3 Canadians Break into iTunes Top 10 with New Songs

If a member of generation x out of touch with current music took a look at the iTunes Top 10 right now, he might get excited declaring that there is a brand new song by The Cure called “Lady Gaga”. The big news last week was the battle of Britain in which Harry Styles’ “Sign of the Times” attempted to unseat fellow Englishman Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You”. Now we have fellow Canucks placing new songs in the elite deck. Shawn Mendes has released a deluxe version of his 2016 album Illuminate. New track “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” is selling like hotcakes. Justin Bieber is still hot since album Purpose and his collaborations with the crafters of EDM. His latest venture is as a featured vocalist in “Despacito”. It is a remix of a song from Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee. And, no Despacito was not recorded in Canada’s other official language. It’s a Spanish language song. Fonsi and Yankee are from Puerto Rico. So, how are the new tracks doing? Well Shawn Mendes is as of this writing at #8 and the Biebs is #1. But if your eyes don’t deceive you, there’s something else going on around here. The Weeknd? Yes. He is featured in a brand new song by Lana Del Rey called “Lust For Life” and it’s at #6. “Stay” by Alessia Cara and Zedd is holding at #10.


Selected New Releases 23 September 2016


Dieppe, NB’s Caroline Savoie kicks of this week’s batch of new releases with her beautiful singer-songwriter self-titled album. From her over to the province of Quebec, eclectic, though leaning towards progressive rock, is MauvesCoco as well as adult contemporary release Décibels et des silences from internationally famous Lynda Lemay.

We get some more singer-songwriter / folk from Toronto’s Justin Rutledge on East and more adult contemporary from Châteauguay’s Ima on Femme. For those who like bossa nova, Jean-François Léger does a fine job covering some of the big hits of the genre over the past 50 years on 50 ans de Bossa Nova.

Topping iTunes in 65 countries, Pickering, ON’s teen sensation Shawn Mendes releases his sophomore album Illuminate drawing comparisons to John Mayer and Ed Sheeran. Orillia, ON’s Kirty delivers an excellent, melancholy, alternative self-titled LP. Find rock with melody on the eponymous album from St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC’s O Linea.

The legend who is Plume Latraverse gifts us with his latest, Rechut, focussing on roots music and unsurprisingly tops iTunes musique francophone. Always providing the fun, couple Marie-Eve Janvier and Jean-François Breau are back at it with adult contemporary work La route infinie. Two great alternative works from Montreal are Scavenger by KROY and Solitudes by Matt Holubowski.

A pair of EPs this week are Alright, Alright, Okay by Edmonton’s Havelin and They Are Going Away by Sarnia’s Donovan Woods. Both would fall into the singer-songwriter / folk realm, though the first is more perky and the latter more reflective. Both are superb.

Headlines and Footdots for 28 May 2016

Céline Dion Releases New Original Song


Following her stellar performance and Icon trophy presentation at the Billboard Music Awards, Canadian singer Céline Dion has launched a new single, an original composition by France’s Jean-Jacques Goldman. For those unfamiliar with him, he can be thought of as perhaps the Corey Hart of France, i.e. a very big name. The new song is called “Encore Un Soir” and debuted in the iTunes Top 10. A Franco album from Céline is anticipated a little later.  iTunes

Dragonette Has a Lonely Heart


Multiplatinum JUNO-winning electropop group Dragonette is back with new music, a single entitled “Lonely Heart” which you can check out over at iTunes.

Drake’s Number One One Dance at Seven


Say what? Drake’s “One Dance” has spent seven consecutive weeks at #1 on the British Singles Chart, the longest reign for a track in nearly 9 years! The last song to accomplish this was Leona Lewis’ “Bleeding Love” back in November – December 2007. The fact that “One Dance” is a variation of “Do You Mind” by Crazy Cousinz featuring British singer Kyla may have helped it work its way into the Big Ben psyche.

PNE Boasts Impressive Lineup


The Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver boasts a stellar lineup of acts booked for the 2016 season. Flume on August 7 is already sold out. From August 20 – September 5, one can see Hedley, Alan Doyle & The Beautiful Gypsies, The Sheepdogs, Steve Miller Band, Simple Plan, Olivia Newton-John, Foreigner, Culture Club, Monster Truck, A Tribe Called Red, Dru Hill w/ Sisqo, Nokio Jazz & Tao, Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo, Tim Hicks, The Monkeys, and Chris Isaak. For details visit the PNE website here.

Saddling Up for the Calgary Stampede

Calgary Stampede

The 2016 Calgary Stampede has announced an impressive lineup of performers. At the Saddledome one can see the Zac Brown Band July 14 and Lady Antebellum July 15. From July 7 to 16 at Nashville North are Tim Hicks, The Dungarees, High Valley, Wes Mac, Aaron Pritchett, Tebey, John Conlee, Deric Ruttan, Cold Creek Country, Kentucky Headhunters, Washboard Union, Jojo Mason, and Madeline Merlo. Handling the Coca-Cola Stage from July 7-17 are Christian Hudson, JJ Shiplett, The Dudes, Walk Off the Earth, Coleman Hell, Classified, X Ambassadors, The Sheepdogs, Jocelyn Alice, Shawn Hook, Mother Mother, Dear Rouge, The Glorious Sons, Gord Bamford, and Simple Plan! For more info, visit the official Stampede website here.

Shawn Mendes Wants to Treat You Better

Shawn Mendes mall of america 2

Insatiability is the calling card of the fan. In an instant download slash streaming culture, the day after the release of an album comes an influx of queries about when the next will come out. This may certainly be the case for Shawn Mendes. No worries though because Shawn will be releasing a new single in under a week, June 3, “Treat You Better”. Shawn promises an upcoming second album.

Kira Isabella’s I’m So Over MV

We leave you with the new music video for Kira Isabella’s “I’m So Over Getting Over You” which is rolling its way up the country charts. Let’s see if it can remove Thomas Rhett’s number one T-shirt.

Headlines and Footdots: 16 January 2016

New Certifications For Shawn Mendes

Shawn Mendes mall of america 2

Shawn Mendes has chalked up his second multiplatinum single. Previously “Life of the Party” had made the double platinum mark and now “Stitches” has done the same. In addition, his album Handwritten has been declared gold by Music Canada. “Stitches” is up to #2 on the UK singles chart threatening to bump Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself” which has nested itself at #1 for six straight weeks.

Shawn Hook Gunning For States-Side success

shawn hook sound heart mv

Another Shawn is looking to see some chart activity in the United States in the midst of the Canadian invasion. A recent signing with Hollywood Records has given the platinum recording artist a shot at becoming the latest Canuck to shimmy up the charts in the United States. “Sound of Your Heart” was the #1 most added song to U.S. CHR radio among new artists last week. Team Hook knows it will take a lot of work to surmount the new artist threshold in the world’s biggest music market but are going to give it their all. At home, Shawn has released new single “Relapse” off his excellent album Analog Love.

Céline Dion Loses Another Loved One

celine daniel dion

Just two days after her husband and manager René Angélil passed away from cancer, Céline Dion’s brother Daniel Dion, one of her 13 siblings, has died from brain, throat, and tongue cancer at the age of 59. Céline who grew up in a very closely knit Canadian family was busy preparing for her husband’s funeral when her brother passed. Daniel’s funeral will take place in his hometown of Charlemagne, Québec.

MS Relapse For Billy Talent Drummer

Aaron Solowoniuk billy talent

A few Canadian artists have been slapped with cruel health challenges recently. Last week Kim Mitchell suffered a heart attack and is now recuperating. Billy Talent’s drummer Aaron Solowoniuk has announced that he is stepping away from the multiplatinum punk band from Mississauga. Aaron has had multiple sclerosis for a number of years. The disease went into remission, but he is now experiencing a relapse. Wishing Aaron success battling this unkind illness.

Avril Lavigne’s Complicated MV Hits 100 Million Views

Avril Lavigne

To attract 100 million views for a music video is so complicated that Vevo awards certification to any MV that makes that milestone. Avril Lavigne’s latest MV to do so is that of her breakout hit “Complicated”. It is her eighth music video to reach the number the others being “Here’s to Never Growing Up”, “Hello Kitty”, “Smile”, “Girlfriend”, “Wish You Were Here”, “What the Hell”, and “When You’re Gone”. Both “Let Me Go” (99 million) and “Hot” (97 million) are at the cusp of hitting the certification level. The Canadian artist to hold the highest number of Vevo certifications for MVs is Justin Bieber with 24.

The Weeknd Nominated For an Oscar

earned it shot the weeknd

Whether or not The Weeknd can act, he is nominated for an Academy Award. His song “Earned It” from the 50 Shades of Grey soundtrack has received an Oscar nomination for Original Song. The Weeknd co-wrote the song with Canadian songwriter Stephan Moccio. The Weeknd’s latest single “In the Night” has just been declared gold by Music Canada.

Meaghan Smith to Play with Edmonton Symphony

meaghan smith

Neo-trad pop recording artist Meaghan Smith will be performing with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra on January 22. The concert will be part of a series sponsored by Air Canada with an ESO seat sale of $24. The native of London, ON is a Billboard Hot 100 charting recording artist thanks to the title track off latest album Have a Heart.

Old Man Canyon Is Back to the Start

Vancouver’s Old Man Canyon dabbles with delicious classic analogue synthesizer sounds on newly released soulful, melancholy album Delirium. Track “Back To the Start” will give you a taste. See the picture still MV below.  iTunes

2 and 2 in Britain; 4 and 4 in the States

Adams and Bieber 2 and 2 in Britain

On this week’s official UK charts, Canadians Bryan Adams and Justin Bieber both debut at #2. Last month, they played together in Germany (see it here). Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” debuts at #2 on the British Singles Chart behind “Hello” by England’s Adele. Bryan Adams, on the other hand, debuts at #2 on the British Albums Chart with Get Up behind Sounds Good Feels Good by Australia’s 5 Seconds of Summer.

adams bieber1

Bieber Performs on the Graham Norton Show

Justin Bieber performed “What Do You Mean” tonight on BBC’s The Graham Norton Show. In the cute interview that followed, the host commented, “That song, ‘What Do You Mean’, I like it. It’s your little cry from the heart to the women of the world, ’cause you don’t know what they mean. Is that the thing?” Justin replied, “I never know what they mean.” Norton returned, “But all boys don’t know what girls mean.” And Justin said, “Yeah, that’s why we needed an anthem.”

Norton Bieber

Four Canadians in Top 4 U.S. Billboard Spots

For the first time in U.S. Billboard Hot 100 history, four Canadian artists own the top four spots on the chart. The Weeknd is at #1 with “The Hills”, Drake is #2 with “Hotline Bling”, Justin Bieber is at #3 with “What Do You Mean”, and Shawn Mendes is at #4 with “Stitches”.

US Billboard Hot 100 - 7 Nov 2015

Mendes and Cara MAKE Billboard’s Hot PRE-21

Billboard magazine recently listed its picks for the 21 hottest stars under the age of 21. The list includes two Canadians: Shawn Mendes (ranked 4th) and Alessia Cara (ranked 11th). The latter’s hit “Here” entered the U.S. Hot 100’s Top 20 this week. She will be releasing her debut album Know It All November 13. You can view the article here.

mendes cara

Headlines Late July 2015

The Weeknd Dethrones OMI’s Cheerleader

the weeknd

It’s not too often we see a homegrown artist hit #1 in iTunes Canada’s Top Songs, but dethroning OMI’s “Cheerleader” today is none other than The Weeknd. We sincerely hope that he can feel his face now. Hollywood actor Tom Cruise recently performed an impressive lip sync to “Can’t Feel My Face,” and he called it “the song of the summer”.

Halifax’s Ria Mae Is One to Watch

ria mae

Shooting up the radio charts is song “Clothes Off” by Halifax’s Ria Mae, and the artist received a feature in this week’s Nielsen newsletter. She has already won at the East Coast Music Awards. Though released last year, the single charmed the folks over at Sony Music Canada and has been re-released through them with mightier force.

Justin Bieber Launching New Single

justin bieber - what do you mean

Justin Bieber, as revealed during a recent interview with American radio host Ryan Seacrest, will be releasing a new single August 28 called “What Do You Mean?” He explains that the title is a reference to his frequently encountering people who say one thing but mean something else. He often has to clarify by asking, “What do you mean?” Bieber has landed more songs on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 than any other homegrown artist — 47 including his 2015 platinum collaboration with Skrillex and Diplo, “Where Are U Now”.

Rule the Gold Bungalow

goldmember copy

Music Canada has confirmed gold certification for Scott Helman’s “Bungalow” as well as Walk Off the Earth’s “Rule the Word”. They are the 6th and 7th 2015 singles involving Canadian artists to receive gold/platinum certification. For Canada, a single (i.e. digital download) must achieve 40,000 purchases to go gold.

Shawn Mendes Dabbling in TV Acting

shawn mendes the 100

While Shawn Hook’s songs are being featured in TV series Rookie Blue, Shawn Mendes will be testing out his acting skills by appearing in the Season 3 premiere of series The 100. All we know at this point is that he will be playing a scrappy young Ark survivor who gets into a tricky situation and has to use his talents to get out of it. Mendes recently performed a duet with actress Hailee Steinfeld for his current hit single “Stitches”. We hope she gave him some acting tips.

Hit and Run at YYZ


From the city that supposedly rhymes with piranha, dance duo YYZ has garnished excellent third single “Hit & Run” with an MV. Check it out below and if you like what you hear you can grab a copy of the track on iTunes.

Headlines for Mid May 2015

Chavril Does Vacay, Eh

Getting over her battle with Lyme disease and launching her super song “Fly” in support of the Special Olympics, Avril Lavigne and hubby Chad Kroeger took a much needed break to the warm, sunny climes of Florida. She shared the fun loving photo of the power couple below.

Chavril Miami

Kiesza’s Getting Stronger

Some of you may remember the 2004 motion picture Finding Neverland starring Kate Winslet and Johnny Depp. Beginning today, Finding Neverland the Broadway musical will be launching its run, and an official soundtrack is coming out on June 9. Contributing a song to that is our own Kiesza. Track “Stronger” is already available for download.

Shawn Hook No Longer a Rookie

It took a few songs but Shawn Hook is finally now an official Top 40 artist thanks to “Sound of Your Heart” reaching #33 on Billboard this week. The song is being featured in television series Rookie Blue, and Shawn will be releasing his sophomore album Analog Love on June 9. The album will include his previous hit “Million Ways”.

Walk Off the Steve

Walk Off the Earth’s “Home We Go” has received treatment from American electro house producer Steve Aoki. The collaborative version of the track included on the latter’s Neon Future II album is now a Top 10 single on iTunes!

Steven Tyler Idolizes Suzie McNeil

American Idol may not be Canadian, but a number of Canucks have been involved especially in terms of writing and contributing songs to the winners. Those who tuned in to the finale of the 14th season may have seen a familiar face, as Mississaugan super girl Suzie McNeil performed with Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler on the show.

Eva Avila Going from Dim Sum to Torch Bearing

Canadian Idol winner Eva Avila has been busy as of late performing at 6-star hotel lobbies in beautiful Hong Kong. She recently announced that she will be a torch bearer for the Pan Am Games. We’re hoping they don’t make her carry it all the way from Hong Kong back to the Americas!


Anjulie has written theme song for Universal Pictures’ remake of Jem called “Young Blood”. The JUNO Award winning singer-songwriter says that Jem was a big influence behind the look of her “Brand New Chick” MV and is happy to be a part of the remake.


Following up her new MV release for “Same Sea”, LIGHTS has announced a collaboration with EDM wizard Borgeous. Their track “Zero Gravity” is due out June 22.

MMVA Performers

MuchMusic has announced the first batch of performers at the 2015 MMVAs. It’s 100% ManCon with Shawn Mendes, The Weeknd, and international artists Nick Jonas, Jason Derulo, and Ed Sheeran. The latter will be co-hosting as previously announced. More performers as well as presenters will be confirmed in the coming weeks leading up to the June 21 show.

Put Aside the Typing for Shawn Mendes’ Handwritten

Shawn Mendes - HandwrittenWhile most of us were asleep on the night of June 25-26, 2014, the debut single by a teenager from Pickering, Ontario hit #1 on iTunes. That song, now standing at double platinum certification, was “Life of the Party” by Island Records’ signee Shawn Mendes. Many of the younger, app-savvy crowd discovered him through platform Vine whose owners were no doubt thrilled that Shawn brought that six-second video machine some attention. But Shawn had also won a cover song contest put on by American radio guru Ryan Seacrest with his rendition of A Great Big World’s “Say Something”.

Shawn MendesIn a climate bubbling over with a host of aspiring new stars, a slew of defamatory media entities, and a towering threshold for novices to surmount, Shawn deserves much credit for not simply riding the waves of his early successes. He plunged himself into heavy labour, constantly touring, creating clever promotional strategies, and interacting with fans on his social networking sites at every second available. An EP followed and he scored his second hit “Something Big”, a platinum seller to date. He also snatched the coveted opening spot on Taylor Swift’s 1989 tour. And now his debut LP, Handwritten, has arrived, debuting at #1 on iTunes and likely topping the Billboard chart next week as well.

Shawn Mendes ParisShawn co-wrote many of the tracks and got a co-production credit on one of them. His style has been compared to Ed Sheeran’s preference for simple, acoustic guitar and voice only ditties. Many of Handwritten’s tracks contain buffer instrumentation, though in general it has that stripped down feel. “Never Be Alone” and “Kid In Love” have great melodies, the former effectively using whistling and the latter having a soul-leaning quality which leads nicely into the full-on soul power of “I Don’t Even Know Your Name”. The skeletonized numbers are reserved for the second half of the album making for good sing alongs. On the eve of the album release, Shawn Mendes performed a live acoustic set (via YouTube) at the Canadian-owned Mall of America in Minnesota, USA to a large crowd.  iTunes

Shawn Mendes mall of America 1

Selected New Releases 14 April 2015

new releases 14 apr 2015 copy

Zerbin is a 3-piece indie-pop band, the members coming from Victoria, Edmonton, and Vancouver. New album Darling was recorded on Vancouver Island. Hamilton’s Terra Lightfoot, member of the Dinner Belles, mixes some singer-songwriter vibes with rock on her second album Every Time My Mind Runs Wild. Toronto’s C and C Surf Factory is the latest project of Colin Cripps; album Garage City contains instrumental surf music. Multiplatinum teen superstar Shawn Mendes releases his debut album Handwritten. Winnipeg legend Randy Bachman teams up with Neil Young, Peter Frampton and other fine guitarists on new album Heavy Blues.

Juno nominee Laila Biali cooks up beautiful adult contemporary album House of Many Rooms with The Radiance Project. Fabulous singer-songwriter Mike Edel of Linden, Alberta provides some stellar tunes on India, Seattle. New Pornographers’ member Kathryn Calder launches her third solo album, and it sizzles with new wave. 2frères hails from Chapais, Quebec, and the result of the group’s labours is wonderful heartland pop album Nous autres.

Toronto alternative duo Moon King delivers Secret Life. This week’s most attention-grabbing release just may be the collaborative album between Suuns and Jerusalem in My Heart. It has some Tangerine Dream type electronica, some Middle Eastern atmospherics, and other delicious flavours. Jeffrey Piton took part in the first season of The Voice. The native of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec can be proud of fine folky album La transition.

In the kingdom of EPs, three great works are as follows: Tilt a Whirl from Grande Prairie, Alberta country band Emerson Drive, Verde from Vancouver electro-alternative whiz Tei Shi, and pop-rock delight Where the Light Is from inspirational artist Dan Bremnes from Salmon Arm, BC.

Check out, stream, buy some of these great homegrown works to bring luck to the five Canadian teams who begin round one of the Stanley Cup playoffs tomorrow!

What the Stars Are Up To

jory zechner1

YTV Next Star winner Jory Zechner strikes a pose. Cool glasses or not, we hope she can release some new songs soon.

Shawn Mendes mall of America 1 Shawn Mendes performs a live acoustic set on the eve of his album release at Canadian-owned Mall of America in Minnesota, USA.

Carly Rae Jepsen in Japan Carly Rae Jepsen swings by Japan to visit with her fans and promote her new music.

Nikki burt Nikki Yanofsky was super stoked to open for jazz legend Burt Bacharach.

GRL in Vietnam

Emmalyn Estrada and G.R.L. enjoy some coconuts and don pointy hats in beautiful Vietnam.

Andee Barbados

Andee takes a breather before getting busy with her debut album release by having breakfast in Barbados.

Ice Conduit to the 2015 JUNOs: Breakthrough Artist/Group of the Year Nominees

BreakthroughToronto EDM spin wizard Glenn Morrison definitely broke through. Track “Goodbye” became a platinum single, reaching a peak position of #12 on the Billboard Hot 100. Saskatchewan’s Jess Moskaluke broke through by becoming the first female country artist since Shania Twain to score a gold single. Calgary’s Kiesza made history when her debut single “Hideaway” debuted at #1 on the UK Singles chart. At home, it was the highest charting single of the year and attained platinum sales. Debut single from Toronto teen sensation Shawn Mendes became a Top 10 hit and went gold. As for Edmonton’s Mac DeMarco, we’re not sure in what way he broke through without a hit single or gold album. His music is pretty good, and he’s doing something a little different but perhaps a nomination in another category would have made more sense. It goes to show that titling an album with a Shakespearean expression gives one credit.

Kiesza will probably take the award, though Shawn Mendes has a shot at it. He now has 2.75 million Twitter followers.

Regarding Breakthrough Group, Adventure Club made the Top 40 with “Wonder”. Three tracks from MAGIC!‘s debut album made the Top 40 including international, triple platinum smash “Rude”. Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker (USS) landed two tracks on the Billboard Hot 100 and one of them went gold. “Lost You” became Zeds Dead‘s first charting single. As for Alvvays, we’re not sure how the band broke through without a hit single or gold record. Perhaps it’s a matter of never underestimating the charm of the Rankins.

MAGIC! will probably take the award.

Music First, March Second

I Really Like You, Carly

carly rae jepsen - i really like you

Carly Rae Jepsen has released her much anticipated new single, “I Really Like You”, the lead off her upcoming third studio LP. At this writing, it is Top 20 on iTunes Canada. Carly performed the super catchy and excellent tune on Good Morning America this morning and will do the same on Jimmy Kimmel March 5. It has a faster tempo than her hits “Bucket”, “Tug of War”, “Call Me Maybe”, and “Curiosity”, and was written by Carly along with Jacob Kasher Hindlin and Peter Svensson. Billboard mag says that with the song, “Jepsen has put in her bid to rule the spring of 2015”.  iTunes

Jack Ü Gets Canadianized

Jack U

American EDM specialists Diplo and Skrillex have solicited the help of Canadian singers on their surprise album Jack Ü. Kiesza is featured in track “Take Ü There” while Justin Bieber handles vocals on “Where Are Ü Now”.  iTunes

Bienvenue, Shawn Mendes

Shawn Mendes Paris

Shawn Mendes is busy promoting his music in Europe and today was in Paris. Here he is at the Eiffel Tower.  iTunes

This Hour Has 22 Ariane Moffatts

Ariane Moffatt billboard

Platinum JUNO winner Ariane Moffatt will be releasing a new album on March 10. Her last synth driven spectacular, MA, debuted at #2 on the Billboard albums chart. The title of the new work is 22h22. Debut single “Debout” is doing exceptionally well. Here’s a bus billboard announcing her April 16 show at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.  iTunes

Tyler Shaw’s House of Cards Is Solid

Tyler Shaw - queen of hearts

Tyler Shaw recently wrapped up his cross-Canada radio tour promoting new single “House of Cards”. He had a photo taken holding up the queen of hearts in each city. Here he is at the Jack Poole Plaza in Vancouver with the Olympic Cauldron.  iTunes

Dan Talevski

DAN TALEVSKI - Guilty as sin

Toronto R&B whiz Dan Talevski has written songs for Shawn Desman, Danny Fernandes, and Keshia Chante and is now beginning to make his own music. “Guilty As Sin” is his first single with eOne Music Canada and is moving up the BDS charts. You can watch a lyric video here.  iTunes

Yes Way, Yes!

We leave you with the brand new MV for MAGIC!’s “No Way No”, the fourth single from the reggae group’s album rapidly moving up the charts.  iTunes

More JUNO Performers Confirmed: Alanis, deadmau5, LIGHTS, and the SRB!

JUNOs 2015 Performers1

The JUNO Awards confirmed additional performers today. Joining Arkells, Hedley, Kiesza, MAGIC!, and Shawn Mendes at the March 15 gala in Hamilton will be double diamond alt rocker Alanis Morissette, EDM wizard deadmau5, electro pop specialist LIGHTS, and Montreal’s the Sam Roberts Band! Are we stoked yet? Holy smokes!

This year’s JUNO Fan Fare event (March 14) will be split into four signing session tables, loosely based on genre, with each attendee limited to one, allowing for more participants. Table 1 (rock) has Arkells and the Sam Roberts Band. Table 2 (pop/R&B) has Shawn Mendes, Nikki Yanofsky, JRDN, and Melanie Durrant. Table 3 (dance/electro) has Kiesza, LIGHTS, Glenn Morrison, Trevor Guthrie, and Zed’s Dead. And Table 4 (country) has Dallas Smith, Kira Isabella, MacKenzie Porter, Paul Brandt, and The Road Hammers. Tickets for Tables 2 and 3 have already sold out. You can purchase tickets here.

Maple Blazers of 2014


andee3Hailing from Quebec City suburbs; touring Asia as member of all-girl group Akasha; performing with Lionel Richie and finishing in the Top 5 of talent show Star Académie; drawing comparisons to Adele; featured on double platinum and platinum compilation albums; appearing in the bilingual versions of Hedley’s “Kiss You Inside Out” and Shawn Desman’s “Dum Da Dum”; getting signed by Universal Music Canada; teaming with Simple Plan songwriter and producer Sébastien Lefebvre; launching her career in English; contributing track “We Are Gold” to the CBC’s coverage of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi; seeing her formal debut single, “Never Gone” reach the Billboard Canadian Hot 100’s Top 40; touring with Demi Lovato; and co-writing “Sorries” with Pink; Andrée-Anne Leclerc, now known as Andee, is all set for an illustrious career.

A Tribe Called Red

A Tribe Called RedThis Ottawa trio created new genre of music “powwow step” by combining modern electronic dance music with Aboriginal chants and drumming. With a passionate, growing fan base and popularity on the club circuit, the group’s second album Nation II Nation saw its renown skyrocket. A Tribe Called Red declined entry into the JUNO Aboriginal Album department for 2014 taking the risk of going straight for mainstream category Breakthrough Group of the Year, normally heavily dominated by White popular rock bands. Needless to say, the group won.

Crystal Shawanda

CCrystal Shawandarystal Shawanda was born in the Wikwemikong Native Reservation which is situated on Manitoulin Island (Lake Huron, southwest of Sudbury). She is of proud Ojibwa heritage. Signed in 2007 to RCA/Sony (Nashville), she launched a career in country music. Her debut album Dawn of a New Day entered the Billboard U.S. Top Country Albums chart at #16 becoming the highest charted album by a full-blooded Canadian First Nations country artist in the Nielsen SoundScan era. The album landed four songs on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100. Crystal’s album Just Like You won a JUNO Award. In 2014, she switched genres releasing a stunning blues album, The Whole World’s Got the Blues.


KieszaCalgary’s Kiesza topped the UK Singles chart before most Canadians had heard of her. Retro 90s dance charmer “Hideaway” eventually hit platinum in Canada helped in part by a concept music video of bustin’ moves on Brooklyn streets, shot in one take. “Giant In My Heart” and an EP quickly followed, and by the end of the year, Kiesza’s debut album Sound of a Woman, hit record shops. Live performances of dancing while singing without running out of breath on Letterman, the MMVAs, and other spectacles anchored her credibility.


MagicAfter songs he produced won Grammy awards in the U.S., Canada’s Nasri Atweh (of production duo The Messengers) formed reggae pop band MAGIC! with his Toronto buddies. Debut single “Rude” became the biggest Canadian song of 2014 globally. It was discovered first in Australia and climbed the charts to #3 before most Canadians knew they had a new band. “Rude” topped the charts in both the U.K. and U.S. At home, it was certified multiplatinum and became only the 3rd song from a home-grown artist to spend over a year on the Hot 100. With the release of the band’s debut album, two further songs made the weekly Top 40. Album Primary Colours followed in 2016 which spawned further hits for the group.

Serge Fiori

Serge FioriIn the 1970s, Serge Fiori was lead singer of multiplatinum progressive rock band Harmonium. After the band split in 1978, he teamed up with Richard Séguin on an album. In the 80s he began writing songs for other artists, most notably Diane Dufresne and Nanette Workman and released his own solo album in 1986. He also penned the theme song for internationally renowned Canadian comedy production Just For Laughs. In the 90s, Serge began scoring movie soundtracks and also dabbled in new age music. In 2014 he made a huge comeback releasing a self-titled LP that struck platinum and placed a track in the Billboard Canadian Hot 100. It was voted Album of the Year via a poll conducted by the CBC.

Shawn Mendes

Shawn MendesThis breakout sparkly-eyed teen sensation from Pickering, ON posted a six-second video on Vine that turned him into a household name. He won Ryan Seacrest’s (American DJ) Best Cover Song competition and was signed to Island Records. Shawn’s debut single, “Life of the Party,” reached #1 on iTunes on the night of June 25-26 and became a Top 10 hit on the Canadian Hot 100. In the United States, Shawn became the youngest artist to debut in the top 25 with a first song on the Billboard Hot 100. With millions of Twitter followers, a 2015 tour with American superstar Taylor Swift, and a debut LP that topped the album charts and spawned further hit singles, he is on his way to a big career. In 2016, Shawn released second album Illuminate with further global hit songs. He performed at a number of international awards shows.

Tanya Tagaq

Tanya TagaqRegarded by many as one of the world’s most talented voice musicians, Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq has worked with Iceland’s Björk. She hails from Cambridge Bay, NU and released her 4th album in 2014, Animism, chock full of eclectic instrumentation. The critically acclaimed album nabbed the Polaris Music Prize given to the year’s most artistic work. Her mesmerizing performance at the gala, given in conjunction with scrolling names of missing and murdered Aboriginal women, brought down the house. Tanya is a multiple JUNO nominee.

Something Big Is Happening to Shawn Mendes

Shawn Mendes - Something BigSwinging into the spotlight on a vine, Toronto teen sensation Shawn Mendes scored a Top 10 debut single, “Life of the Party” (gold) and released an EP a few months back. He is currently working on his debut album which is expected out prior to his opening for Taylor Swift’s tour in May 2015. Yesterday, Shawn released followup single “Something Big” which reached #4 on iTunes, stymied in its advance to the top only by new songs from established heavyweights Foo Fighters, One Direction, and Selena Gomez. Billboard magazine compared the track to a mix of Ed Sheeran and Justin Timberlake and praised it for Mendes sounding “jittery with excitement”. He will be performing the new single in a mini tour beginning November 15 in New York and as a participant in the U.S. Jingle Ball tour launching December 5 in Los Angeles. Below is the MV.  iTunes