Although they may get overshadowed by their American counterparts, Canada has produced some excellent musical talent over the years. Here’s a look at 11 Canadian musicians you need to know about before they become the next Weeknd or Shawn Mendes.
Toronto-based singer Jessie Reyez rose to fame thanks to her catchy hit “Figures” in 2016. Her sound is a unique combination of pop and R&B. Her debut EP, Kiddo, was released on April 21, 2017. She followed the release with an announcement of a small summer tour around North America, which begins in Philadelphia on June 7, 2017.
A four-piece electro-pop band from Newfoundland with a Scandinavian sound, Repartee has been around for quite a few years. But they’ve gained popularity recently thanks to their hit “Dukes,” off their 2015 album, All Lit Up. With tour dates set in 2017, Repartee is definitely an up-and-comer on the Canadian music scene.
Pomo is David Pimentel, a Vancouver native now based out of Montreal. The DJ and music producer is slowly making himself more known among Canadian listeners, thanks to the support from big names like Disclosure and Kaytranada. In 2017, he released a hit called “Fall Together,” which features Harrison Brome. Pomo is known to include live instruments in his DJ sets.
Eva Shaw is a former model-turned-musician, writer, and DJ from Toronto. She has performed residencies at exclusive nightclubs, including Hakkasan and Omnia in Las Vegas. In 2016, she focused her time in the studio, working with Grammy Award-winning musicians and producers. The result? Her current hit song, “High,” featuring Demarco and Shaggy himself.
A local band from Vancouver, Lion Bear Fox may be the city’s next big thing. The lion is Christopher Arruda; the bear is Cory Woodward; Ryan McMahon is the fox. They’ve played their folk-rock sound at many community events and festivals over the years. But they released their debut self-titled LP in February 2017, and they’re spending June touring Western Canada.
Taelor Deitcher, known by the stage name of Felix Cartal, is originally from New Westminster in the Greater Vancouver area. Felix is a Canadian DJ and music producer, and he has earned a reputation for his stellar remixes, producing them for stars like Kiiara, Wafia, Kaskade, and Selena Gomez in 2016 alone. His latest remix is of the New Radicals hit, “Get What You Give.”
Mckenzie Small is only 17 years old, but her voice is no doubt going to take her places. The pop star is from Mississauga, Ontario. Her EP Half of Me was released on April 14, 2017, and features her breakout hit, “Dynamite.” She also stars on Backstage, a Canadian teen drama series that’s set in the fictional Keaton School of the Arts where students hone their skills and dream of making it big. Life imitating art, perhaps?
Close Talker is a three-piece indie-rock band from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The three members are childhood friends who have a distinct sound, and they have a loyal following in Canada, the UK, and Europe. Their latest album is called Lens, and they’re currently touring Canada before heading to Europe for shows in the summer.
Originally from a small town in British Columbia, pop star Shawn Hook has worked behind the scenes for quite a few years in Hollywood. He was the first artist/songwriter to sign to ABC Studios, where his songs featured on TV shows like Kyle XY and Greek. But now he’s making a name for himself outside of the studio, with hit song “Sound of Your Heart” in 2015 and “Reminding Me” with Vanessa Hudgens in 2017.
Coleman Hell is a musician from Thunder Bay, Ontario. Now based in Toronto, Coleman has slowly become known for his indie dance tunes, including the 2015 hit, “2 Heads.” However, it wasn’t until his debut album, Summerland, was released in late 2016 that people began to take notice of Coleman. The SMILE Remix of his song “Devotion” is currently making waves on Canadian radio.
Based in Ontario, James Barker Band is a country music group, featuring James Barker, Bobby Martin, Taylor Abram, and Connor Stephen. They began turning heads when they won the Emerging Artist Showcase at the 2015 Boots and Heart Music Festival. In 2016, they signed with Universal Music Canada, and their star began to rise. Their EP Game On was released in 2017, which features their two smash hits: “Lawn Chair Lazy” and “Just Sayin’.”