Nov 3 Releases: Johnny Reid, Marc Dupré, Jess Moskaluke…

New releases this week number at least 22 LPs and 5 EPs. Find at the end of this post a listing of the 27. Our year-to-date totals are 620 Canadian artist albums and 118 extended plays. Artists from Quebec have been the most industrious this year accounting for 40.6% of the albums, Ontarians 32.6%, and British Columbians 9.8%. Albums from groups (3 or more musicians) make up 34.4%, male soloists exactly the same (34.4%), female soloists 21.5%, and duos 9.0%. The remainder are various artist compilation discs. The genres of choice for recording artists in Canada, as we have determined before, are singer-songwriter/folk and alternative which together account for 45.8% of the works with the remainder spread fairly evenly among the other genres. At the end of 2017, we will provide a final and more detailed analysis of the stats. Before getting to the table of new releases, we wish to highlight six of them. Four of this week’s batch are Christmas albums which we will feature in a separate post closer to the holiday.

Andréanne A. Malette, releases a self-titled folk pop tour de force including her mega hit “Fou”. The Granby singer has a beautiful voice, and the vitamin-popped songs frolic along ever so charmingly. This is a wonderful album, Malette’s second.

Our acquisition from the United Kingdom, Johnny Reid of Brampton, Ontario, is a multiplatinum five-time JUNO winner and lays his latest on the banquet table – Revival. He goes for a David Clayton-Thomas’ retro sound with all the fusion adult contemporary trimmings.

Popular for his imaginative brand of alternative folk, Montreal’s Philippe Brach contributes Le silence des troupeaux in which he muses on the state of the world and offers some tips on how to deal with it. Find a little bit of blues and rock in the mix. The album is selling well.

With two gold albums achieved, Marc Dupré is back with another one worthy of the milestone – La vie qu’il nous reste. It is currently sitting comfortably in the iTunes Top 10. The disc is a very good pop album, one of the best releases this week, filled with catchy songs.

Just as great as Marc’s as far as pop goes is an EP from Halifax’s Ria Mae, My Love, featuring her current hit single “Bend”. The platinum JUNO nominee is a very good songwriter, and her brand of pop offers a nice fusion of flavours.

Country superstar Jess Moskaluke from Saskatchewan has a brand new EP out – Past the Past. The seven-track unit features her hits “Drive Me Away” and “Kill Your Love”. Jess is a JUNO winning, platinum recording artist.

TITLE ARTIST GENRE ORIGIN
Acts of Love Maylee Todd R&B ON
Andreanne A. Malette Andreanne A. Malette Folk Pop QC
Apatheia DJ Brace Rap MB
Cassiopee Mara Tremblay Alt Rock QC
Coconut Christmas The Lost Fingers Xmas QC
Consolez-vous De Temps Antan Folk QC
Les corps infinis La Bronze Alt QC
Deluxe La Famille Ouellette Pop QC
Long Hot Summer Days Jim Byrnes Blues BC
Lumieres d’hiver Emilie-Claire Barlow Xmas ON
Martin Valois Martin Valois Pop-Rock QC
Mercy Works Casper Skulls Alt ON
Murphy The Carn Davidson 9 Jazz ON
Nevahland Liam Corcoran S-S PE
Noel Ensemble Mario Pelchat & les Prêtres Xmas QC
Old School Yule! Matt Dusk Xmas ON
Le pain le pays la paix Benoît LeBlanc Folk QC
Revival Johnny Reid AC ON
Le silence des troupeaux Philippe Brach Alt Folk QC
To Love the Coming… The Deep Cove Alt Rock BC
Ubiquite M. Lizotte & M. Desy Classical QC
La vie qu’il nous reste Marc Dupre Pop QC
Hot Three (EP) Alex Pangman Jazz ON
Mark Times (EP) Mark Times Country AB
My Love (EP) Ria Mae Pop NS
Past the Past (EP) Jess Moskaluke Country SK
Wild Eyed Wanderer (EP) Alessia Cohle Country ON
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Ruth B, Florida Georgia Line to Guest on The Voice Finale

The Voice/La Voix crowned four finalists this past weekend, one for each of the four teams. Team Pierre settled upon David Marino, Team Éric Ludovick Bourgeois, Team Isabelle Frank Williams, and Team Marc Rebecca Noelle.

The Grand Finale will feature some big-name guests while celebrating music from the world’s second most famous family in song: The Jacksons. But of course shall be added the most famous of all, Les Sœurs Boulay!

Hot Albertan newcomer Ruth B, with a triple platinum single under her tuque as well as a recent JUNO award, will lend her support and her vocals to the contestants. American duo Florida Georgia Line will countrify the atmosphere with its signature brand of greatness. As well, Canadian duo, the platinum folk-pop 2frères will enchant with their unifying choruses. Stéphanie St-Jean, the winner of the last season of The Voice in 2016, is launching her debut album this Friday (May 5, 2017) and will be present to cheer on the victor of 2017. A number of other La Voix alumni will grace the stage at the big shindig including Matt Holubowski, Philippe Touzel, Éléonore Lagacé, and winner of Season One that started off the series, Valérie Carpentier.

To this wealth of exceptional artists are added the 4 fabulous finalists, David Marino, Frank Williams, Ludovick Bourgeois, and Rebecca Noelle, who will have the privilege to offer viewers, for the first time, an original song composed especially for them by their coach. The show, hosted by Charles Lafortune, airs Sunday night at 7:30 pm, live on the TVA network.

David Marino

This potential teen heartthrob, at 18 years old from Montreal, is currently pursuing college studies in science. He’s a lover of 50s music and hopes to introduce its style to the present generation. Convinced of the power of music, he set up a benefit concert for the Mental Health Foundation of the Jewish General Hospital. Good luck, David!

Ludovick Bourgeois

This 24-year-old from Lorraine, QC is the son of Les BB singer Patrick Bourgeois, and naturally fell in love with music at a young age, turning to it at the close of his adolescence after enthusiastically pursuing sports. He performed with his dad at Francofolies in 2015 before a crowd of 50,000. But it was his mom who convinced him to join The Voice. Good luck, Ludovick!

Frank Williams

Hailing from Moncton, NB, this 32-year-old is a psychiatric nurse at the Moncton University Hospital Centre. He’s a fan of both rock and country and picked up music by scratching into his father’s guitar. Frank has already led a few local bands including Spiral Case. Frank’s second love is natural scenery, as he spends time exploring his province’s countryside and beaches. Good luck, Frank!

Rebecca Noelle

At 32, this Ottawa native is an exceptional R&B and jazz singer. She has performed at venues for 15 years accompanied by her grandpa on piano. She has collaborated with David Gogo touring the U.S. and Europe opening for such wonders as ZZ Top, B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt and Johnny Winter. Rebecca has served as a member of The PepTides. Good luck, Rebecca!

The Voice III Winner Kevin Bazinet Launches Talk To Me

talk to me kevin bazinet

Winner of The Voice III, Kevin Bazinet, has launched Talk To Me, his new album! It follows his debut on the Billboard Hot 100 this year. The album is a balanced blend of adult contemporary and CHR pop with the gifted vocalist injecting a dose of soul into the songs. Talk to Me contains 11 tracks in English, and in true Canadian fashion he adds three French ones as well. We found that listening to the latter beautiful songs turned our hearts to France in the wake of the recent Paris attacks.

While many great vocalists stand in need of composers to pen the songs for them, Kevin wrote the music and/or lyrics on at least 10 of the tracks. The artistic direction on the album was steered by the trio of Kevin, Tino Izzo, and Marc Dupré. The latter co-wrote “Come to Me” on the album with none other than Céline Dion! Another big name on the LP is YTV: The Next Star winner Alicia Moffet who is featured on track “Surrendered”. Kevin Bazinet is the younger brother of platinum recording artist Bobby Bazini but with a different style is venturing on his own path. Talk to Me debuted in the iTunes Top 10 albums securing Kevin as one of the Canadian breakout stars of 2015.  iTunes

Canada Day 2015 Parliament Hill Performances

While a number of recording artists performed at various cities across the country to celebrate Canada’s 148th birthday, the main televised extravaganza took place in Ottawa on Parliament Hill. It was a beautifully done affair with Francophones and Anglophones, women and men all sharing the stage together, something we need to see more often. Most performers played three songs, and a single group of professional musicians backed them all. We took some screen shots posted below with notes on each performer. You can watch a condensed version of the concert here with just one or two songs per artist.

1. Dance music superstar Kiesza opens the event with double platinum “Hideaway” and two more songs:

01 - Kiesza

2. The large crowd cheers for Kiesza. One man held up a sign asking her to marry him:

02 - Parliament Hill Crowd

3. Beautiful fresh, young talents and two of our finest vocalists Francesco Yates and Andee welcome all to the event:

03 - Francesco Yates and Andee

4. JUNO winner Karim Ouellet performs a string of his hits. We were very lucky to acquire him from Senegal:

04 - Karim Ouellet

5. Gord Bamford gets us countrified with hits including #1 radio smash “When Your Lips Are So Close”:

05 - Gord Bamford

6. The sun begins to set in Ottawa:

06 - Sunset

7. Cassidy Mann reps The Peg and charms us with her sweet songs:

07 - Cassidy Mann

8. Jonas and the Massive Attraction rocks out equally well in both official languages:

08 - Jonas and the Massive Attraction

9. Andee showed us just how incredible her vocals are, performing Top 40 hit “Never Gone” and other delights:

09 - Andee

10. Francesco Yates proved he has natural performance talent flowing through his arteries:

10 - Francesco Yates

11. Marc Dupré no doubt had the ladies swooning with his magnetic delivery:

11 - Marc Dupre

12. MAGIC! capped things off with three including new single “Sunday Funday” getting beach balls going in the crowd.

12 - Magic

13. The night wouldn’t have been complete without a stellar fireworks display:

13 - fireworks

The Voice / La Voix Settles on 4 Finalists

la voix 2015

The Canadian edition of international television franchise The Voice, broadcast from Montreal on the TVA network, has settled on four finalists, one per coach. We are providing brief bios on each one and await this year’s winner with great interest. Good luck to these four fine singers.

Mathieu Holubowski (Team Pierre Lapointe)

Mathieu HolubowskiThis 26-year-old from Hudson is the son of a Polish father and Canadian mother. He grew up in a bilingual household. Mathieu took up the guitar at 17, rocking out to Metallica tunes, but in college turned towards folk music. Apparently he released an album last year called Old Man. Mathieu hopes exposure on The Voice will help him launch a career in music and his political science degree will assist him in penning thought provoking lyrics.

Rosa Laricchiuta (Team Éric Lapointe)

Rosa LaricchiutaThis Montreal-born Canadian singer is of Italian descent and is 40 years young. Her vocal talent was discovered in a karaoke bar and led to an Asian tour for a whole decade: Greater China, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Dubai, Bahrain, the UAE, and Indonesia. Returning home, she started work as a security guard and followed her love interest to New Brunswick. Rosa’s dream is to become a rocker like her coach.

Angelike Falbo (Team Isabelle Boulay)

Angelike FalboRecently graduating from high school, Italian Canadian Angelike plans on post-secondary studies in music. Her grandmother was an opera singer, but Miss Falbo is more interested in the musical styles of Whitney Houston, Alicia Keys, and Christina Aguilera. Angelike has already participated in a number of singing competitions reaching the finals in Superfantastico and winning Star Plaza Shawinigan. She recently learned piano.

Kevin Bazinet (Team Marc Dupré)

Kevin BazinetKevin is the younger brother of soul superstar Bobby Bazini. He has been playing guitar since 8 years old. Videos he posted on YouTube gained him a following. He released an album in 2009 which opened some doors in France. EMI was interested in him but of course the record label folded. Kevin took time out to get into meditation, make attempts to tackle anxiety, and he quit smoking. He hopes to get back in the game by participating in The Voice.

Selected New Releases: 20 Jan 2015

New Releases 2015-01-20 copy

With the holidays behind us, music releases are back into full swing, though it appears dings in budgets, perhaps caused by YouTube piracy and streaming services, have made graphic artists and colour photography unaffordable in the creation of eye-pleasing album cover art. At least we can say that there has been no lowering in standards of the actual music judging by these excellent works.

We begin with Chante-moi une histoire, the new album by collaborators Francesca Gagnon and René Dupéré who have been behind some of the music for Cirque du Soleil. The fine work interprets Franco classics in piano and voice playing like songs from a music theatre production. Next up is sweet country album Feel Good Thing from Winnipeg duo Keith and Renee. A History of Reasons is the debut album from Toronto folky alt-rock charmer Cairo, a strong start for the group. Vancouver alternative outfit Siskiyou has released a few albums the latest being the brooding and cool Nervous.

Alan Doyle needs little introduction as front man for Newfoundland multiplatinum group Great Big Sea. The talented singer-songwriter’s latest is rousing folk pop sizzler So Let’s Go. Edmonton’s Alex Calder was drummer in Mac Demarco’s band; Strange Dreams, packed with catchy and quirky reverb drenched artistry, is his solo debut. Along a similar vein but noisier and more industrial is the self-titled debut LP from Calgary’s Viet Cong. Alexandre Désilets has released a deluxe version of his 2014 Felix-nominated album Fancy Ghetto with a couple of new tracks and a remix. Eponymous EP Like Pacific is out from the Toronto punk band.

In the singles department, “Debout” heralds the March release of a new album from platinum JUNO winner Ariane Moffatt. The electro-pop single is currently #1 on the iTunes Canada Franco chart. It may not qualify as CanCon, but Vancouver’s Emmalyn Estrada and G.R.L. have released “Lighthouse” in loving memory of Simone Battle. Set to become one of the finest pop songs of the year, it was co-written by Canada’s JUNO-winning producer Henry “Cirkut” Walter. Finally, we offer on a side note a single launched to promote season 3 of La Voix (The Voice). It is a cover of the classic “Le blues du businessman” (popularized by Claude Dubois) performed by La Voix coaches Isabelle Boulay, Marc Dupre, Eric Lapointe, and Pierre Lapointe.

Marc Dupré Reveals the Genius in His Head

Marc Dupre - La Dans Ma Tete 2Marc Dupré is doing very well which makes us happy. He has landed five songs on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100, scored a gold certified album, won a Song of the Year Félix (“Nous sommes les mêmes”, 2013), and served as a coach on the Canadian version of The Voice. Marc has just released his fourth studio album, Là dans ma tête, perhaps the most anticipated album of December. The style is pop/rock with splashes of both folk and electro. In keeping with the current trends of musique Francophone, the neo-trad musicianship includes spirited singing and a hearty presentation. Marc however is able to reach a little higher and give the music extra dashes of detail and quality which keep the listener engaged: atmospheric soundscapes, sudden thumps of percussion, and spicy synth pulses. This is a beautiful album.  iTunes

The Voice Honours Offenbach’s “La voix que j’ai”

Various Artists - La voix que j'aiNew on the Canadian Hot 100 this week is a cover of classic Canadian rock band Offenbach’s “La voix que j’ai”. The song was performed by the four coaches of the Canadian version of international television franchise, The Voice. They are four of Canada’s top stars of today:  Isabelle Boulay, Louis-Jean Cormier, Marc Dupré, and Éric Lapointe. It is always a treat to see modern superstars perform a classic hit of yesteryear together, and, as to be expected, they have done a fabulous job. You can purchase the single on iTunes where it has topped the Franco chart. MV below.

Toque Dynamos of 2013

Henry Lau

Henry LauBorn and raised in Toronto, Henry Lau learned piano to level 10 and won the gold medal for level 10 violin from the Canadian Royal Conservatory of Music. He also studied various forms of dance. Lau was one of only two people of 3,000 chosen in South Korea’s SM Entertainment global auditions held in Toronto in 2006. Relocating to Korea, he became a member of popular singing group Super Junior-M. In addition to Mandarin Chinese and his native English, he became fluent in Korean. In 2013, he released solo album Trap in two versions: a Korean version and a Chinese version. Both albums contained a few English songs. The album peaked at #2 on the South Korean weekly albums chart and its title-track became a Top 20 single on the US Billobard K-Pop charts. EP Fantastic followed in 2014.

Marc Dupré

Marc DupreAside from being a recording artist in his own right, Marc composes songs for other artists. He started out collaborating with Céline Dion. In 2013, he became one of the four coaches on the Canadian version of The Voice (La Voix). Prior to 2013, three of Marc’s songs had charted on The Billboard Canadian Hot 100. This year, he launched album Nous sommes les mêmes which, by year end, had been certified gold by Music Canada. Its title track vaulted itself all the way up to #47 on the Canadian Hot 100, a remarkable achievement for a Francophone work. It was named Song of the Year at the ADISQ Félix Awards gala at the end of October. Marc released album La dans ma tete in 2014.

Metric

MetricAt its core, this Toronto-formed electronic rock band consists of Emily Haines and James Shaw. In order to augment its concerts, the group picked up Americans Joshua Winstead (bass) and Joules Scott-Key (drums). Metric’s popularity and success steadily grew since its debut release in 2003. Gold record certifications followed in 2006 and platinum awards in 2009. Album Fantasies gave Metric its first JUNO awards and spawned first major hit “Help, I’m Alive” (#21, Canadian Hot 100). The band released JUNO-winning album Synthetica in 2012, its first album to reach significant chart positions internationally (#12 US Billboard, #21 Australia’s ARIA). In 2013, “Breathing Underwater” from the album peaked at #22 on the Canadian Hot 100 and made the year-end Top 100 at #77. Album Pagans in Vegas came out in 2015.

Serena Ryder

Serena Ryder1Born in Peterborough and raised in Millbrook, this Ontario artist launched her recording debut in 1999 and picked up her first JUNO award in 2008. Her massive breakthrough came this year after releasing album Harmony in 2012. “Stompa” was the 14th biggest song of 2013 (highest position for a CanCon single) and within the year was certified triple platinum. Platinum-certified “What I Wouldn’t Do” also made the year-end chart, and Serena Ryder was the top Canuck on Billboard Canada’s Top Hot 100 Artists of 2013. Her album Harmony attained platinum sales through the year.

Walk Off the Earth

Walk Off the EarthForming in Burlington in 2006, WOTE currently consists of five members: Gianni Luminati, Sarah Blackwood (not to be confused with the British vocalist of Dubstar), Ryan Marshall, Mike Taylor, and Joel Cassady. The band is known for its clever and creative music videos and came to prominence upon covering Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” by all five members playing it on one guitar. The Walk Off the Earth version attained platinum sales. The group released its own song “Red Hands” off album REVO which earned multiplatinum status in 2013. Billboard named Walk Off the Earth the Top Emerging Canadian Artist of the Year. Album Sing It All the Way appeared in 2015 spawning the hit “Rule the World”.

Ice Conduit to the 2013 ADISQ Gala: Pop Album of the Year Nominees

Mixmania3 by Various Artists

Mixmania 3Mixmania is a televised performance-based show where two teams of Canadian youth compete for the most talented. The girls and boys teams consist of four members each. The show has become very popular in Québec. After each season, an album featuring the young singers is released, containing mostly original compositions. This is the third various artists compilation. The songs are mainly done in dance pop style. Rather than having each track sung by a different finalist, each contains a different mix of singers, both male and female (two or more).

Nous sommes les mêmes by Marc Dupré

Marc Dupre - Nous sommes les memesMarc’s last album, 2010′s Entre deux mondes, nabbed the coveted Félix award for Pop/Rock Album of the Year. Song “Si on changeait” won a SOCAN award. The title track of this, his 4th studio album is the most successful Franco song so far in 2013, reaching #47 on the Canadian Hot 100. “Un coup sur mon coeur” has also appeared on the chart. The music here is passionate, vibrant, and fresh. Whether you are riding a bicycle in the sunset or racing down the highway in a convertible, the album contains the perfect tracks to accompany the drive.

Punkt by Pierre Lapointe

Pierre Lapointe - PunktAlma, QC’s multiple Félix winning Pierre Lapointe has scored a pair of platinum albums. This cinematic-flavoured work debuted at #1 on the Billboard Canadian Albums Chart. Short video arcade themed sequences are interspersed like commercial breaks during a television show. For us, this album conjured images of muppets on laughing gas dancing around a letter of the alphabet, time-lapsed photography of love locks being placed on a chain-link fence near Pont des Arts in Paris, and Miss Havisham waltzing around her dilapidated mansion in her dusty wedding gown.

Miroir by Marie-Mai

Marie-Mai - MiroirUpon release, Marie-Mai’s 4th studio album topped the iTunes albums chart. Recently, it has been certified platinum. It contains her smash hits “Sans cri ni haine”, a Franco cover of Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend” and “C.O.B.R.A.” both of which made the Billboard Canadian Hot 100. The album presents a thoughtful blend of Marie-Mai’s signature high-energy tunes like “Toujours là”, delicate ballads like “Différents”, heartland guitar tracks like “Je rêve de nous”, and piano-driven melodies like “Si les mots”. The English tracks were taken from 2010 recordings of an unreleased Anglo EP.

Fox by Karim Ouellet

Karim Ouellet - FoxBorn in Dakar, Senegal, Karim is currently one of the hottest new Francophone artists in the country. Off this musically and culturally rich album, “L’amour” was a charting single, scaling up to #64 on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100. The title track was also a big radio hit in Québec. Karim has been praised for both his guitar skills and soft, handsome voice. His music embodies a potpourri of styles—folk, soul, African pop, reggae, with even some electro beats thrown in—all bound together by his direct and chipper spirit. This music will put a smile on your face.

Felix Winner Marc Dupre’s 4th Album Nous sommes les memes

Marc Dupre - Nous sommes les memesOur handsome man Marc Dupré has released his 4th studio album, Nous sommes les mêmes, the title track of which is his fourth single to make the Canadian Hot 100. Marc has collaborated with a number of artists since his debut in 2005 including Céline Dion. His last album, 2010’s Entre deux mondes, nabbed the coveted Félix award for Pop/Rock Album of the Year. Song “Si on changeait” won a SOCAN award. A solid singer, he is becoming highly reputable as a composer, known as a hitmaker, writing with and producing for other artists. He launched the new album to a packed house at the Olympia in Montréal.

The music on Nous sommes les mêmes is passionate, vibrant, and fresh—pop/rock fare with some heartland folk thrown into the mix. Two tracks feature writing from Fred St-Gelais and Marie-Mai. The album opens with the upbeat “Un coup sur mon coeur” and closes with pretty guitar ballad “Je vous aime”. Catchy “Nous sommes les mêmes” spent 5 weeks on the Canadian Hot 100 and as such is one of the most successful Franco songs so far this year. Powerful love song “Pour que tu reviennes” has Marc letting loose on the sky-scraping chorus. “Être à toi” with its solid beat will get your foot tapping while “Aimons-nous (sans attendre)” may elicit hand claps and “ho-heys”. Some robust guitar riffs animate the next two tracks. “Quelques mots” is one of our favourites, very nicely done, and “Un peu plus près des dieux” (there’s a French tongue-twister, for ya) makes effective use of Dupré’s soaring voice. “Tout ce que je peux” softens the air like riding a bicycle in the sunset before “Rien ne finit jamais” has us racing down the highway in a convertible. Nous sommes les mêmes is a great album.

Nous sommes les mêmes on iTunes     Marc Dupré’s Official Website

Polarizing Genres (2003-2006)

As mainstream pop and rock was being taken over by contestants of Canadian Idol and Star Academie, artists who signed with record labels directly began to produce music that was on the fringes—either ultra-soft or ultra-hard. This resulted in a polarization of music. On the soft side was David Foster-produced jazz-singing virtuoso Michael Bublé, the biggest new star to arise in the middle of the decade. Folky Ariane Moffatt, Mes Aïeux, and Gregory Charles were other stars on the mellow side of the spectrum. On the hard side were grungy Nickelback copycat bands like Simple Plan, Billy Talent, and Three Days Grace. Heavily-tattooed Canadian Idol contestant, Jacob Hoggard, who finished 3rd in the second season, became the lead singer of grunge outfit Hedley. The only prominent artist, outside of the talent shows, to stand in the comfortable middle was Ontario’s Fefe Dobson.

2003

Across the river from Quebec City, pianist-guitarist, singer-songwriter, Juno and Felix award winner Ariane Moffatt hit the airwaves. Her 2002 debut release, Aquanaute, was certified platinum due in large part to the hits “Pointe de Mire” and “Poussière d’ange”. Five of her singles were to be nominated for the Felix Song of the Year award, “Je veux tout” winning such a prize at the 2008 gala. The album on which the song appeared, Tous les Sans won the Juno for Francophone Album of the Year. Another female voice emerged this year, coming from Toronto’s former suburb of Scarborough. She was a beautiful model of mixed English, French, Aboriginal, and Jamaican ancestry. The singer-songwriter scored her first of three Top 10 hits, “Bye Bye Boyfriend”, her debut , self-titled, album attaining platinum sales. Her name was Fefe Dobson. Andrée Watters, from the northeastern Quebec City borough of Charlesbourg, released her first of three Felix song of the year nominees, “Si exceptionnel”. She won the Felix for best rock album of the year. Sadly, her brother Patrick was killed in a 2007 helicopter crash near Fort McMurray, AB, while combatting a forest fire.

The most significant male artist to debut this year was a multi-talented Vaughan, ON native with Portuguese roots named Shawn Desman. His “Shook” made it to #3 on the charts. His 2005 album Back for More won the Juno for best R&B release. Besides singing, he plays the piano, produces, dances, and does choreography.

From Mississauga, ON, high school band Pezz transformed itself into Billy Talent, signing with Warner Music. Sales of their first (self-titled) heavy metal release under the major label, reached triple platinum status and won the Juno for album of the year. Their song “Try Honesty” was nominated for a song of the year Juno.

Outside the country, the biggest Canadian hits this year were Avril Lavigne’s gorgeous power ballad “I’m with You”, Shania Twain’s soothing “Forever and For Always”, and Nickelback’s grungy “Someday”. Within the country, Celine Dion revamped Cyndi Lauper’s “I Drove All Night” (originally written for Roy Orbison) and topped the charts. Canadian Idol winner Ryan Malcolm’s “Something More” was also a #1 hit. Despite being a French song, “Meme Les Anges” made it to #2 on the charts due to Audrey De Montigny’s high-profile exposure on Canadian Idol. Celine Dion’s “Tout l’or des hommes” was as successful. Nicola Ciccone’s beautiful “J’t’aime tout court” was song of the year in French Canada and Nelly Furtado’s fusion piece “Powerless” in English Canada.

There were three albums released this year that sold half a million copies: Sarah McLachlan’s Afterglow, Nickelback’s The Long Road, and the compilation Star Academie (featuring songs sung by the various contestants of the show).

2004

First and foremost this year was Vancouver’s Michael Bublé. He debuted last year with his self-titled album, and, thanks to the blockbuster film Spider-Man, he scored his first big hit in 2004. Buble was discovered by David Foster while singing at the wedding of Caroline Mulroney, daughter of the former Prime Minister. Initially Foster was reluctant to sign him because he was unsure how the market would react to Michael’s brand of music—traditional pop and big band jazz. With the support of Paul Anka, David eventually agreed. It turned out to be a wise decision because Buble’s albums have sold 35 million copies worldwide.

In Britain, a Canadian artist scored three Top 10 hits. But in his own country, he was not as noticed. The Canadian music industry, in the interests of commercialism, has tagged along with its southern neighbours and become a blacks-and-whites only club, largely closing its doors to recording artists of Asian descent, who represent a much greater population in the country than those with African roots. Because of this racialism, artists of any and every visible minority, in order to flourish, have, rather than creating a style of rock music they can call their own, reverted to adopting African American styles of R&B and rap. This was true of Indian-Albertan Raghav. (He did sneak in some Indian-style rhythms).

Rap-R&B singer Jérôme Philippe scored a Felix-nominated song, “Pour le ghetto”. Kevin Brereton, known as k-os, grew up in Toronto and delivered the beautifully-arranged Juno song of the year, “Crabbuckit”, somewhat of an alternative reggae piece. He has managed two platinum albums and a couple of Top 20 hits.

Several new bands hit the airwaves this year, most of them dabbling in various combinations of grunge, punk, and metal. The most successful of all of them was 8-time Juno nominee, Montreal quintet Simple Plan. Recording since 2002, they enjoyed their first big hit this year, “Perfect” (not to be confused with Hedley’s song of the same name). Oddly, the lead singer Pierre Bouvier has chosen to sing with an American rather than Canadian accent. The band’s second album, Still Not Getting Any, went 4x Platinum, making it the third most successful Canadian album released this year (after Shania Twain’s Greatest Hits and Avriil Lavigne’s Under My Skin).

Drummondville, Quebec’s Les Trois Accords paid homage to Saskatchewan in their Felix-nominated song. After releasing a platinum album, they scored a couple more hits through the decade. Finger Eleven, from Burlington, ON, gave the world the international acoustic guitar hit “One Thing”. Besides Avril Lavigne, the band was the only Canadian act to appear on the U.S. Billboard year-end chart. The Scott Anderson-led group scored an even bigger hit in 2007—the grungy “Paralyzer”.

Toronto’s independent punk label Underground Operations signed Closet Monster and Hostage Life who churned out the hits “We Re-Built This City” and “Sing for the Enemy” respectively. The Trews, originally from Antigonish, NS, enjoyed a Juno-nominated song, “Not Ready to Go”. Winnipeg’s The Waking Eyes had the Top 10 hit, “Watch Your Money”.

Uruguayan-Swiss Quebecer, Carole Facal, after dabbling with snowboarding in B.C., teamed up with Dorianne Fabreg to form the duo DobaCaracol, complete with dreadlocks. Later, as a soloist, Facal, under the stage name, Caracol, scored the hit “Le Mépris”. Montréal’s Marie-Chantal Toupin came out with the power-ballad “Naître” and enjoyed two platinum albums in the decade.

Three bands broke up in the new millennium and members formed a new outfit in St. Catharines called Alexisonfire. A platinum album released this year helped them garner the Juno for New Group of the Year in 2005. At the end of the decade, member Dallas Green announced his departure. He went solo under the name City and Colour. 

Big hits this year from previously profiled artists included two top fives from Avril Lavigne: the rock masterpiece “My Happy Ending” and her first Top 5 hit at home: “Don’t Tell Me”. “A prophet knows no honour in her own country?” Although her singles did better elsewhere, her albums sold better at home than abroad. Canadian Idol winner Kalan Porter had the #1 “Awake in a Dream” which became the best-selling single of all time in Canada (8x Platinum). Star Academie’s Marie Elanie Thibert had the second best-selling single of all-time, “Toi L’inoubliable”. Shania Twain’s “Party for Two” fittingly made it to #2. The Felix song of the year was “Les Étoiles filantes” by Les Cowboys Fringants.

2005

One of the biggest international hits of the decade came out this year from a Vernon, BC lad named Daniel Powter. He was bullied as a child for studying the violin (since when is there something wrong with the violin?). He switched to piano but struggled with dyslexia. “Bad Day” was released first in the U.K. where it made it to #2. At home, it was a Top 10 hit. But in 2006 the song not only made it to #1, it was the biggest song of the year in the United States. “Voyager vers toi” was a hit in Quebec for Marc Dupré. Hamilton’s Tomi Swick scored a radio hit called “A Night Like This” which helped him win the Juno for New Artist of the Year in 2006.

Third-place finalist of Canadian Idol, Jacob Hoggard, formed the successful Abbotsford, BC rock band Hedley who enjoyed six Top 10 hits through the decade, two double-platinum albums, and, until now, 15 Juno nominations. From the same city as Les Trois Accords, folk band Kaïn scored subsequent hits “Embarque ma belle” and “Mexico”. Ska band Bedouin Soundclash won the Juno for best new group and “When the Night Feels My Song” was nominated for best song. In 2007, they scored the Top 10 hit “Walls Fall Down”.

Brandon, Manitoba’s country singer Amanda Stott crossed over onto the pop charts with the #1 hit song, “Paper Rain”.

There were not too many hit songs this year from Canadian artists. The only other big hit, besides those mentioned above, was chart-topping “Alive” from Canadian Idol winner Melissa O’Neil who incidentally (and refreshingly) is half Chinese. Star Academie contestant Annie Blanchard won the Felix song of the year award with “Évangéline” and Michael Buble’s “Home” won the equivalent Juno award.

Hit albums this year were Nickelback’s All the Right Reasons (7x Platinum), Michael Bublé’s album of the year Juno winner It’s Time, and Céline Dion’s On ne change pas.

2006

Nickelback’s lead singer Chad Kroeger started his own record label called 604 Records. It signed the Vancouver band Marianas Trench whose song “Say Anything” was a #3 hit. The Adam Gontier-fronted outfit Three Days Grace from Norwood, ON recorded the double-platinum Juno-nominated album One-X but did not manage any big hit singles. Speaking of double-platinum albums, Mes Aïeux achieved one and also won the Felix song of the year for folk hit “Dégénérations”. They have been named Group of the Year three times at the Felix galas. Combining male-female lead vocals, pop group Alfa Rococo enjoyed a few big hits in Québec, including “Les Jours de pluie” this year. Stabilo, a rock band from Maple Ridge, BC, scored the raio hit “Flawed Design”. Montreal’s alternative rock band Mobile won a Juno for New Group of the Year in 2007 thanks to their debut album released this year, Tomorrow Starts Today.

Sherbrooke, Quebec’s Vincent Vallières had been around since 1999 but began scoring some hits, like “Je pars à pied”. Retired hockey player Étienne Drapeau turned to singing and enjoyed the hit “Je l’ai jamais dit à personne”. Montreal’s Gregory Charles, of Trinidadian origin, had a very popular debut album, the triple-platinum I Think of You. Dumas’ “Au gré des saisons” was popular this year.

Exotic Indian-Irish-Italian beauty Cindy Daniel had a very big hit, “Sous une pluie d’étoiles” and Egypt-born Chantal Chamandy had the platinum-selling hit single “Feels Like Love”.

Nelly Furtado scored three Top 10 international hits this year and two more next year with her 5x Platinum album Loose which won the album of the year Juno. Her song “Promiscuous” was named song of the year. Canadian Idol winner Eva Avila topped the charts performing in American R&B style for her song “Meant to Fly”. Nickelback scored three big hits this year.

Coming up are mini-profiles on semi-major artists Billy Talent, Gregory Charles, Fefe Dobson, Marie-Élaine Thibert, Finger Eleven, Shawn Desman, Mes Aïeux, and Marianas Trench. Following that will be features on major artists Michael Bublé, Hedley, Simple Plan, Raghav, and Ariane Moffatt.

     Copyright 2011 by the Canadian Music Blog