No great musicians come out of Canada, right? Nothing could be further from the truth. Not only do some of the greatest musicians in the world come from the Great White North, but some of the greatest musicians of all time. These are 8 red hot, highly respected stars that originated in Canada.
Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, otherwise known as The Weeknd, is a singer, songwriter, and producer. As well as being an extremely talented musician, Tesfaye is credited for further expanding what is officially considered R&B. He introduced indie and electronic expansions to the traditional R&B palette, creating a genre that is now referred to as Alternative R&B.
Back in 2010 he coined the name ‘The Weeknd’ when he put out a number of songs on YouTube using the pseudonym. The good reception of the songs resulted in him putting out House of Balloons, Thursday, and Echoes of Silence, all of which are critically acclaimed. In 2012 he created his own record label, XO. His three official number one releases include Beauty Behind the Madness, which topped the charts in 2015, Starboy in 2016, and My Dear Melancholy, the most recent release, that went straight to the top of the charts in 2018.
There is no hotter artist right now than rapper Drake, who officially got his start as an actor in the 2000s teen drama Degrassi: The Next Generation. After leaving the show in 2007, he put out the mixtape Room for Improvement, and signed on with Lil Wayne’s label, Young Money.
In 2010 his debut album, titled Thank Me Later, went to the top of the United States Billboard, as well as officially going Platinum. His 2011 and 2013 albums, Take Care and Nothing Was the Same, were likewise massive hits. In 2015 Drake made it to the next level, landing the Best Rap Album Grammy, and has since gone on to win 3 more of the prestigious awards.
Pop and R&B star Justin Bieber needs no introduction. After being discovered on YouTube in 2008 at the tender age of 14, he signed with RBMG. This was followed quickly by two albums, My World, and My World 2.0. The second album featured the smash hit Baby, which debuted at number 5, and sold a staggering 12 million units.
Mega musical success was followed by on going mega success, Grammy award has followed Grammy award, and in a nutshell, Forbes has named Bieber among the top 10 most powerful celebrities in the world multiple times, including 2011, 2013, and 2016.
Pop singer and songwriter Shawn Mendez has been making waves, having performed at the Queen’s Birthday Party in 2018. His first album debuted in 2015, and featured the single Stitches, which went straight to the top of the United Kingdom and Canadian top 10.
More recently in 2016, the album Illuminate featuring Treat You Better and There’s Nothin’ Holding me Back, which took the world by storm, topped the charts in several countries. In 2018, the same year he performed at the Queen’s Birthday Party, he released a self-titled third album and has recently been the subject of a highly publicised YouTube documentary outlining his rise to stardom.
Pop and R&B star Nelly Furtado is recognised as one of the most successful musicians in Canadian history, kicking off her career in the early 2000s with the album Whoa, Nelly! The singles Like a Bird and Turn Off the Light were smash hits.
Today, with over 40 million records sold, her most recent album was released in 2017, titled The Ride. Multiple awards, including one Grammy and the Commander of The Order of Prince Henry, stand as proof of her incredible success.
Alanis Morissette is an alternative rock legend, and her angst-filled, honest lyrics became anthems for the youth in the 90’s. Her 1995 album Jagged Little Pill sold an unbelievable 33 million copies, more than earning her the nickname the Queen of Alternative Rock Angst by Rolling Stone.
The Jagged Little Pill 20th Anniversary Edition was released in 2015, and is her most recent album. In 2017 she performed at the Linkin Park and Friends Celebrate the Life of Chester Bennington concert and she remains an icon in the industry.
Perhaps having not reached the level of mega stardom of other names on this list, soul and R&B singer Robin Thicke saw his biggest success in 2013, with the smash hit Blurred Lines. The controversial song topped the United Kingdom charts, and was perhaps most well known for Thicke’s raunchy performance with Miley Cyrus at the 2013 MTV VMA Awards.
Pop and jazz artist Michael Bublé is another industry legend, selling an astonishing 75 million records, and bagging 4 Grammy Awards. His 2005 and 2007 albums, It’s Time, and Call Me Irresponsible took the world by storm, making him a household name. After his 2018 album, Love, Michael declared his retirement from music, and stated that he would be giving no more interviews. He’s backpedalled a bit since then, and the Canadian crooner has said he will continue to make music, but that it will be on his terms.
To recap, these are the hottest musicians Canada has produced to date:
- The Weeknd
- Justin Bieber
- Shawn Mendez
- Nelly Furtado
- Alanis Morissette
- Robin Thicke
- Michael Bublé
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