New Album Releases, Batch #12-1019

Country, God or the Girl by K’Naan

With a triple platinum single under his toque and 3 JUNO awards, naturalized Canadian rapper K’Naan (originally from Somalia) has yet to score a GOLD album. This may change, however, with the release of his new LP (his 4th), Country, God, or the Girl. The album includes his current hit, “Hurt Me Tomorrow” and his previous Top 20 collaboration with Nelly Furtado, “Is Anybody Out There?” The album features other big name artists including U2’s Bono (Ireland), The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards (U.K.), and (U.S.).

Official Website     iTunes

It’s Easy If You Try by Len

Len is best known for its international hit “Steal My Sunshine” back in 1999 and have been called one-hit wonders. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with that; Pink Floyd were one-hit wonders … well, almost (I think “Money” made the Top 40). Len received 3 JUNO nominations, one of them being for Best Alternative Album. A followup LP took a while to surface (2005’s Diary of the Madmen) and we haven’t heard much from them for the past several years. But a new album has just been released entitled It’s Easy If You Try that is definitely worth checking out, especially given that such a nifty work is in danger of passing unnoticed, their not being on the scene for a while.  This is a very good album!

Official Website     iTunes

Omnipresent by Damien Robitaille

Damien Robitaille has received some 11 Félix nominations, winning one. He’s also been nominated for a JUNO. From Ontario, he released an independent album while in high school and then studied classical music at the University of Waterloo. He won a scholarship to study music in Québec via a competition in Ontario. In Montréal, he won first prize in the Francouvertes Festival leading to a record deal. His first major album came out in 2006. His latest work Omnipresent is his third, freshly released. It’s upbeat AC/pop with some nice Latin rhythms and reggae vibes in the mix, not to mention a cool turquoise album cover.

Official Website     iTunes

Come Home to Mama by Martha Wainwright

JUNO-nominated Canadian-American folk-pop songstress Martha Wainwright (yes, she is Rufus’ sister) has just released her latest album, Come Home to Mama. This is a brutally honest personal album where she addresses marriage, giving birth, and the death of her mother of cancer in 2010. One of the songs, in fact, was written by her mother, Canadian folk singer Kate McGarrigle. Though she deals with heavy subject matter, her vocals come off strong and vibrant. The album was recorded at Sean Lennon’s home studio in New York and is her third major release. Critics consider this Martha’s best album to date.

Official Website     iTunes

Seule ce soir by Emilie-Claire Barlow

There really is much more to Canadian jazz than Oscar Peterson and Diana Krall. One of jazz’s biggest names is Toronto’s 4-time JUNO nominee Emilie-Claire Barlow. Her style is more laid back and sweet compared to Krall’s more intense delivery. Her new, ninth album, Seule ce soir, is her first French-only release, and consists of a collection of her previous French recordings, rearranged and re-recorded plus six new ones, including jazz arrangements of songs by Sting and Ginette Reno. In my opinion, cool jazz sounds better in French than in English. This is one of the finest jazz records I’ve heard in a while. Put it on at 9 o’clock at night, and it will brighten the room.

Official Website     iTunes

Rock and Roll is Black and Blue by Danko Jones

Another 4-time JUNO nominee is metal rockers Danko Jones, a simple 3-man outfit from Toronto, named for the lead singer. Around since 1996, the band has just released Rock and Roll is Black and Blue, their sixth LP. This is in-your-face, menacing guitar mangled pulp that’ll pelt your senses until they are … black and blue. The ultra-fast tempoed “Just a Beautiful Day” is the first single. They have been compared to AC/DC but their sound has more of a bluesy vibe, like roots rock that has been injected with a highly concentrated dose of caffeine.

Official Website     iTunes


K’naan and Nelly Furtado in Collaboration

For those of you who missed it, Somali-Canadian rapper K’naan and Portuguese-Canadian singer-songwriter Nelly Furtado performed their new collaborative single “Is Anybody Out There” on U.S. chat show Late Night with David Letterman last night.  You can watch the performace on YouTube HERE.  K’naan, most famous for “Wavin’ Flag”, has released a new 5-track EP called More Beautiful Than Silence.  Nelly is working on her new studio album which may be out as early as this summer.  She says it will be similar to her debut album, Whoa Nelly!, but she has decided to include rapping on it.  The album title has been revealed:  T.S.I.  Furtado’s last English studio album, Loose, released six years ago, sold 10 million copies worldwide.

Nelly Furtado Official Site

K’naan Official Site

The 4th Canadian Single to Top the Canadian Billboard Hot 100

Since the debut of the Canadian Billboard Hot 100 in mid-2007, only a trio of Canadian singles have topped the chart … until today.  The first was Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend”, the second Nikki Yanofsky’s “I Believe”, and the third Young Artists For Haiti’s “Wavin’ Flag”.  With the February 3 chart released today, we now have a fourth Canadian single to hold such a distinction:  Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”.

Wouldn’t it be cool if Avril and Nikki sent their Canadian sister their congratulations.

Canadian Women to Top the Canadian Billboard Hot 100

 A “hot shot debut” on the charts is the new collaboration between K’Naan and Nelly Furtado called “Is Anybody Out There?”.  As it has started its chart run at the strong position of #67, it is a rap-piece to watch for in the coming weeks.

An American politician has begun using K’Naan’s “Wavin’ Flag” in his campaign without asking K’Naan’s permission.  This has deeply offended K’Naan.  The politician is involved with something called The Republican Party.  The United States has already become a repulbic–long ago–so I’m not sure exactly why the politician wants to wave a flag at this point.

Simple Plan’s “Summer Paradise” Rolling Up the Australian Charts

Since we are on the topic of Australia (David Myles is on tour there), it is fitting to announce that Montreal’s Simple Plan has released the single “Summer Paradise” Down Under and it is already at #22 on the Australian singles chart. The MV was filmed there with shots from their tour and features a segment from Somali-Canadian K’naan. “Summer Paradise” is the third single released from the band’s album Get Your Heart On. “Jet Lag”, a platinum single in Canada, was also very popular in Australia, finishing the year 2011 as the 60th most popular song there.

Simple Plan is currently on tour in Asia and having a blast. They played Hong Kong tonight. The Canadian leg of their tour kicks off on February 9th in Penticton, BC.

Whether you’re a Simple Plan fan or not – no worries, mate – you have to admit that it’s pretty cool to get a nod of approval from our fellow Commonwealth nation, eh.

2010 in Music

After the Vancouver Olympics, which saw Stephan Moccio and Nikki Yanofsky’s “I Believe” top the charts and become the 33rd biggest song of the year in Canada, many Canadian artists began collaborating with others to produce hit singles.


Montreal’s A-Trak joined American Armand Van Helden to form the house duo Duck Sauce. They churned out “Barbara Streisand” which became a number 3 hit in the U.K. Somali-Canadian K’naan teamed up with British band Keane as well as a supergroup of Canadian artists to record a charity single for Haiti. We will get to K’naan in a bit.

Justin Bieber allowed American rapper Ludacris to appear in his song “Baby”, a Top 5 hit in Canada, the U.K., and U.S. His “Eenie Meenie” was recorded with Jamaican-American Sean Kingston. The song made the Top 10 in Britain. Both songs made the Billboard year-end Top 100 chart. Bieber’s solo performance in “Somebody to Love” was a Top 10 hit at home.

Drake only had one Top 10 hit in Canada, “Find Your Love” which was the 32nd biggest song of the year in the U.S. (highest position for a Canadian artist). “Over” was another solo hit for him. “Forever” included contributions from Americans Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Eminem. Drake was featured in two songs from other artists: Lil Wayne’s “Right Above It” and Timbaland’s “Say Something”. All these songs by or featuring Drake make the Billboard Top 100 year-end chart in the U.S. He was also featured in the song “What’s My Name” with Barbados’ Rihanna, a #2 hit in Britain.

Calgary’s twin sisters Tegan & Sara collaborated with Dutch musician Tiesto on the song “Feel It In My Bones” which made the year-end Top 100 in Canada.

Biggest Hits

The biggest Canadian song of the year was Hedley’s “Perfect” which finished in 18th spot. Two versions of “Wavin’ Flag”, one by the artist himself, K’naan, and a reworked version performed by Young Artists for Haiti came next (#21 and #19 respectively). The latter won the JUNO for song of the year in 2011. At #31, was Michael Buble’s “Haven’t Met You Yet”. Aforementioned Nikki Yanofsky’s “I Believe” was 33rd, and new Toronto band Down with Webster’s “Your Man” was 37th.

French-language hits this year included Les Trois Accords’ “Dans mon corps”, Marie-Mai’s “Deja loin”, William Deslauriers’ “Recommencer tout à zéro”, and Dumas’ “Le bonheur”.

Three albums released this year were certified double-platinum: Johnny Reid’s A Place Called Love, Justin Bieber’s My World 2.0, and kd Lang’s Recollection. The album of the year JUNO went to The Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs with Karwa’s Les chemins de verre winning the JUNO for Francophone album of the year.


Besides the above-mentioned Nikki Yanofsky, Down with Webster, K’naan, Tegan & Sara, and Duck Sauce, there were a few additional artists who rose to prominence this year, whether they had been around for a few years already or released a successful debut. Around since 2004, The Arcade Fire, without any hit singles to speak of, rose to prominence in terms of awards, not only in Canada but around the world. Deadmau5, around nearly as long, scored his first platinum album, giving his credibility as a leader of Canadian dance music. Quebec dance duo Alfa Rococo released their second album this year which was very popular. Brand new singer Bobby Bazini scored a platinum debut album. Star Academie winner Maxime Landry did twice as well this year with his first album, released at the end of 2009. The JUNO for best new artist went to Meaghan Smith with Vancouver indie band Said the Whale winning best new group.


While most African Americans are several-generation U.S. citizens, K’naan was actually born in Africa (Somalia) and immigrated to Canada. He lived through the Somali Civil War in Mogadishu. His father left Somalia for the U.S. and sent his son rap records which he savoured. When he was 13, K’naan, his siblings, and mother left Africa for New York to visit relatives before settling in the Toronto neighbourhood of Rexdale. During his teen years he began to practice rapping himself.

In 1999, Canadian promoter Sol Guy helped K’naan secure a speaking engagement before the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. He criticized the organization for its failure in aiding Somalia. In the audience was Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour who was so impressed that he invited him to contribute to his 2001 album Building Bridges.

Eventually, Canadian producer Jarvis Church agreed to produce K’naan’s debut album The Dusty Foot Philosopher in 2005 which won a Juno. The man’s breakthrough, however, came this year, not with a rap piece but the pop song “Wavin’ Flag”. It made it to #2 on the charts in Canada and Britain. The song was chosen as theme song for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa and was recorded in many languages.

Later, “Wavin’ Flag” was rerecorded by a supergroup of Canadian artists as a charity single to raise funds for Haiti in the aftermath of its earthquake. Besides K’naan, Young Artists for Haiti included soloists Nelly Furtado, Sam Roberts, Avril Lavigne, Pierre Bouvier (of Simple Plan), Tyler Connolly (of Theory of a Deadman), Kardinal Offishall, Jully Black, LIGHTS, Deryck Whibley (of Sum 41), Serena Ryder, Jacob Hoggard (of Hedley), Emily Haines (of Metric), Hawksley Workman, Drake, Chin Injeti, Ima, Pierre Lapointe, Elisapie Isaac, Esthero, Corb Lund, Fefe Dobson, Nikki Yanofsky, Matt Mays, Justin Nozuka and Justin Bieber.

Performing the chorus were Arkells, Lamar Ashe, Broken Social Scene, Torquil Campbell, Canadian Tenors, Aion Clarke, City and Colour, Tom Cochrane, Jim Cuddy, Jim Creeggan, Kathleen Edwards, Dave Faber, Jessie Farrell, Colin James, Pat Kordyback, Brandon Lehti, Colin MacDonald, Jay Malinowski, Stacey McKitrick, Suzie McNeil, Stephan Moccio, Kevin Parent, Josh Ramsay, Red 1, Hayley Sales, James Shaw and Shiloh.

This version of “Wavin’ Flag”, produced by Bob Ezrin, topped the singles chart and won the JUNO for song of the year. The music video can be seen HERE.

K’naan also teamed up with British superstars Keane. Keane released an album in 2004 called Hopes and Fears which was certified 9x Platinum in Britain thanks to Top 5 hits “Everybody’s Changing” and “Somewhere Only We Know”. In 2010, K’naan was featured in a couple of songs for the band’s Night Train EP, including “Stop for a Minute” which became an international hit.

In 2012, K’Naan teamed up with Nelly Furtado releasing “Is Anybody Out There” which topped the charts in New Zealand and was the 52nd biggest hit of the year in Canada; his “Hurt Me Tomorrow” was 70th.

Maxime Landry

The best-selling Francophone album in 2010 was from 2009 Star Academie winner Maxime Landry. His album Vox Pop, released in December, 2009, was certified double-platinum. He is from Saint-Gédéon-de-Beauce, Quebec, which is near the border with the U.S. State of Maine. There is not much info on the web about him, but, from what we gather, he was born in 1987 and started out learning the guitar. He participated in a number of music competitions before entering Star Academie.


This is not in reality a band but an individual named Joel Thomas Zimmerman, born in 1981 in Niagara Falls. He released his debut album in 2006 and has been leading the way in making Canadian dance/house music from Toronto. The correct pronunciation of his stage name is not “dead mau five” but “dead mouse”. He often performs wearing a “mau5head” costume. He attracts large dance crowds to his performances. His album 4×4=12 was certified platinum.  In 2012, four deadmau5 singles made the Canadian Hot 100, the most successful of which was “The Veldt” (#24); it was the 75th biggest hit of the year. Album While 1 Is Less Than 2 came in 2014 spawning a couple of hits.

Bobby Bazini

Born and raised in Mont-Laurier, a small town north of Montréal in the Upper Laurentians, teen Bobby Banzini learned the guitar from his father. He took a liking to the music of Johnny Cash but developed an interest in soul music after watching a documentary about Otis Redding. Bazini began writing lyrics and then melodies and, encouraged by his grandmother, he began composing music. When he was 18, he performed at a local music festival which caught the attention of a local deejay who was also a drummer. The two began working together and a song was sent to a promoter in Montreal who introduced Bobby to a record label. He was signed very quickly.

Bobby’s debut album, Better in Time, was released in 2010 and his song “I Wonder”, which peaked on the Quebec charts at #3, helped the album reach platinum certification in Canada. His sophomore album, 2014’s Where I Belong also struck platinum as well. In 2016, he released Summer Is Gone which spawned cross-Canada radio single “C’est La Vie”.

Meaghan Smith

After her songs appeared in the 2009 film 500 Days of Summer, Meaghan’s independent album The Cricket’s Orchestra was picked up by Warner Music and distributed in Canada this year. At the JUNO gala in 2011, she won the award for new artist of the year. Meaghan is from London, Ontario. Album Have a Heart in 2014 combined vintage and modern pop.

Nikki Yanofsky

As the whole world tuned in to watch the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, expecting to see a superstar like Celine Dion perform the national anthem, there was some surprise awaiting them. Celine was pregnant and it was decided that the tone of the games needed to be set by a fresh, youthful face. 16-year-old jazz-pop singer-songwriter Nikki Yanofsky of Montreal shone on stage like a Rudolph leading the country into the hearts of the world. The citizens of her hometown of Montreal were floored. The principal of her high school is reported to have said, “I gasped when I saw her on TV in that red dress and those red shoes – and then I cried, she was so spectacular.”

Yanofsky’s song “I Beleive” was a quadruple-platinum single and her album Nikki eventually struck platinum. Album Little Secret in 2014 was produced by American heavyweight Quincy Jones and new music in 2016 by Wyclef Jean.

Tegan & Sara

This indie duo of identical twin sisters who compose, sing, and play both the guitar and piano debuted back in 1999. Their last three albums have gone gold as they have a large underground following. They hit the mainstream this year when they teamed up with Dutch musician Tiesto and released the new wave single “Feel It In My Bones” which made the Top 100 of 2010 chart.  In 2012, their popularity skyrocketed as they collaborated with house American DJ Morgan Page in “Body Work”, a Top 40 single, while “Closer” reached #21 on the Canadian Hot 100.  They released a new album in 2013, Heartthrob and scored subsequent hit singles. For the album, the duo won 3 JUNO Awards in 2014.

Arcade Fire

The art rock band from Montreal has been around since 2004. This year, they released their third album called The Suburbs. It won the album of the year award at The Canadian JUNOs, American Grammys, and the United Kingdom’s BRIT award for Best International Album. At the end of 2011, the album was certified double-platinum in Canada. The seven-member band plays an assortment of instruments including piano, keyboard, guitar, drums, bass guitar, violin, viola, cello, double bass, xylophone, glockenspiel, French horn, accordion, harp, mandolin, and hurdy-gurdy. In 2013 the title track of their album Reflektor became their first Top 40 hit peaking on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 at #20. The group released album Everything Now in 2017.

Down with Webster

Like the Arcade Fire, this is a large band, consisting of several members and hail from Toronto. They perform rap music. Down with Webster signed a record deal in 2009 after a self-released album two years earlier. They released a gold EP which spawned two big hits. “Your Man” and “Whoa Is Me” both made the Top 100 of 2010 and were certified platinum digital downloads. In 2013, “One in a Million” made the Top 30 and became a platinum single. Further success cam in 2014 with the release of album Party For Your Life.


The JUNOs presented Karkwa with the Francophone album of the year award for their gold 2010 release Les chemins de verre, the band’s fourth album. Singles from the LP were “Marie tu pleures” and “Le pyromane”. Karkwa is a five-man indie rock band that formed in Montreal in 1998 and has been releasing material since 2003. Their lead singer is Louis-Jean Cormier and the band’s name is a phonetic rendering of carquois which is French for a quiver of arrows.

Major Juno Awards

For music in 2010, below is a summary of nominations and wins in major categories at the 2011 gala.

Francophone Album of the Year:

Bernard Adamus, Brun
Daniel Bélanger, Nous
Fred Pellerin, Silence
Radio Radio, Belmundo Regal
Winner: Karkwa, Les chemins de verre

Album of the Year:

Drake, Thank Me Later
Hedley, The Show Must Go
Johnny Reid, A Place Called Love
Justin Bieber, My World 2.0
Winner: Arcade Fire, The Suburbs

Single of the Year:

Classified, “Oh Canada”
Drake, “Find Your Love”
Hedley, “Perfect”
Kd lang, “Hallelujah”
Winner: Young Artists for Haiti, “Wavin’ Flag”

New Artist of the Year:

Basia Bulat
Bobby Bazini
Hannah Georges
Winner: Meaghan Smith

Artist of the Year:

Johnny Reid
Justin Bieber
Sarah McLachlan
Winner: Neil Young

New Group of the Year:

Die Mannequin
Misteur Valaire
My Darkest Days
Winner: Said the Whale

Group of the Year:

Broken Social Scene
Down with Webster
Great Big Sea
Three Days Grace
Winner: Arcade Fire

Successful Albums Released in 2010

Three albums released in 2010 have been certified double-platinum, the highest certification reached for albums that year. They are…

Justin Bieber, My World 2.0
Johnny Reid, A Place Called Love
k.d. lang, Recollection

5 albums released in 2010 have been certified platinum.

Bobby Bazini, Better in Time
Drake, Thank Me Later
Justin Bieber, My Worlds Acoustic
Deadmau5, 4×4=12
The Canadian Tenors, The Perfect Gift

Successful Singles Released in 2010

Stephan Moccio, “I Believe”, 5x Platinum Sales
Nikki Yanofsky, “I Believe”, 4x Platinum Digital Download
K’naan, “Wavin’ Flag”, 3x Platinum Digital Download
Young Artists for Haiti, “Wavin’ Flag”, 3x Platinum Digital Download
Down with Webster, “Whoa Is Me”, Platinum Digital Download
Down with Webster, “Your Man”, Platinum Digital Download
k.d. lang, “Hallelujah”, Platinum Digital Download
Shawn Desman, “Electric”, Platinum Digital Download

Canadian Hot 100 Year-End Singles Chart for 2010

Title Artist Pos
Perfect Hedley 18
Wavin’   Flag Young Artists for Haiti 19
Wavin’   Flag K’naan 21
Haven’t   Met You Yet Michael Buble 31
I   Believe Nikki Yanofsky 33
Your Man Down with Webster 37
Find   Your Love Drake 42
Ghost Fefe Dobson 47
Bodybounce Kardinal Offishall ft. Akon 50
Don’t   Talk to Strangers Hedley 54
Take a   Minute K’naan 56
This   Afternoon Nickelback 58
Baby Justin Bieber 61
Beside   You Marianas Trench 64
Celebrity   Status Marianas Trench 69
Eenie   Meenie Justin Bieber 76
Shiver Shawn Desman 78
Turn It   Up Stereos 80
Give Him   Up Faber Drive 84
Whoa Is   Me Down with Webster 85
Night   Like This Shawn Desman 86
Somebody   to Love Justin Bieber 87
Over Drake 91
Cha   Ching Hedley 92
Feel It   In My Bones Tiesto ft. Tegan & Sara 94
Hands Up Hedley 96

Top Francophone Songs of 2010