So much incredible talent is blooming out of Canada so we’ve highlighted some artists that you should know about and support! We’ve also put the songs into a YouTube Playlist— we’re going to keep adding to it throughout the year!
1. JP SAXE
Toronto-bred singer-songwriter JP Saxe shapes his R&B-leaning with sensual lyrics and infectious melodies. JP Saxe cites his musical influences to the likes of Lauryn Hill, Paul Simon, Jamie Cullum, Justin Nozuka, Allen Stone, Lianne La Havas and Carole King. To-date he has released three singles including, “Changed”, “Anybody Else” and his latest “The Few Things”. He’s definitely one to watch!
2. Allie X
Canadian singer-songwriter, Allie X started her career in the mid-2000s playing with local bands and writing and recording self-released albums. In 2013, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue a full time songwriting career while also working on her own material. Her first single, “Catch” charted on the Canadian Hot 100, peaking at number 55 and it received recognition by TIME Magazine and Katy Perry!
She cites her musical influences to the likes of ABBA, Arthur Russell, Björk, Kate Bush, Lady Gaga, Céline Dion, Cyndi Lauper, Mariah Carey, Mark Mothersbaugh, Tom Petty, and author Haruki Murakami.
Allie X’s first EP CollXtion I was released in 2015 followed by her debut album CollXtion II in 2017.
Boogát is a Canadian-Mexican musician from Montréal who mixes hip-hop with Latin music like Cumbia, Salsa and Reggaeton.
In 2013, he released his first Spanish album, ‘El Dorado Sunset’. It won two Felix Awards for Best World Music Album and Producer of the Year. Since then Boogát has been touring Canada, United States, Mexico, Argentina, Germany, Holland, France, Czech Republic and Spain.
His album ‘Neo-Reconquista’ won the Juno and Felix awards for World Music Album of the Year at the 2016 Juno Awards and the ADISQ gala respectively.
4. Eryn Martin
Brampton’s up-and-coming alternative pop artist Eryn Martin is one to watch out for. Although there isn’t much information about her online yet, I have a feeling that she will be one to know! Brampton, Ontario appears to be a hot bed of explosive talent, home to other big names such as Alessia Cara and Jessie Reyez. Eryn mixes elements of R&B, hip-hop and down-tempo.
5. Elise LeGrow
In 2009, Jazz-Soul artist Elise LeGrow was offered a publishing deal from Sony/ATV Music Publishing following a live performance at the NXNE music festival in Toronto. Her first release, “No Good Woman,” was the most added single on adult contemporary radio in Canada the week of April 7, 2012. The single peaked at number six on the Nielsen BDS Adult Contemporary chart, and remained in the Top 10 for thirteen weeks. Her 2016 release of “Who Do You Love”, debuted at No.15 on the CBC Radio 2 chart and eventually hit Top 10 on the CBC Radio 2 chart.
Born and raised in Toronto, pop artist Ralph aka Raffa Weyman personifies the intersection between contemporary visionary artists such as Solange and Kali Uchis, and the allure of yesteryear that iconized David Bowie, Cher, Prince and Stevie Nicks. Ralph’s music is catchy but cool, sexy but smart, edgy but evocative as she blends pop, disco and synth with an emphasis on lyrics and storytelling.
She has built an incredible following in the USA, Canada and Europe in just over a year, with over 14 million streams on Spotify, and gaining her a place on Spotify’s ‘Ones To Watch’ list and her own billboard in Toronto’s Dundas Square. With nine singles out to-date and a full length album on the way, this is just the beginning!
Inspired by the likes of Bob Marley, The Fugees, Kardinal Offishall, 2Pac, and Jay-Z, Kayo began honing his talent through poetry at the age of 14. It started simply as a way for him to express his emotions in written word as he wasn’t very outspoken.
He eventually turned his words into music. At the age of 20, Kayo moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia to study marketing at Saint Mary’s University, while simultaneously continuing to pursue music. He immersed himself in the local hip-hop scene where he met future mentor Classified who later signed Kayo to a production deal via his imprint, Half Life Records, resulting in a licensing deal with EMI Music Canada.
With five singles out-to-date and three albums, there’s no slowing down for KAYO. If you’re a fan of Classified and Kardinal Offishall you’ll enjoy Kayo’s music.
Canadian vocalist Charlotte Cardin is a soulful, pop-oriented performer whose sound mixes singer-songwriter folk, jazz, electronica, and R&B. Born in Montreal to a French-speaking family, Cardin studied medicine and worked as a model before launching her singing career. Initially, she came to the public’s attention as a contestant on the vocal competition show La Voix in 2013. After finishing in the top four, she was featured on French singer Garou’s track “Du Vent des Mots.” Three years later, she dropped her first single “Big Boy”.
In 2017, she released her debut album, Main Girl, on Atlantic Records. That same year she was nominated in the French and English categories at the SOCAN Songwriting Awards for her songs “Big Boy” and “Faufile.”
9. John Orpheus
John Orpheus is a Pan-African poet whose musical journey has taken him from Trinidad to blues and folk festivals across Canada, to some of the biggest rock and roll stages in the world. Joined by DJ/drummer Sarah Jane Riegler and singer/dancer Chaenel Mattise they combine hip-hop swagger, afrobeats energy and dancehall charisma to create a sound built on big catchy hooks, African rhythms and Caribbean twang! John has four EPs out to-date including, Goldchain Hennessey, Bacchanal, Black Star Rising, and his latest Goatlife.
Hailing from Ghana Africa, Kwame Nantwi’s name, “Tona”, was given to him because of his distinctive tone of voice and his unique style that transcends the typical boundaries of the hip- hop genre. In 2005, Tona launched his own licensing company, Da District Entertainment, as a tribute to his home district of Scarborough, Ontario. “Hip hop in Scarborough feels like the foundation of the culture to me” says Tona on his Facebook page, he continues to say, “You couldn’t go no where in our city and not interact with it some how. Even if you didn’t understand it, it was there – the music, the streets, the culture. I love my city for that.” Tona has had five major releases on the label.