Here’s a question: What happened on October 14 last year? It was quite an uneventful day in the news—both nationally and globally. CNN may as well have gone on holiday or … changed its name to CMM, for a planted seed bearing such initials began to sprout, eventually growing into a tree that spread its branches around the world and brought joy to millions of people.
Mission, BC’s Carly Rae Jepsen who had enjoyed two GOLD singles, two JUNO nominations, and two Top 40 hits had recorded a new song she had written. This new single was released on September 20, 2011. Jepsen was excited, as what started out as a folk-pop piece was tweaked in the recording studio. The result was a fresh, new sound. It bore no resemblance to the twangy, squeaky acoustics of rural music. It refused to embrace the rapping and warbling of so-called urban music. And it shut its doors to the over-simplified formulaic pop ditties made south of the border. It was a sophisticated, exciting pure pop sound that was very Canadian.
On October 14, 2011, one year ago today, “Call Me Maybe” entered the Billboard Canadian Hot 100.
It was a very humble beginning. While new songs by Daughtry and Taio Cruz debuted on the same chart inside the Top 40, and Maroon 5’s unbeatable “Moves like Jagger” was on top, Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” stumbled in at #97 perhaps wondering if it was welcome. The following week, things were looking promising as the song climbed up to #81. The third week was the most exciting as the song enjoyed its biggest climb, lunging ahead 24 places to #57. The song was no doubt being added to radio station playlists, especially in western Canada.
From October 28, “Call Me Maybe” began a slow and steady climb. When it was #43 on the Billboard chart in November, Jepsen launched a mini-tour of western Canada to promote the song. After the shows, on November 25, “Call Me Maybe” hit #35 and the following week slipped down to #37. It looked like it was all over. But Carly and her team were not willing to be satisfied with another song that just made it into the Top 40. They set their sights higher and worked on creating a catchy music video.
The music video for “Call Me Maybe” was released on December 9, and the song turned around and began to climb again, albeit slowly: #32, #28, #24, and #22 on December 30. And on this very day something very unexpected happened.
Carly’s sister very excitedly told her that, on Twitter, Justin Bieber had mentioned the song. Carly’s first response was that, as many of Bieber’s fans name their Twitter account “Justin Bieber”, the tweet was probably from one of them or one of his fan sites. Her sister insisted that it was from the Biebs’ himself, so Carly checked it out. What she saw, to use her own word, “floored” her:
“Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen is perhaps the catchiest song I’ve ever heard.
Carly tweeted back to Bieber, “Justin Bieber, you are the sweetest!”
Bieber’s girlfriend, recording artist Selena Gomez, launched a tweet as well saying that the two of them had not stopped listening to her song. Bieber then uploaded a video on YouTube in which he and friends dance to the song.
After the Bieber tweet, “Call Me Maybe” rose only 1 position—to #21. But the following week, January 13, 2012, it broke into the Top 10, was the 9th biggest in the country, then #4, #3, and on February 3, it hit #1.
As fate would have it, Carly was signed by Bieber’s management team, and the song was released internationally. While “Call Me Maybe” had been the Canadian song of the winter, it became to Britons the song of the spring; it debuted on the British charts at #1. Its climb in the United States, much like Canada, was slower but it eventually made it to #1 where it remained for an astounding 9 consecutive weeks, becoming that country’s song of the summer. Promotions took a while to manifest themselves in Japan, but once they did, the song topped the Japanese charts becoming their song of the autumn.
Amidst the whirlwind, on June 21, 2012, Music Canada announced via multi-platinum certifications, that “Call Me Maybe” had domestically outsold every other Canadian single in history.
Today, October 14, 2012, “Call Me Maybe” is still on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 celebrating a full year on the chart. And Carly herself is, with Justin Bieber, in the middle of a world tour of arena concerts whose tickets across North America sold out in less than 30 minutes. One year ago today, Carly would probably never have imagined playing before a crowd of 19,000 people at Rogers Arena, home of the Vancouver Canucks. But, heck, she did it!
“Camouflar” by GALAXIE
Galaxie is a rock band from Montreal with current lineup Fred Fortin, Pierre Girard, Daniel Thouin, and Olivier Langevin. Last year, they released their third album Tigre et diesel which got shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize (Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs ended up winning). The classic-style sci-fi music video for their song “Camouflar” has been nominated for a Felix at this year’s awards. What can I say? It’s very, very cool.
Check out their website: http://www.galaxie.mu/
All studio albums released by Quebec’s ingenious Ariane Moffatt have nabbed the Felix for Pop-Rock Album of the Year. She’s even won a JUNO. And, she has a brand new album coming out soon. Lead single “Mon Corps” is receiving heavy airplay on mainstream radio stations in Montreal. It’s a brilliant electronic rock tune, a little reminiscent in style to Marianne Faithful’s “Broken English”. You can listen to the song at her website HERE and download from iTunes HERE. To promote her new album, she’ll be putting on shows in the province’s major cities in February and March.
Edmonton is proud of its Oilers, the team that, in the 1980s, showcased the skills of the greatest hockey player of all-time. There is something else of which Edmontonians can be proud. In 1985, a baby girl was born in the city to a Canadian father and Jamaican mother. Her name is Kreesha Turner. In 2008, she put Edmonton on the musical map, scoring a platinum single “Don’t Call Me Baby” off her debut album Passion. She received two JUNO nominations.
In November 2011, Turner released her second studio album called Tropic Electric. Single “I Could Stay” reveals she has been working hard in creating a very fresh-sounding style of music with strong bass and a killer beat. We’ll let this fantastic song speak for itself by embedding the official music video below. You can download the song from iTunes HERE. And don’t forget to check out Kreesha’s website HERE.
There were many great songs that came out in 2011, coming in an assortment of various genres and styles. After reviewing an igloo full of Canuck tunes released through the year, we narrowed them down to our five favourites, and only one of them was a hit single. There were dozens of Canadian songs we liked, but these five we found especially exquisite. We present this list to you, not in any spirit of authority but of sharing. And we’d love to continue hearing about your favourites. We’ll begin each entry with a lyric line to give you a chance to guess what the song is.
5. There’s a white flag on the wind
This Montreal man, who has been with us since the beginning of the new millennium, has won half a dozen Juno awards and scored a platinum album. His style of rock leans more toward the bluesy side of the spectrum. He was born in Canada after his South African parents immigrated. He was involved with a couple of bands in the 90s and then recorded a slow-selling independent release which was finally re-released by MapleMusic bringing him into the limelight. He is trilingual, speaking English, French, and Spanish. This year, he released his fourth studio album called Collider and added “Band” to his name. The first single was “I Feel You”. We preferred the second single, released in August. Our fifth favourite Canadian song of the year is “Without a Map” by The Sam Roberts Band.
4. So the storm finally found me and left me in the dark
From her magnificent sophomore album Siberia, which we chose as the Canadian album of the year 2011 (see HERE), this hauntingly beautiful electronic ballad from Toronto’s LIGHTS is our fourth choice. She was the recipient of the JUNO award for new artist of the year in 2009. This is one of only two songs on the album that she composed by herself. With a voice sweeter than a maple dip doughnut from Tim Horton’s, a lyric that rivals the poetry of Leonard Cohen, and musical composition that honour’s Gary Numan’s “Complex”, the world’s first hit electronic ballad, #4 is “Cactus in the Valley” by LIGHTS.
3. We’ve just a wish and an empty vessel
We could describe this song as a power folk-pop tune with some Beatles-style highlights. The most overlooked singer-songwriter in the country, a native of St. Catharines, Ontario, was honoured in recent times by Michael Bublé recording a cover (Latin version) of one of his songs. Ron Sexsmith who won the JUNO for songwriter of the year in 2005 came out with his magnum opus this year, the Bob Rock-produced Long Player Late Bloomer. Though the album was filled with expertly-crafted songs, we’re settling on “Believe It When I See It” as our 3rd favourite of the year.
2. What’s your flavour, what’s your type?
This is the only hit single that made our list. It peaked at #19 on the Canadian singles chart and was the 64th biggest song of the year. It comes to us care of a rising superstar singer born in Ottawa, Ontario whose management and production team consists of the personnel responsible for Céline Dion’s crossover to the English market. Kristina Maria is Lebanese-Canadian and is one of the leaders in making slick and original Canadian dance music. We look forward to her debut album which should be on store shelves next year. Our second favourite Canuck tune of 2011 is Kristina Maria’s “Let’s Play“.
1. Didn’t think about it, just went with it
Our favourite song of the year is a more stripped down acoustic number with a crisp, strong beat. And listening to it is enjoyed best with a pizza of pepperoni, mushrooms, and green olives, a pizza now named after the singer in Canada. It was the third single released from the exquisite Goodbye Lullaby (fourth if you count “Alice”). Besides Avril Lavigne’s captivating voice, what stands out is the expert songwriting on this song. The pop punk princess, a seven-time JUNO winner from Napanee, Ontario co-wrote the song with Max Martin and Shellback. It comes as no surprise that she has sold over 30 million records worldwide. Anyone who can write and deliver such an addictive tune is bound for musical royalty. The song centers around the feeling of missing someone, and one can see Princess Avril’s real tears in its music video, which has thus far garnered 58 million views on YouTube. Our favourite song of 2011 is Avril Lavigne’s “Wish You Were Here“.
Do you have a favourite Canadian song or songs of 2011? Let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A little surprised that this exquisite song and music video from 6-time JUNO winner Sam Roberts have not yet attracted much attention. This is “Without a Map”, the second single from Roberts’ Collider album, the video of which was released last month.
How’s everyone’s week going? I imagine there’s some heightened stress in students heading into final exams, workers trying to finish off projects before the holidays, and shoppers experiencing mall congestion from all the mad dashers stocking up on gifts. This is where Canadian recording artists can help. Music is an art that has the power to uplift the spirit and shake off the burdens weighing down on us in daily life. And, with that in mind, I’d like to share with you the following sweet video hot off the press from Vancouver’s Carly Rae Jepsen. Enjoy.
The video for Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” is out and it was more than worth the wait, filled with great Canadian humour. In fact, I’m tempted to retitle this blog entry “Video of the Year”.
You can download the song from iTunes HERE. Please support our fabulous Canadian singer.
LIGHTS has wrapped up the bulk of her U.S. / Canadian tour. She will be performing in eastern Canada in January, hitting a few more spots in the U.S. and crossing the Atlantic to perform in Britain. For now, she needs a good rest. Thank you to all who supported her by attending her gigs. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the song “Everybody Breaks a Glass” from her stellar album Siberia. It gives an interesting insight into the work of a musician.
We are very happy that Labrador City’s Damhnait Doyle is still making great music. If you remember, she had a big hit back in 1996 called “A List of Things” which made the year-end Top 100 in Canada. She then hooked up with Kim Stockwood and Tara MacLean to form the all-female band Shaye who released two albums in the new millennium.
Damhnait is now leading a new Toronto-based band with Stuart Cameron, Peter Fusco, and Blake Manning called The Heartbroken. They released an album last year called Tonight Tonight with singles “Seventeen” and “The Truth”. Also on the album is the beautiful song “Cover Me”. Check out the cool video below. Their website is HERE.
Hot off the press, here’s the official video for Nickelback’s Top 20 hit, “When We Stand Together”.
One of the new Canadian singing sensations rising into the public eye is Toronto’s Roveena. Here’s her gorgeous rendition of Adele’s “Someone Like You”. Personally, I think Roveena sings it much better.
Mission BC’s beautiful Carly Rae Jepsen finished in third spot on the 5th season of “Canadian Idol”. She released an album in 2008 called Tug of War which spawned two Top 40 radio hits. She is finishing off her second album which will bear the title Curiosity and, as a prelude, she released the lead single “Call Me Maybe” in late September which is receiving radio airplay in Canada. She co-wrote and produced the track with her Vancouver buddy Josh Ramsay of Marianas Trench. A music video shoot wrapped up a couple of days ago.
CRJ will be in Nanaimo on November 12th while LIGHTS will be in Victoria. On the 14th she’ll be performing in Vancouver. From there, she heads to gigs in Calgary and Edmonton. For more info, check her website (link below).
2012 Update: Read about the megasuccess HERE.
For those of you who really miss 80s new wave, synths, and dance beats and wish there were some current artists creating music in such a vein, keep your eyes peeled for a new Canadian, Toronto-raised singer named Graph Gonzales. Her exquisite, silky vocals and strong song-writing skills led to her winning the Galaxie Rising Star Award. Having co-written songs for other artists and appeared as a guest singer numerous times, Graph is now ready to launch her own career.
Los Angeles-based dance label Citrusonic Recordings has signed her and her new single, which pays homage to Kim Carnes and Pat Benatar while sounding fresh in itself, is “Eyes in the Dark”. An EP is to follow. Citrusonic is headed by Orlando Puerta who has worked with Depeche Mode, Madonna, and Seal.
You can listen to a sample of “Eyes in the Dark” and download it on iTunes HERE.
Graph on …
We wish Graph and her record label all the best.