2012 JUNO Award Recipients Part 2

The JUNOs opened with a performance by Nickelback (“This Means War”) followed by host William Shatner taking the stage with some comedy, and then a performance by Hey Rosetta.

The first award of the night was for Songwriter of the Year. The award was presented by Kardinal Offishall and Classified. The JUNO goes to … Dallas Green (a.k.a. City and Colour).  “Canada has some of the best songwriters in the world,” he said.

Songwriter of the Year

Dallas Green for “Fragile Bird”, “We Found Each Other”, “Weightless” LITTLE HELL – City and Colour
Dan Mangan for “About As Helpful As You Can Be Without Being Any Help At All”, “Post-War Blues”, “Oh Fortune” OH FORTUNE
Feist for “How Come You Never Go There”, “Graveyard” – co-songwriters Mocky & Chilly Gonzales, “The Circle Married The Line” METALS
Jim Cuddy for “Everyone Watched The Wedding”, “Skyscraper Soul”, “Watch Yourself Go Down” SKYSCRAPER SOUL
Ron Sexsmith for “Get In Line”, “Believe It When I See It”, “Middle of Love” LONG PLAYER LATE BLOOMER

The 2nd award of the night was the JUNO Fan Choice Award, presented by Carly Rae Jepsen. And the JUNO goes to … Justin Bieber.

JUNO Fan Choice Award

Arcade Fire
Avril Lavigne
City and Colour
Drake Cash
Ginette Reno
Justin Bieber
Michael Bublé

A “mix tape” performance followed with live performances by Dragonette, Anjulie, Mia Martina, JRDN, and Alyssa Reid.  William Shatner tries to convince Nickelback to become their fifth member.  Sam Roberts and MonkeyJunk then presented the award for Artist of the Year.  And the JUNO goes to … Feist.

Artist of the Year

City and Colour
Michael Bublé

Simple Plan performed “Summer Paradise” with K’Naan.  The Shat in tats tries to enlist as a member of Hedley.  And Dance Recording of the Year goes to … Dragonette.

Dance Recording of the Year

Brand New Chick by Anjulie
Aural Psynapse by Deadmau5
Barbara Streisand by Duck Sauce
Hello by Martin Solveig & Dragonette
Devotion by Mia Martina

Hedley performs its hit “One Life”.  Sophie Milman and Jimmy Rankin handed out the next award.  And the JUNO for New Artist goes to … Dan Mangan.

New Artist of the Year

Alyssa Reid
Dan Mangan
Diamond Rings
Lindi Ortega

Feist then took the stage to perform “The Bad in Each Other”.  Johnny Reid spoke about Music Counts dedicated to keeping music education in Canadian schools.  City and Colour performs.  Dan Mangan, Terri Clark, and Ron Sexsmith presented the next award.  And the JUNO for Single of the Year goes to … The Sheepdogs.

Single of the Year

Fragile Bird by City and Colour
Invincible by Hedley
Let’s Go Higher by Johnny Reid
When We Stand Together by Nickelback
I Don’t Know by The Sheepdogs

Hall of Fame inductees Blue Rodeo are joined by Sarah McLachlan on stage and receive a standing-o.  Anvil and Jully Black presented the next award.  The JUNO for Album of the Year goes to … Michael Buble.

Album of the Year

Goodbye Lullaby by Avril Lavigne
Take Care by Drake
Under the Mistletoe by Justin Bieber
Christmas by Michael Bublé
Here and Now by Nickelback

Deadmau5 teams up with LIGHTS for a tour de force performance.  The final award of the evening was for Punk Album of the Year. The award was presented by Mike from Canmore and the MacKenzie brothers. And the JUNO goes to … Mr. Zamboni.

Punk Album of the Year

Happy Snowshoeing by The Maple Brothers
April Moose by Bever Fever
Fools Are Us by The Parliament Hillbillies
Day Break Over Whitehorse by Jane Canoe
Canada Loves Hockey by Mr. Zamboni

2012 JUNO Award Recipients Part 1

Part 1 of the JUNO Award gala was held 31 March 2012 in Ottawa. It opened with a performance of “Where the Fence is Low” by LIGHTS.  The evening was hosted by  CBC radio personality Jian Ghomeshi.

Some special awards were given out.  Gary Slaight was given the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award.  Simple Plan graciously received the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award.  Sam Roberts was recognized for becoming the first Sustainability Ambassador.  And Blue Rodeo was inducted into the Music Hall of Fame.

Below is a list of nominations with the winner bolded in red.  We have added comments on the winners which are in blue.

Photo on the left:  Murray Porter accepts the JUNO for Aboriginal Album of the Year.

Metal/Hard Music Album of the Year

Juggernaut of Justice by Anvil
Burning Fortune by Cauldron
Deconstruction by Devin Townsend Project
Die Miserable by F**k The Facts
Venerable by KEN mode

Comments:  KEN mode formed in 1999 with their first release in 2003.  They are from Winnipeg and this is their first JUNO win.

International Album of the Year

21 by Adele
Mylo Xyloto by Coldplay
Born This Way by Lady Gaga
Sorry For Party Rocking by LMFAO
Loud by Rihanna

Comments:  Adele’s album was certified diamond in Canada.  She is from the United Kingdom (North London).  Her full name is Adele Laurie Blue Adkins.

Instrumental Album of the Year

Cats & Dogs by Andrew Collins
New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges by Colin Stetson
L’Âge du cuivre by L’Orkestre des Pas Perdus
Télescope by MAZ
Stretch Orchestra by Stretch Orchestra

Comments:  This is the trio’s first JUNO win.  They are known for all being very tall.

Francophone Album of the Year

Le désert des solitudes by Catherine Major
Blonde by Coeur de Pirate
C’est un monde by Fred Pellerin
Le vrai le faux by Jérôme Minière
La caverne by Malajube

Comments:  This progressive rock band from Montreal was nominated for 2 JUNOs back in 2007.  This is their first win.

Blues Album of the Year

Still Blue by Bill Johnson
Soul Bender by David Gogo
Shame The Devil by Harrison Kennedy
To Behold by MonkeyJunk
Me ‘n’ Mabel by Suzie Vinnick

Comments:  This trio is from Ottawa and formed in 2008.  They are unique in that they do not have a bass player.  This is their first JUNO win.

Reggae Recording of the Year

Dubmatix by Seeds of Love & Life ft. Luciano
Bleaching Shop by Exco Levi
Lover’s Paradise by Jay Douglas
Woman by Steele
Rescue Me by Tanya Mullings

Comments:  Exco is a naturalized Canadian, born in Jamaica.  He immigrated in 2005.  This is his first JUNO win.

New Group of the Year

Hey Rosetta!
Mother Mother
The Rural Alberta Advantage
The Sheepdogs

Comments:  This 4-member all-male band from Saskatoon has actually been recording since 2006.  This is their first JUNO win.

Classical Album of the Year: Solo or Chamber Ensemble

Brahms On Brass by the Canadian Brass
Louis Lortie Plays Liszt by Louis Lortie
Liszt Piano Sonata by Marc-André Hamelin
Schubert & Beethoven by New Orford String Quartet
American Flute Masterpieces by Susan Hoeppner 

Comments:  Hamelin is one of the most talented and well-known classical musicians in the country.  He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2003.  This is his 7th JUNO win!

Classical Album of the Year: Large Ensemble or Soloist(s) with Large Ensemble Accompaniment

Daugherty : Fire and Blood by Alexandre Da Costa/Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal
Bartók Voilin Concertos by James Ehnes
Vivaldi Cello Concertos by Jean-Guihen Queyras
Bruckner 4 by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Orchestre Métropolitain
Florent Schmidt- La tragédie de salomé by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Orchestre Métropolitain

Comments:  The Montreal Symphony Orchestra is generally considered the best in Canada.

Music DVD of the Year

Feist: Look At What The Light Did Now – FEIST
Tegan and Sara: Get Along – TEGAN AND SARA
Rush: Time Machine 2011: Live In Cleveland – RUSH
Peter Katz: Peter Katz Live At The Music Gallery – PETER KATZ
David Francey: Burning Bright – DAVID FRANCEY

Comments:  The DVD was put together by the talents of Anthony Seck, Jannie McInnes, and Chip Sutherland.

Adult Alternative Album of the Year

Morning Comes by Cuff The Duke
Metals by Feist
Honeymoon Punch by Jenn Grant
Skyscraper Soul by Jim Cuddy
Long Player Late Bloomer by Ron Sexsmith

Comments:  Feist was born in Amherst, Nova Scotia but grew up in Regina and then Calgary.  Earlier this year, she was the only Canadian artist nominated for a BRIT award in the U.K.  This is her 9th JUNO award.

Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year

Rest of the Story by Chris Tarry
New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges by Colin Stetson
Idiosyncrasie by François Bourassa Quartet
Cuban Rhapsody by Hilario Duran & Jane Bunnett
Changing Seasons by Phil Dwyer Orchestra feat. Mark Fewer

Comments:  Changing Seasons is a violin concerto that blends classical and jazz together.  Phil Dwyer premiered the work at McGill University.  Phil is from Toronto but now lives on Vancouver Island.  He plays both sax and piano.  This is his 2nd JUNO win.

Country Album of the Year

16&1 by Doc Walker
High Valley by High Valley
Everything by Jason McCoy
Forget About the World by Jimmy Rankin
Roots and Wings by Terri Clark

Comments:  This is Terri Clark’s 3rd JUNO win.  Although born in Montreal, she grew up in Medicine Hat, Alberta.

Rock Album of the Year

Michigan Left by Arkells
Lights of Endangered Species by Matthew Good
Collider by Sam Roberts Band
The Double Cross by Sloan
Learn & Burn by The Sheepdogs

Comments:  The Sheepdogs play an early 70s style rock which some refer to as “boogie rock”.

Producer of the Year

Bob Rock for Jann Arden
Brian Howes for Hedley and Nickelback
David Foster for Michael Buble and Shania Twain
k.d. lang for k.d. lang and Siss Boom Bang
Noah “40” Shebib for Drake

Comments:  Brian is with EMI and in his own rock band called Closure.  He has also produced for Puddle of Mud, Faber Drive, and Simple Plan among others.  This is his 2nd JUNO win.

Vocal Jazz Album of the Year

To Brazil with Love by Diana Panton
Two Kites by Fern Lindzon
Le carré de nos amours by Sonia Johnson
In the Moonlight by Sophie Milman
Skin Tight by The Nylons

Comments:  Sonia is from Montreal and this is her first JUNO win.

Traditional Jazz Album of the Year

Aspects of Oscar by Dave Young Quintet
Verge by David Braid
Deep Shadows by Kirk MacDonald Orchestra
Still Rollin’ by Mike Murley Septet
Live in Baden by Oliver Jones

Comments:  Braid won the same award back in 2005, this being his 2nd JUNO win.  He’s from Toronto.

Classical Album of the Year: Vocal or Choral Performance

Haydn Arias by Jane Archibald; Orchestre Symphonique Bienne; Thomas Rösner
Handel: Streams of Pleasure by Karina Gauvin – Marie-Nicole Lemieux
Caldara : La Conversione di Clodoveo by Le Nouvel Opéra
Marie-Josée Lord by Marie-Josée Lord; Orchestre Métropolitain; Giuseppe Pietraroia
J.S. Bach: Cantatas BWV 170 & 54; Concerto for oboe and violin, after BWV 1060; Suite for violin and strings, after BWV 1067 by Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra & Daniel Taylor

Comments:  Jane is becoming world famous and press as far away as Europe is calling her “the coloratura of our time”.  This is her first JUNO award.

Classical Composition of the Year

Glass Houses #5 by Ann Southam
Sepia Fragments by Derek Charke
Piano Concerto No. 2 by Heather Schmidt
String Quartet No. 2 by Jacques Hétu
Equilateral by Jeffrey Ryan

Comments:  To be a composer of classical music is prestige in itself.  Derek is also an associate professor of music theory and composition at Acadia University School of Music in Nova Scotia.

Rap Recording of the Year

Handshakes and Middle Fingers by Classified
Jonestown 2: Jimmy Go Bye Bye by D-Sisive
Take Care by Drake
Anywhere (Ol’ Time Killin’ Part.2) by Kardinal Offishall
Daggermouth by Swollen Members

Comments:  Drake’s claim to fame was as a television actor.  He is from Toronto.  This is his 3rd JUNO win.

Aboriginal Album of the Year

Speakers of Tomorrow by Bruthers of Different Muthers
To Whom It May Concern by Donny Parenteau
One Nation by Flying Down Thunder and Rise Ashen
Songs Lived & Life Played by Murray Porter
The Gift of Life by Randy Wood

Comments:  Murray is a Mohawk blues singer-songwriter and pianist.  He has collaborated with the Pappy Johns band.  This is his first JUNO win.

World Music Album of the Year

Afo Gné by Aboulaye Koné et Bolo Kan
Flores, Tambores e Amores by Aline Morales
From Night To The Edge Of Day by Azam Ali
Aam Zameen : common ground by Kiran Ahluwalia
Sleepover by Socalled

Comments:  Kiran is Indian-Canadian and performs Punjabi folk music.  She’s from Toronto and this is her 2nd JUNO win.

Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album of the Year

On the Altar of Love by Downhere
Crazy Love by Hawk Nelson
Forevermore by Jon Bauer
Imperfections & Directions by Kellie Loder
Don’t Close Your Eyes by Sky Terminal

Comments:  Downhere is a 4-member all-male group from small-town Saskatchewan.  They are no strangers to the JUNOs; this is their 4th win.

Video of the Year

The Stand by Mother Mother
Rows of Houses by Dan Mangan
Stamp by The Rural Alberta Advantage
Good Day at the Races by Hollerado
Rumbleseat by The Sadies

Comments:  The video was directed by the skilled Mike Roberts of Toronto.

Recording Package of the Year

Metals by Feist
12 by Dinah Thorpe
Rest of the Story by Chris Tarry
Get Yourself Home by Laura Repo
Cheep on Creepin’ on by Timber Timbre

Comments:  Chris Tarry, a jazz musician and author, released the album as part of an illustrated storybook.  The package was designed by Jeff Harrison and illustrated by Kim Ridgewell.

Recording Engineer of the Year

Chris Shreenan-Dyck for Jim Cuddy
David Travers-Smith for The Wailin’ Jennys and Oh Susanna
George Seara for Michael Kaeshammer and Laila Biali
Jeff Wolpert for Sarah Slean
Michael Phillip Wojewoda for Paisley Jura

Comments:  George is a leading mixer and recording engineer from Toronto and has done work in a wide variety of genres.  He has worked with Drake, Rihanna, Sting, Holly Cole, Mos Def, 50 Cent, Herbie Hancock, and Finger Eleven.  This is his first JUNO win.

Children’s Album of the Year

Connecting the Dots by Bobs & LoLo
Songs, Stories and Friends: Let’s Go Play! by Charlie Hope
Sleepy Sky Lullaby by Eddie Douglas
Everyone by Music with BRIAN
My Butterfly/A Capella Lullabies by Vocal Paint

Comments:  This is Charlie’s first JUNO win.  She’s from Toronto but currently lives in Seattle, U.S.A.

Electronic Album of the Year

A Little More Than Everything by Arthur Oskan
Feel It Break by Austra
Azari & III by Azari & III
It’s All True by Junior Boys
Ravedeath, 1972 by Tim Hecker

Comments:  Recently, NPR named Hecker as one of the Top 100 composers under the age of 40.  He was born in Vancouver but grew up in Montreal.  This is his first JUNO win.

Alternative Album of the Year

Native Speaker by Braids
Oh Fortune by Dan Mangan
Kaputt by Destroyer
David Comes to Life by F**ked Up
Creep on Creepin’ on by Timber Timbre

Comments:  Dan is from Vancouver and received 4 JUNO nominations this year.  This is his first win.

R&B/Soul Recording of the Year

Set it Off by Jully Black ft. Kardinal Offishall
Ghetto Love by Karl Wolf ft. Kardinal Offishall
Gone And Never Coming Back by Melanie Fiona
Pretty Lil’ Heart ft. Lil Wayne by Robin Thicke

Comments:  Earlier this year, Melanie was honoured at the U.S. Grammy Awards.  This is her first JUNO win.  She was born and raised in Toronto.

Roots & Traditional Album of the Year: Solo

Small Source of Comfort by Bruce Cockburn
Floods & Fires by Craig Cardiff
A Tribute to John Allan Cameron by Dave Gunning
Late Edition by David Francey
Little Red Boots by Lindi Ortega

Comments:  Bruce is a Canadian legend.  This is his 11th JUNO win.  He’s from Ottawa.  Small Source of Comfort is his 31st album!

Roots & Traditional Album of the Year: Group

Let the Rain Fall by Good Lovelies
The Place I Left Behind by The Deep Dark Woods
Row Upon Row of the People We Know by The Once
Bright Morning Stars by The Wailin’ Jennys
When the Wolves Go Blind by Twilight Hotel

Comments:  This is an all-female trio from Winnipeg.  This is their 2nd JUNO win.

Group of the Year

Down with Webster
Sam Roberts Band

Comments:  Arkells are from Hamilton.  In 2010, they won the JUNO for New Group of the Year.  Now, 2 years later, they win the Group of the Year JUNO.  They are a quintet of men.

Finally, Johnny Reid presented…

Pop Album of the Year

Goodbye Lullaby by Avril Lavigne
Time to Win Vol. II by Down with Webster
Storms by Hedley
Siberia by LIGHTS
Ever After by Marianas Trench

Comments:  This was perhaps the most anticipated award of the night (why it was given last) and very difficult to predict the winner, although Storms was the best-selling of these 5 albums within Canada, the only one of these with platinum certification.  Hedley is an all-male group from Vancouver and have been nominated for 18 JUNOs, winning only one (Video of the Year for “Perfect” last year).  This is the band’s 2nd JUNO win.

The remainder of the JUNO awards will be presented at the main gala tomorrow night hosted by William Shatner and will showcase many live performances.  The awards presented will include the JUNO Fan Choice Award, Single of the Year, Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, New Artist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, and Dance Recording of the Year.

2011: The Year in Music

The most successful album by a Canadian artist, both domestically and internationally, was Christmas by Michael Buble. By the end of the year, it was certified 7x Platinum in Canada. It was the 3rd best-selling album internationally according to the United World Chart.

The most successful single by a Canadian artist (not counting those in which a Canadian collaborated with a foreign artist) internationally was Avril Lavigne’s “What the Hell”. It was the most successful Canadian single in the United States, Britain, China, Japan, and Australia, among other countries. In Japan, the world’s second largest market for music, it finished as the year’s 10th biggest single. Domestically, the year’s biggest song was a cover (or more of a “reworking”) of Heart’s “Alone” entitled “Alone Again” by Alyssa Reid which was 24th in the Canadian Billboard Hot 100 Year-End chart. “Hello”, a collaboration between France’s Martin Solveig and Toronto’s Dragonette, was 11th of the year and the only single certified 2x Platinum.

For more details on the year in music, check out the links below.

2011 Year in Review with Top Singles, Albums, and Mini-Profiles on New Artists

Canadian Billboard Hot 100 Singles of the Year 2011

Canadian Billboard Top 50 Albums of the Year 2011

Canadian Music Blog’s Album of the Year 2011

Canadian Music Blog’s Song of the Year 2011

Mini-Profiles on Artists Whose Popularity Intensified in 2011

Felix Awards: Nominees Winners Part 1 Winners Part 2

Juno Awards: Part 1 Part 2

Major Profile on Anjulie

Major Profile on Kristina Maria

2011’s Biggest Canadian Hits, Both English and French

CMB medThe number one song of 2011 in Canada was Adele’s ”Rolling in the Deep”. The most successful Anglo song from a Canadian artist was ”Hello”, a collaboration between Dragonette and France’s Martin Solveig (11th of the year, Canadian Hot 100). The year’s biggest Franco hit was Vincent Vallières’ “On va s’aimer encore” (4th of the year, CKOI). It reached #56 on the weekly Canadian Hot 100, an impressive feat for a Francophone song, and won the Felix award for Single of the Year. Below is a list of all singles by Canadian artists that made the year-end Top 100 or that peaked within the Top 40 of the weekly Canadian Hot 100. We have included tunes from international artists (names in grey) which “feature” a Canadian. As well, below is a list of all Canadian Franco songs that made the CKOI year-end Top 50 or that appeared on the Canadian Hot 100.

HY = Hot 100 year-end chart position

HW = Hot 100 weekly charts, peak position

CY = CKOI year-end Top 50 chart position


On va s’aimer encore Vincent Vallières 4 56
Comme avant Marie-Mai 15 68
Je lève mon verre William Deslauriers 35  
Ariane Clément Jacques 37  
P’tit homme David Jalbert 43  
Revolver Randy Raymond 45 98


Hello Dragonette 11 8
Alone Again Alyssa Reid 24 11
What’s My Name? Rihanna ft. Drake 32 5*
Stereo Love Mia Martina 34 10*
Jet Lag Simple Plan 37 11
Stutterin’ Fefe Dobson 45 10*
Brand New Chick Anjulie 52 16
Electric Shawn Desman 59 23
What the Hell Avril Lavigne 63 8
Let’s Play Kristina Maria 64 19
Ghetto Love Karl Wolf ft. Kardinal Offishall 67 20
Invincible Hedley 69 9
Latin Moon Mia Martina 74 30
Can’t Breathe Fefe Dobson 76 19
Like Magic JRDN 80 24
Haven’t Had Enough Marianas Trench 81 9
About Us Neverest 89 30
Moment 4 Life Nicki Minaj ft. Drake 92 27
Fire Raghav 94 38
I Wanna Dance with Somebody These Kids Wear Crowns 95 30
She’s Dope Down with Webster 100 18
Mistletoe Justin Bieber   9
When We Stand Together Nickelback   10
Shut Up and Dance Victoria Duffield   12
Today is Your Day Shania Twain   14
She Will Lil Wayne ft. Drake   16
One Life Hedley   16
Headlines Drake   18
Pray For LJ Pardon My Striptease   20
Hit Me Up Danny Fernandes ft. Josh Ramsay & Belly   22
Make Me Proud Drake   25
Co-Pilot Kristina Maria   26
Bottoms Up Nickelback   31
Barbra Streisand Duck Sauce**   35
The Game Alyssa Reid   35
Next 2 You Justin Bieber   36
Lost in You Three Days Grace   37
I Don’t Care JRDN   38
Heatwave The New Cities   38
Aural Psynapse deadmau5   38
Take Me Away Danny Fernandes   39
Famous Audio Playground   39
Loca People Sak Noel   40

* This peak position was reached in 2010.

** Duck Sauce is a duo, one of whom (A-Trak) is Canadian.


More Charts…

2011 Overview…

2011 in Music

In the Autumn, I was walking along in the Collingwood neighbourhood of Vancouver. A young Chinese-Canadian woman beside me suddenly gasped and pointed to a street lined with trees. The sky was completely blue. The sight of the leaves glistening in the sun was spectacular. They were green, chartreuse, yellow, orange, vermillion, red, burgundy, and purple. The year 2011 in sound was similar to that sight; there was a diversity of musical styles being created. Moreover, there were a number of new faces this year, and Canadian artists of Asian descent are on the rise which is very encouraging. Is Canada going to take on a leadership role in the western world in this regard?

Canadians of West Asian descent who enjoyed hits this year included Kristina Maria. Her “Let’s Play” was the 64th biggest song of the year. Karl Wolf is another name. This year he teamed up with Kardinal Offishall in the song “Ghetto Love” which was 67th.

A Canadian of South Asian heritage was Anjulie whose parents immigrated from Guyana, South America. “Brand New Chick” was a platinum single and the 52nd most popular song of the year. Raghav’s “Fire” went gold and was 94th.

Another positive element of 2011 was a burgeoning of Canadian dance music, a genre the output of which has seen Canada historically lag behind other countries. We are becoming masters of the genre, and artists like Dragonette, Deadmau5, Kristina Maria, Mia Martina, and Alfa Rococo are spinning some delicious tunes that make sitting still impossible.

Interestingly, the biggest albums of the year were Christmas albums: Michael Bublé’s jazzy Christmas (7x Platinum) and Justin Bieber’s R&B-ish Under the Mistletoe (3x Platinum). This was true both domestically and internationally. Besides those two, the other best-selling Canadian albums globally were rapper Drake’s Take Care, Avril Lavigne’s pop-oriented Goodbye Lullaby, Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never: the Remixes, and Nickelback’s heavy metal release Here and Now

The most successful Canadian artist internationally in terms of a hit single was Avril Lavigne whose “What the Hell” was the highest-charting Canadian single. This includes the world’s three largest markets for music: the United States, Japan (where it was 10th of the year), and Britain. In the world’s most populous nation, China, it was 11th. It was also the most successful Canadian single in Australia. Domestically, there was much more going on in terms of hit singles.

International Success of Avril Lavigne’s “What the Hell” in 2011:

Year-End Chart Weekly Chart Peak Rank Among Canadian Singles
Canada 63 6
U.K. n/a 16 1
U.S. 62 1
Japan 10 1
China 11 1
Australia 48 1

 Top Singles of the Year

The highest charting song entirely by a Canadian artist was the aforementioned “What the Hell” by Avril Lavigne, which peaked at #8 on the weekly singles chart and was the 63rd biggest song of 2011. “Hello”, a collaborative effort by Toronto synth-pop group Dragonette and Martin Solveig of Paris, France, enjoyed the highest position partially by a Canadian artist on the Top 100 singles of 2011 (#11) and was the most successful in terms of sales, achieving double-platinum digital download status.

The biggest song of 2011 entirely by a Canadian artist was “Alone Again” by Alyssa Reid (#24). This was a reworking of Heart’s song “Alone”. In terms of an original song entirely by a Canadian performer, honours would go to Fefe Dobson for her “Stutterin'” which was the 45th biggest song of the year.

Simple Plan’s “Jet Lag”, which featured U.K. singer Natasha Bedingfield, was 37th and was certified platinum. They also recorded a French version of the song which featured Québec’s Marie-Mai. Romanian Edward Maya’s song “Stereo Love”, which featured New Brunswick’s Mia Martina, was 34th. And Barbados’ Rihanna was at #32 with “What’s My Name” a song that featured Drake.

Other platinum digital downloads besides those mentioned above were “Brand New Chick” by Guyanese-Canadian Anjulie, “Electric” by Portuguese-Canadian Shawn Desman, Hedley’s “Invincible”, Nickelback’s “When We Stand Together”, and Marianas Trench’s “Haven’t Had Enough”.

Only 2 songs involving Canadian artists made the Top 10 on the British weekly charts this year, both being collaborations between Drake and Rihanna: “What’s My Name” (#1) and “Take Care” (#9). The most successful song entirely by a Canadian artist in the U.K. was “What the Hell” by Avril Lavigne (#16).

Things were similar south of the border. “What’s My Name” was the 20th biggest song of the year in the United States. Avril Lavigne’s “What the Hell” was the most successful song there that was not a collaboration between a Canadian and an international artist. It was 62nd of the year.

The biggest Canadian song in Japan the world’s 2nd largest market for music after the U.S. – was Avril Lavigne’s “What the Hell” which was the 10th most popular song of the year there.

According to Montreal’s CKOI FM 96.9, the five most popular Francophone songs of the year were as follows:

1. Vincent Vallières’ “On va s’aimer encore” (#4)
2. Marie-Mai’s “Comme avant” (#15)
3. William Deslauriers’ “Je ve mon verre” (#35)
4. Clément Jacques’ “Ariane” (#37)
5. David Jalbert’s “P’tit homme” (#43)

Ten songs were nominated for single of the year at the Félix gala held in October. These are listed below with the winner being Vincent Vallières’ “On va s’aimer encore”.

10 Felix-Nominated Songs

“Météore”, Alfa Rococo
“Fruits défendus”, Brigitte Boisjoli
“J’taime pas, j’t’adore”, Nicola Ciccone
“Près de toi”, Martin Deschamps
“Jusqu’au bout”, Éric Lapointe
“Elle s’appelait Serge”, Les Trois Accords
“Comme avant”, Marie-Mai
“Toujours de nous”, Mario Pelchat
“Je repars”, David Usher, Marie-Mai
“On va s’aimer encore”, Vincent Vallières

The biggest song of the year in Canada this year was from Britain’s Adele—”Rolling in the Deep”.

It will be interesting to see what the JUNO awards in April next year will award in terms of singles, given that there are so many collaborations with foreign artists, covers, and partial covers.

Below is a table of the most successful singles in 2011, all having at least one of the following characteristics:

a) Was on the Billboard Canadian Top 100 singles of 2011 chart
b) Peaked in the Top 20 on the weekly Billboard Canadian Hot 100 singles chart during 2011
c) Was awarded gold / platinum certification (singles on the Top 100 of 2010 or that peaked on the weekly charts of 2010 receiving certification this year are not included)

Note: Most of the Top 20 songs that did not make the Top 100 of 2011 appeared late in the year and will most likely appear on the Top 100 of 2012 chart next year. Foreign artists (with whom Canadians collaborated) are in blue.

2011 Singles Comprehensive Chart

Song Artist 2011 WP C
Hello Martin Solveig, Dragonette 11 8 2xP
Alone Again Alyssa Reid 24 11 G
What’s My Name? Rihanna, Drake 32 5
Stereo Love Edward Maya, Mia Martina 34
Jet Lag Simple Plan 37 11 P
Stutterin’ Fefe Dobson 45 10 P
Brand New Chick Anjulie 52 16 P
Electric Shawn Desman 59 P
What the Hell Avril Lavigne 63 8
Let’s Play Kristina Maria 64 19 G
Ghetto Love Karl Wolf, Kardinall Offishall 67 20 G
Invincible Hedley 69 9 2xP
Latin Moon Mia Martina 74 G
Can’t Breathe Fefe Dobson 76 19 G
Like Magic JRDN 80 G
Haven’t Had Enough Marianas Trench 81 9 P
About Us Neverest 89 G
Moment 4 Life Nicki Minaj, Drake 92
Fire Raghav 94 G
I Wanna Dance w/ Somebody These Kids Wear Crowns 95 G
She’s Dope Down with Webster 100 18 P
Mistletoe Justin Bieber 9 G
When We Stand Together Nickelback 10 P
Shut Up and Dance Victoria Duffield 12 P
Today is Your Day Shania Twain 14
One Life Hedley 16 P
She Will Lil Wayne, Drake 16
Headlines Drake 18 P
Pray (For LJ) Pardon My Striptease 20
Hit Me Up Danny Fernandes ft. Josh Ramsay and Belly 22 P
Famous Audio Playground G
Co-Pilot Kristina Maria G
123 Craig Smart G
Lullaby Nickelback G
Whatta Night Ricky J. G

Top Albums of the Year

There were an astounding number of albums released this year. With a sharp decline in record sales over the past few years, it is a huge honour just to score a gold album these days, something that was pretty much guaranteed for an album with a radio hit in years past. By the end of the year, 8 albums released in 2011 received gold certifications, 2 platinum, and 3 multi-platinum.

The most successful albums of the year by Canadian artists were Christmas albums. Michael Bublé’s Christmas was certified 7x platinum and Justin Bieber’s Under the Mistletoe 3x platinum. Nickelback’s Here and Now was a double-platinum release. The best-selling Francophone album was Maxime Landry’s L’avenir entre nous (platinum). At the October Félix gala, most popular album accolades went to Ginette Reno for La musique en moi. Hedley’s Storms was certified platinum at the end of the year.

All albums mentioned above (with the exception of L’avenir entre nous) made it to #1 on the weekly albums chart. Additionally were City and Colour’s Little Hell, Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never: the Remixes, and Drake’s Take Care.

The biggest album of the year in Canada was 21 by Britain’s Adele which was certified diamond, the first studio album to do so since Céline Dion’s These Are Special Times 4 years ago.

Below is a table of all albums released in 2011 with at least one of the following characteristics:

a) Was awarded gold / platinum certification
b) Was on the Billboard Canadian Top 50 albums of 2011 chart
c) Peaked in the Top 5 on the Billboard Canadian weekly albums chart during 2011

We will continue updating new levels of certification for these 2011 albums through 2012.

2011 Albums Comprehensive Chart

Album Artist C 2011 WP
Christmas Michael Buble 8xP 16 1
Under the Mistletoe Justin Bieber 3xP 36 1
Here and Now Nickelback 2xP 1
Little Hell City and Colour P 40 1
Storms Hedley P 2
Metals Feist P 2
L’avenir entre nous Maxime Landry P
Mixmania2 (Various Artists) G 46 4
L’existoire Richard Desjardins G 49 2
Better Be Home Soon George Canyon G
Undercover Me 2 Jann Arden G
Dans le silence de la nuit André Gagnon G
Ever After Marianas Trench P
Noel Nadja G
The Truth Is… Theory of a Deadman G
C’est un monde Fred Pellerin G
A Napoli Marc Hervieux G
La vie a deux Jean-Francois Breau & Marie-Eve Janvier G
Les grands espaces Isabelle Boulay G
La musique en moi Ginette Reno P 26 1
Never Say Never: The Remixes Justin Bieber 33 1
Americana II Roch Voisine 44 3
Take Care Drake  2xP 1
Seul au piano Pierre La Pointe 2
Goodbye Lullaby Avril Lavigne 2
Get Your Heart On Simple Plan 2
The Truth Is… Theory of a Deadman 2
Siberia Lights  G 3
Collider Sam Roberts Band 3
Michigan Left Arkells 5
Blonde Coeur de Pirate 5
Que Du Vent Les Cowboys Fringants 5
Je Suis Marie-Elaine Thibert 5
Lights of Endangered Matthew Good 5
Everything’s Going My Way Nadja 5

New Artists in 2011

Though a song by Toronto’s Neverest barely scraped into the Top 30 on the weekly charts, its long stay, helped by a popular music video, pushed it into the year-end Top 100; “About Us” was 89th of the year. JRDN is Ralph Jordan Croucher who grew up in both Halifax and Toronto. His “Like Magic” was the 80th biggest song of the year. Like The Stereos, Chilliwack, BC’s These Kids Wear Crowns were discovered on MuchMusic’s “disBand” program. Their cover of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” was 95th of the year.

Another Chilliwack rock band, Pardon My Striptease, made it to #20 with their song “Pray (For LJ)” about lead singer Andrew Putt’s one-year-old daughter who was in the hospital battling brain cancer. The band challenged Nickelback to match donations to the Children’s Hospital if their song surpassed Nickelback’s “When We Stand Together” on the iTunes chart. Nickelback announced it would honour the challenge and would donate $50,000 to the hospital.

What follows are mini-profiles on the biggest newcomers of 2011.


We have completed a major profile on Anjulie which is HERE.

Brigitte Boisjoli

Beautiful Brigitte is from Drummondville, QC and, in 2009, she finished 3rd in reality television series Star Académie, the same year that Maxime Landry won the singing competition. She led a very athletic life, participating, among other sports, in bungee jumping, parachuting, and kickboxing. As a teen, she participated in musicals. After her success in Star Academy, she released her debut album in 2011, Fruits defendus. Her work was recognized by the Felix awards as she was nominated in several categories. She ended up winning Best New Artist of the Year. Brigitte released a Patsy Cline tribute album in 2015 which went gold.

Victoria Duffield

This diligent and multi-talented singer from Abbotsford, BC was a finalist on the third season of talent search YTV program The Next Star. By the age of seven, she was singing and dancing in local competitions. She began an acting career appearing in such shows as Cold Squad, Smallville, and Supernatural. After her success in The Next Star, Ryan Stewart (who has worked with Carly Rae Jepsen and Suzie McNeil) co-wrote the song “Shut Up and Dance” with her. It was picked up by radio stations across the country at the end of 2011 and climbed up to #12 on the weekly singles chart going platinum. A version with an added French part featuring Lukay was released in Quebec.  Victoria released her debut album in 2012 named after her Platinum single.  Tracks “Feel” and “Break My Heart” both made the Top 40 on the Canadian Hot 100. In 2014, Victoria released her second album, Accelerate and went on tour with The Backstreet Boys.

Kristina Maria

We have completed a major profile on Kristina Maria which is HERE.

Mia Martina

From a small village of 500 people—Saint Ignace, NB—arose one Mia Martina who, after relocating to Ottawa for university, was discovered and asked to sing backup for Danny Fernandes and Belly. She released a dance remix of Edward Maya’s “Stereo Love”, featuring her vocal, a Top 10 hit in Canada at the end of 2010. It finished as the 34th biggest song of 2011. Her own song, “Latin Moon” which was released in both official languages finished the year in 74th place. “Burning” peaked at #25 on the Hot 100 and was the 64th biggest song of 2012. Her debut album was entitled Devotion. Mia’s bilingual song “Danse” went gold in 2014. She released her second album, self-titled, in 2015. It spawned the Top 40 hit “Beast”.

Alyssa Reid

The 24th biggest song of 2011 was brought to us by Alyssa Reid. Born in Edmonton and now living in Brampton, Ontario, she was a finalist on the first season of talent search YTV program The Next Star just as the aforementioned Victoria Duffield. Her “Alone Again” was a reworking of Heart’s song “Alone” (which has also been covered by Céline Dion) with added lyrics and a rap segment by P. Reign, a Guyanese-Canadian from the Toronto area. “Alone Again” peaked at #11 on the weekly singles chart and was certified gold. Her debut album, released in June, is entitled The Game.  “Alone Again” made it to #2 on the British charts in 2012. “Satisfaction Guaranteed” became a Top 40 single in 2013. Alyssa released album Phoenix in 2015 showcasing a more acoustic singer-songwriter style.

JUNO Awards

The JUNO Awards for 2011 music were held in Ottawa on the weekend of March 31, 2012.  Blue Rodeo was inducted into the Music Hall of Fame.  Album of the Year was awarded to Michael Buble and Single of the Year to The Sheepdogs.  For a full list of nominees, click on the following links:  JUNOs Part 1  JUNOs Part 2.

Related Posts

Canadian Music Blog’s Album of the Year 2011

Canadian Music Blog’s Song of the Year 2011

Mini-Profiles on Artists Whose Popularity Intensified in 2011

(Includes Vincent Vallières, Fred Pellerin, Nadja, Carly Rae Jepsen, Dragonette, Richard Desjardins, Coeur de Pirate, City and Colour, and George Canyon)

Felix Awards:   Nominees   Winners Part 1   Winners Part 2

Established Artists Whose Popularity Intensified in 2011

There were a number of established artists we have not yet profiled whose popularity continued to grow in 2011. Marc Dupré was awarded the Félix for pop-rock album of the year thanks to his Entre deux mondes. Ricky J is a popular dj/rapper from Montréal. His single “Whatta Night” was certified gold in December. Pop pianist Pierre La Pointe released a new album this year called Seul au piano which peaked at #2 on the Canadian albums chart. Hamilton’s The Arkells, who won the JUNO for group of the year in 2010, released their second LP this year, Michigan Left, and it made it to #5 on the albums chart. Below, in reverse alphabetical order, are mini-profiles on some of the bigger names whose success continued to burgeon in 2011.

Vincent Vallières

The popularity of this native of Sherbrooke, Québec just keeps on growing. After coming in second place at a 1996 regional talent show in his hometown, he released his debut album way back in 1999, when he was 21, but his first Félix-nominated songs came off his fourth LP, Le repère tranquille, released in 2006. Le monde tourne fort came next, in 2009, and its “En attendant le soleil” was nominated; however, at the Félix gala in October, 2011, it was “On va s’aimer encore” that won the coveted award for song of the year as well as music video of the year. In December, the album was certified platinum.

Fred Pellerin

Fred is from the quaint little town of Saint Élie de Caxton, in the lake-dotted foothills of the Laurentian Mountains. As a folksinger, he tells intriguing stories and first released an album with his brother Nicolas in 2007. His first release as a soloist came in 2009 and was titled Silence. It was massively successful, going platinum. It was nominated for four Félix awards and won two including Folk Album of the Year. His second release followed in 2011. C’est un monde went gold only a month after it was released, an impressive accomplishment for a Francophone album in Canada. It was nominated for Francophone Album of the Year at the 2012 JUNOs. In 2014, Fred released album Plus tard qu’on pense.


If you search the net with this, you may find references to a Canadian doom metal band. The Nadja that we are talking about could not be farther away from such pursuits. She is an R&B singer (reminiscent of soul music from the 50s and 60s) from Saint-Félicien, Québec, and already has two gold albums under her belt. While studying accounting in Montréal, she sang in piano bars around the city and was soon invited to join a group. This led to a deal performing at a five-star hotel in Taiwan. She left for 3 months and ended up staying for 6 years. Her reputation grew through Asia and she performed for a number of dignitaries. In 2005, she returned home and toured throughout Canada. She attracted the attention of famous singer Mario Pelchat who signed her with his label. She released her debut self-titled album in 2009. “Hound Dog” was a hit on the adult contemporary charts and the album went gold. This year, she released two albums: Everything’s Going My Way and Christmas album Noël which was certified gold in December.

Carly Rae Jepsen

The Mission, B.C. native finished in third spot on the 5th season of television reality series Canadian Idol. She struck a deal with Fontana/Maple Music and released her debut album in 2008, Tug of War. The album spawned two top 40 gold singles: the reggae-styled “Bucket” and the title-track. She received two JUNO nominations. 604 Records in Vancouver signed her next, and she wrote the song “Call Me Maybe”.  At the end of 2011, the song was picked up by mainstream radio and began climbing up the charts. In 2012, it topped the charts and became the best-selling domestic Canadian single in history.  Carly was signed by Justin Bieber’s management team. The song was released internationally, topping the charts around the world and became the best-selling song of the year on iTunes.  Carly’s EP Curiosity was released on Valentine’s Day 2012.  Hits “Curiosity” and “Good Time” with Owl City followed. The latter topped the Billboard Hot 100 and Carly released LP, Kiss.  Jepsen won 3 JUNO awards in 2013 wherein “Call Me Maybe” was named Song of the Year and Kiss Album of the Year. Critically acclaimed album Emotion with gold single “I Really Like You” came out in 2015.


This Toronto synth-pop outfit consists of singer-songwriter Martina Sorbara, drummer Joel Stouffer, and bassist Dan Kurtz. The latter was responsible for producing Feist’s first (independent) album. Feeling that Canada was not the best place to launch their careers, they relocated to electronic-dance friendly Britain to record their debut album in 2007. While there, they backed up New Order, Basement Jaxx, and the Sugarbabes. Dragonette scored its own Top 30 hit in 2009 called “Pick up the Phone”. “Hello”, on which they collaborated with France’s electronic music disc jockey and producer Martin Solveig, finished the year 2011 as the 11th biggest song of the year in Canada and received the highest certification for a digital downloadable single—double platinum. “Hello” stayed on the charts for over 40 weeks.  In 2012, their biggest hit was “Let It Go” which peaked at #23 on the weekly chart and was the 73rd biggest song of the year.

Richard Desjardins

Richard has been around a long time. He was born in 1948 in Rouyn, QC. In addition to his music career, he has directed several films and has also scored music for cinematic productions and documentaries. He debuted musically in 1981 in conjunction with the group Abbittibbi. His albums have sold well, 1990’s Tu m’aimes-tu being his first platinum-certified disc. 1998’s Boom Boom went gold. And, in 2011, his L’existoire was a gold album. Desjardins is an environmental activist especially in terms of speaking out against overactive deforestation.

Coeur de Pirate

One of the Francophone performers to make some inroads into English Canada is Béatrice Martin who operates under the stage name Cœur de Pirate. She has been playing piano since she was 3. Her (self-titled) debut came out in 2009, was certified platinum, and was nominated for Francophone Album of the Year at the JUNOs. As she became a big name in Europe, she won the Félix for Québec artist having the most success outside the province. Her second album, Blonde, was released in 2011, debuting at #5 on the albums chart. Her work was acknowledged by the CBC’s Q radio show who named it as the 12th best album of 2011, a notch ahead of Adele’s 21. It was nominated for Francophone Album of the Year at the 2012 JUNOs. Coeur de Pirate released biliingual album Roses in 2015 and made the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time with single “Carry On”/”Oublie Moi”.

City and Colour

City and Colour is not a band but an individual from St. Catharines, ON named Dallas Green, Dallas being a city and Green being a colour. He was previously the lead singer of the band Alexisonfire and now plays a style of melodic indie rock. His released his first album, Sometimes, under his moniker in 2005. Both it and his second album were certified platinum. In 2011, Little Hell, was his third and went platinum in early 2012. He has not yet fared as well in the singles department; however, his song “Waiting” peaked at #32 on the weekly singles chart in early 2008. In 2014 Dallas teamed with American artist Pink in duo You + Me and released a folk album. Album If I Should Go Before You reached #1 in 2015.

George Canyon

George is one of the more popular Canadian country artists. He grew up in Nova Scotia but relocated to High River, Alberta. He held many interesting jobs to support his dream of becoming a professional singer. He worked as a law enforcement officer and a slaughterhouse beef inspector. Ironwolf was his first album, released in 1996. 2004’s One Good Friend, his third, secured his breakthrough, going gold and winning Country Recording of the Year at the JUNOs. His followup release, Somebody Wrote Love, reaped the same award. His second gold album came out in 2011, Better Be Home Soon.

Canadian Music Blog’s Song of the Year 2011

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: canadianmusicblog@yahoo.ca.

Canadian Music Blog’s Album of the Year 2011

It is officially the winter solstice, so our announcement could come on no better day. (You’ll understand what we mean further down the post).

There was so much good music that came out in 2011, it will have the JUNO judges pulling their hair out to come up with a list of nominees for album of the year in a few months. Many recording artists released their magnum opus this year.

Our third favourite album this year comes from Ron Sexsmith, the most overlooked Canadian recording artist of modern times and one who is admired by the likes of Sir Paul McCartney. Long Player, Late Bloomer is a beautifully-crafted folk pop album and was produced by the eminent Bob Rock. It is the St. Catharines native’s best effort to date in our humble opinion.

At #2 is Goodbye Lullaby, pop punk princess Avril Lavigne‘s best album yet for one uncomplicated reason: there is not a single weak moment on the disc. Filled with inspired pop tunes from start to finish, it is but a gem. And, of course, no current Canadian recording artist can outsing her pure, pleasant, and pitch-perfect voice.

#1? Well, it’s a bit cold in here, so let’s “pull the wool up like a smoke screen” and introduce it gradually…

It would make more sense to fly over the North Pole, as the distance would surely be shorter, but the airlines would rather take us on the scenic route, like “two sparks tumbling along”, and have us stop over and change flights in a number of bustling cities with “busy parks” on different continents. The easiest way to fly from Vancouver to the largest city in this region of the world would be to stop over in Beijing, but that would be expensive. A cheaper alternative would be flying to Chicago, USA or London, England, then to Moscow, and finally to our destination of Novosibirsk, a city just shy of 1.5 million people, the largest urban center of northern Asia, an area of the Russian Federation known as Siberia.

Before we go on our flight, we want to stay where we are, in Vancouver, and travel back in time. We set the dial of our time machine to March 29, 2009 and push the button. After a flash of lights, we find ourselves in pre-Olympic Vancouver. We hop onto the SkyTrain which will drive our soul downtown. Many passengers will be going to our destination today and are very excited. After arriving, we disembark and walk over to what was then known as “GM Place”. We purchase tickets at the door and make our way inside. The show is about to begin. Nickelback blows us away with a tour de force performance, after which we see the host of the proceedings, comedian Russell Peters. We are, as some of you have figured from the clues, at the JUNO awards gala of 2009. A number of awards are being presented for the best in Canadian music.

At about 5:40 pm, after a performance by Sarah McLachlan and a cute comedy sketch with Peters and Michael Bublé, Maple Ridge’s beautiful Filipina-Canadian pop star Elise Estrada, the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage, and Terrace’s country singer Aaron Pritchett step onto the stage. They will be presenting the prestigious award for New Artist of the Year. The nominees are Jessie Ferrell, LIGHTS, Crystal Shawanda, Kreesha Turner, and Nikki Yanofsky. James Moore announces, “And the JUNO goes to…”. He opens the “envelope” which looks more like a CD jewel case, and then declares, “LIGHTS!”

As Elise Estrada begins clapping, another young woman, in a purple dress, looking very surprised and very happy, stands up and makes her way to the stage. The song “Drive My Soul”, a Top 20 hit, begins playing. The crowd is cheering. We are cheering too. She gives the three presenters a hug and positions herself in front of the microphone. “Whoa. Oh my goodness. I was so not expecting this … You know, I didn’t get into this to win awards; I got into this to create some amazing music, and we’ll try to anyways…”.

What was significant about LIGHTS winning the JUNO was that she had not yet released her debut album; it came out later that year in September. The Listening was an electronic pop record and was later certified gold in Canada.

Encouraged by her success, she decided, in the making of her sophomore baby, to depart from mainstream sounds to something more creative, more gritty, on the “alternative” side of the musical spectrum. Various personnel within the record company, who were more concerned with the business side of music, opposed the artistic move, and she was faced with manipulative forces trying to push her in different directions. She remained fixed in her resolve and focused on her goal of creating something different but exceptional musically. A great team consisting of Thomas Salter, Dave Thompson, Jay Parson, Brian Borcherdt, and Graham Walsh assisted her in crafting and perfecting a Canadian masterwork.

After some delays, Siberia was released on October 4, 2011. It is an indie electronic rock album with some elements of dubstep, and it received rave reviews. Siberia debuted at #3 on the Canadian albums chart behind Adele’s 21 and Feist’s Metals and sold 10,000 copies in the first week. She went on a North American tour to promote the album and will be heading to Europe next year.

Although Siberia pays homage to the great masters of electronic rock—FM, Gary Numan, Bjork, and Metric to name a few—LIGHTS has carved out a niche for herself by honing her own unique style. Amidst the ethereal, pulsating synthesizer buzzes, her voice comes through as sweet as honey, and her lyrics are more inspired than the pennings of the aforementioned.

Everyone has their favourite tracks. Ours are the title-track “Siberia”, single “Toes“, ballad “And Counting…”, and, most of all, the hauntingly gorgeous “Cactus in the Valley”, a song she composed entirely on her own.

LIGHTS fought off all opposition to make her work of art like fighting off the cold to brave the “icy tides” and “sail across the east sea”. In her song “Toes” she sings, “You capture my attention”. No, LIGHTS, you have captured our attention and have worn out the laser on our CD player from a countless number of listens.

“I didn’t get into this to win awards; I got into this to create some amazing music,” she said. And she has done just that. LIGHTS’ Siberia is our pick for album of the year 2011. Well done.

Update:  At the end of April 2012, Siberia was awarded GOLD certification in Canada.

Do you have a favourite Canadian album of 2011? Let us know: canadianmusicblog@yahoo.ca.

Top 50 Charting Albums in Canada During 2011

Billboard has published a year-end chart of the Top 50 charting albums in Canada during the year 2011. In my opinion, charts make more sense for singles, as these stay on the charts for a couple of months. Albums can remain on the charts for a couple of years, so albums released at the beginning of the year have a better chance than later releases of attaining high positions on the year-end chart. Nevertheless, it gives an idea of what some of the more popular albums were during the year. The Biebs has cleaned up with four albums on the chart.

I have bolded Canadian artists in red. Interestingly, I was in a record store the other day and noticed that French Canadian albums were filed under the “world” section. Does this mean they’re not considered Canadian? I beg to differ.

Album Artist
50 Hands All Over Maroon 5
49 L’existoire Richard Desjardins
48 The Suburbs Arcade Fire
47 A Place Called Love Johnny Reid
46 Mixmania2 (Various Artists)
45 Joy to the World Pink Martini
44 Americana II Roch Voisine
43 I’m with You Red Hot Chili Peppers
42 Torches Foster the People
41 Femme Fatale Britney Spears
40 Little Hell City and Colour
39 Michael Michael Jackson
38 Songs for Japan Various Artists
37 Nothing but the Beat David Guetta
36 Under the Mistletoe Justin Bieber
35 Wasting Light Foo Fighters
34 My World 2.0 Justin Bieber
33 Never Say Never: The Remixes Justin Bieber
32 Love? Jennifer Lopez
31 O Holy Night (EP) Jackie Evancho
30 Tha Carter IV Lil Wayne
29 Own the Night Lady Antebellum
28 Pink Friday Nicki Minaj
27 Duets II Tony Bennett
26 La musique en moi Ginette Reno
25 Glee, The Music: Season Two (Various Artists)
24 Planet Pit Pitbull
23 When the Sun Goes Down Selena Gomez & the Scene
22 Watch the Throne Jay Z Kanye West
21 My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy Kanye West
20 Illuminations Josh Groban
19 Recovery Eminem
18 Mylo Xyloto Coldplay
17 Hell: the Sequel (EP) Bad Meets Evil
16 Christmas Michael Buble
15 Greatest Hits… So Far P!nk
14 My Worlds Acoustic Justin Bieber
13 Much Dance 2011 (Various Artists)
12 Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album (Various Artists)
11 The Gift Susan Boyle
10 Sorry for the Party Rocking LMFAO
9 Speak Now Taylor Swift
8 Greatest Hits Bon Jovi
7 Sigh No More Mumford & Sons
6 Doo-Wops & Hooligans Bruno Mars
5 Teenage Dream Katy Perry
4 The Beginning Black Eyed Peas
3 Born This Way Lady Gaga
2 Loud Rihanna
1 21 Adele

Canadian Hot 100 Singles of the Year 2011

Billboard has already released the Top 100 singles of the year in Canada. I suppose those still on the charts will be counted towards next year’s chart. Here is the list below, counted down from 100 to 1 in traditional style, with Canadian artists bolded in red.

Song Artist
100 She’s Dope Down with Webster
99 Mr. Know It All Kelly Clarkson
98 Sweat Snoop Dogg
97 Bumpy Ride Mohombi
96 I Like It Enrique Iglesias
95 I Wanna Dance with Somebody These Kids Wear Crowns
94 Fire Raghav
93 We No Speak Americano Yolanda Be Cool & Dcup
92 Moment 4 Life Nicki Minaj ft. Drake
91 Who Says Selena Gomez & The Scene
90 California King Bed Rihanna
89 About Us Neverest
88 Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall Coldplay
87 The Show Goes On Lupe Fiasco
86 In the Dark Dev
85 Mr. Saxobeat Anlexandra Stan
84 Beautiful People Chris Brown
83 How to Love Lil Wayne
82 Like a G6 Far*East Movement
81 Haven’t Had Enough Marianas Trench
80 Like Magic Jrdn
79 Rocketeer Far*East Movement
78 Jar of Hearts Christina Perri
77 Club Can’t Handle Me Flo Rida
76 Can’t Breathe Fefe Dobson
75 Good Feeling Flo Rida
74 Latin Moon Mia Martina
73 Judas Lady Gaga
72 Tonight Tonight Hot Chelle Rae
71 Who’s That Chick? David Guetta
70 Marry You Bruno Mars
69 Invincible Hedley
68 Written in the Stars Tinie Tempah
67 Ghetto Love Karl Wolf ft. Kardinall Offishall
66 Cheers (Drink to That) Rihanna
65 You and I Lady Gaga
64 Let’s Play Kristina Maria
63 What the Hell Avril Lavigne
62 Dirty Dancer Enrique Iglesias
61 Teenage Dream Katy Perry
60 Black and Yellow Wiz Khalifa
59 Electric Shawn Desman
58 Higher Taio Cruz
57 Blow Ke$ha
56 Rain Over Me Pitbull
55 Just a Kiss Lady Antebellum
54 Stereo Hearts Gym Class Heroes
53 Don’t Wanna Go Home Jason Derulo
52 Brand New Chick Anjulie
51 I Need a Doctor Dr. Dre
50 Hold It Against Me Britney Spears
49 Just a Dream Nelly
48 Love You Like a Love Song Selena Gomez & The Scene
47 Without You David Guetta
46 Dj Got Us Fallin’ In Love Usher
45 Stutterin’ Fefe Dobson
44 Yeah 3x Chris Brown
43 We Found Love Rihanna
42 You Make Me Feel Cobra Starship
41 Hey Baby (Drop It to the Floor) Pitbull
40 Lighters Bad Meets Evil
39 Dynamite Taio Cruz
38 Where Them Girls At David Guetta
37 Jet Lag Simple Plan
36 Good Life Onerepublic
35 We R Who We R Ke$ha
34 Stereo Love Edward Maya & Mia Martina
33 I Wanna Go Britney Spears
32 What’s My Name? Rihanna ft. Drake
31 Coming Home Diddy – Dirty Money
30 Sexy and I Know It LMFAO
29 Super Bass Nicki Minaj
28 Just the Way You Are Bruno Mars
27 Only Girl (In the World) Rihanna
26 Till the World Ends Britney Spears
25 F**k You (Forget You) Cee Lo Green
24 Alone Again Alyssa Reid
23 More Usher
22 Price Tag Jessie J
21 Pumped Up Kicks Foster the People
20 S&M Rihanna
19 Just Can’t Get Enough The Black Eyed Peas
18 Raise Your Glass P!nk
17 The Lazy Song Bruno Mars
16 Someone Like You Adele
15 The Time (Dirty Bit) The Black Eyed Peas
14 The Edge of Glory Lady Gaga
13 F**kin’ Perfect P!nk
12 Last Friday Night Katy Perry
11 Hello Martin Solveig & Dragonette
10 E.T. Katy Perry
9 Tonight (I’m Lovin’ You) Enrique Iglesias
8 Firework Katy Perry
7 Grenade Bruno Mars
6 Born This Way Lady Gaga
5 Moves Like Jagger Maroon 5
4 Give Me Everything Pitbull
3 On the Floor Jennifer Lopez
2 Party Rock Anthem LMFAO
1 Rolling in the Deep Adele

2011 Félix Award Winners – Part 2

Part 2 of the Felix Awards was held last night and there weren’t too many surprises among the champions. Below is a selection of some of the award winners. For a complete list of winners (in French), click HERE.

Quebec Artist Having Most Success outside Quebec:  Arcade Fire
Best New Artist:  Brigitte Boisjoli
Group of the Year:  Les Cowboys Fringants
Female Artist of the Year:  Marie-Mai
Male Artist of the Year:  Éric Lapointe
Album of the Year – Pop:  La musique en moi, Ginette Reno
Album of the Year – Pop-Rock:  Entre deux mondes, Marc Dupré
Most Popular Song of the Year:  “On va s’aimer encore”, Vincent Vallières

Part 1 of the Awards (held on October 24th) is HERE.

A list of nominees is HERE.

2011 Félix Award Winners – Part 1

The first part of the Felix awards ceremony took place on October 24th with Part 2 happening on the 30th. The Felix Awards celebrate excellence in music from Québec. They began in 1979 in response to a lack of representation of Francophone music at the Juno Awards. Here is a list of some of the winners from the first ceremony last Monday. To see a complete list, click HERE.

Album of the Year – Alternative: La Caverne, Malajube
Album of the Year – Anglophone: The Suburbs, Arcade Fire
Album of the Year – Country: Laurence Hélie, Laurence Hélie
Album of the Year – Instrumental: Les chemins ombragés, André Gagnon
Album of the Year – Jazz Originals: Sep7entrion, Alain Caron
Album of the Year – Best-Selling: La musique en moi, Ginette Reno
Album of the Year – Electronic: Golden Bombay, Misteur Valaire
Album of the Year – World Music: Aksil, Élage Diouf
Album of the Year – Covers: Americana, Roch Voisine
Album of the Year – Rock: Le ciel de mes combats, Éric Lapointe

International Francophone Artist Achieving Greatest Success in Quebec: ZAZ (France)
Video of the Year: “On va s’aimer encore”, Vincent Vallières (see below).

Félix Nominations for 2011

We are absolutely thrilled to announce that the nominations are out for the 2011 ADISQ gala. Québec’s music awards ceremony began in 1979 to fill the void left by the Juno Awards which largely neglected Francophone music. The Félix awards will be held in two parts on October 24th and 30th. The entire list of nominations (in French) can be found HERE. We list some of the major categories and nominations below for your convenience. We’ve also included links for the songs nominated to their Youtube MVs. Congratulations to all those nominated and bonne chance!

Album of the Year (Pop-Rock)

Chasser le malheur : Alfa Rococo
La garde : Alexandre Désilets
Entre deux mondes : Marc Dupré
De lune à l’aube : Alex Nevsky
Premier Baiser : Marie-Chantal Toupin

Most Popular Song of the Year

Météore : Alfa Rococo
Fruits défendus : Brigitte Boisjoli
J’taime pas, j’t’adore : Nicola Ciccone
Près de toi : Martin Deschamps
Jusqu’au bout : Éric Lapointe
Elle s’appelait Serge : Les Trois Accords
Comme avant : Marie-Mai
Toujours de nous : Mario Pelchat
Je repars : David Usher, Marie-Mai
On va s’aimer encore : Vincent Vallières

Group of the Year

Alfa Rococo
Les Cowboys Fringants
Les Trois Accords
Radio Radio

Female Vocalist of the Year

Brigitte Boisjoli
Isabelle Boulay
Cœur de pirate
Ginette Reno

Male Vocalist of the Year

William Deslauriers
Maxime Landry
Éric Lapointe
Fred Pellerin
Richard Séguin

Newcomer of the Year

Brigitte Boisjoli
Ariane Brunet
William Deslauriers
Jimmy Hunt
Alex Nevsky

Quebec Artist having the most success outside of the Province

The Arcade Fire
Cœur de pirate
Anthony Kavanagh
Pierre Lapointe
Fred Pellerin
Patrick Watson

Anglophone Album of the Year

The Suburbs : Arcade Fire
Bubble bath & champagne : France D’Amour
Big Slice : Jonas & The Massive Attraction
Fold It! Mold It! : Random Recipe
Chasing Lydie : Marie-Jo Thério

Best-Selling Album of the Year

Un pied à terre : William Deslauriers
Les chemins ombragés : André Gagnon
Le ciel de mes combats : Éric Lapointe
La musique en moi : Ginette Reno
Noël chez moi : Annie Villeneuve

International Francophone Artist Most Successful in Quebec

Tiken Jah Fakoly (Africa)
Cécile Hercule (France)
Indochine (France)
Stromae (France)
ZAZ (France)