter. The song is moving up the Hot AC chart and bubbling under CHR and Emerging Artists. “Ghosts” was released through Vancouver’s Westsonic Music, and for it Charlie was named this month’s Bell Future Star. We wish this very talented artist great success and have embedded the pineapple inspired MV below.  iTunes

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?

ALESSIA CARA

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 PIRATE

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.

FANCESCO YATES

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 ALICE

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 BAZINET

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 HELMAN

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 HOOK

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.

YOAN

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.

Three Country Stars on the Rise

3 rising stars of country

Whether the name’s Alee or Alessia, Cohle or Nicole, Canada’s rising stars of country are all worth a listen.

‘I was never much into country music. Aside from the occasional number, country music just never hit the spot for me. But everything changed the first time I heard Kira Isabella.

‘The Ottawa native’s first single “Love Me Like That” caught me off guard. “What’s this?” It was refined and beautiful and sent a few chills down the spine. From there, I began checking out other modern Canadian country artists and found music of exceptional quality from the likes of Gord Bamford, MacKenzie Porter, Dean Brody, Lindi Ortega, High Valley and the like. There was something refreshingly different about Canadian country. Jess Moskaluke’s “Good Lovin'”, if there ever was a country song that made you want to get up and dance, stands as one of the greatest pieces of music in any genre in the past five years. I then realized why the Canadian country scene was one that has attracted people of every demographic.’–Shawn PT

Beneath the surface of A-listers are the rising stars who are making notable contributions to the pool of rich Canadian country and should brighten up the summer. Below are profiles on three, all from different provinces. Wilf Carter would be proud.

LISA NICOLE

Lisa is a professional musician thanks to Selkirk College. She comes from Castlegar, BC and her sound leans more towards the country rock flank. She released a single last year called “Do You Like That”. We have embedded her MV for “It Got Ugly” below which was very well done with a bit of a western shoot out. Website.

ALEE

Alee whose real name is Alexandra Adamoski is from Edmonton. Her upbeat style can be enjoyed on her brand new EP Say Hello to Goodbye. She co-wrote all its tracks. We have embedded the MV for “Moonshine” below to give you a taste. Website.

ALESSIA COHLE

Alessia hails from Mississauga. She is brand new at the game releasing her debut EP Let’s Get Gone last month. “Sunday Shoes” is very catchy country pop. We have embedded the MV below. Website.