Canadian musicians have been dominating the hip-hop and pop charts all over the world in the past few years, ushering in a new era of music.
To those who may criticize Canada for its lack of an apparent music scene, internationally, Canadian music has done some impressive numbers. As much as artists may have struggled domestically in the pre-pandemic and post-pandemic landscapes, those that have gone big outside of Canada’s borders have seen massive sales, popularity, and opportunities.
Drake Is Canada’s Biggest, Most Popular Artist In Today’s Music Landscape
When discussing Canadian music, there is no bigger artist in contemporary hip-hop right now than Drake.
Throughout the past few years, Drake has seen massive success with “Honestly, Nevermind”, “Certified Boy Lover”, “Scorpion”, “More Life”, the mixtape “If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late”, and numerous singles.
Through successfully being able to build his brand outside of Canada and continuing to release a series of products that appeal to his growing customer base, Drake has been able to pave the way for other Canadian artists.
The Weeknd Is Canada’s Biggest Chart Success In The 2020s
At the top of that list is The Weeknd, who has seen a lot of chart success and in some circles is bigger than Drake.
The Weeknd has had some massive hits, with his albums “Dawn FM”, “After Hours”, “Starboy”, and “Beauty Behind The Madness” all spawning top 10 hits. His sound alone has redefined urban pop, incorporating trap, classic R&B, new wave, dream pop, dance-pop, and more styles into his catalogue.
With quite the future ahead of him, The Weeknd still feels new to the party and is still rolling out his vision.
As he continues to set up new releases, it will be interesting to see who comes next down the pike after him as that Toronto-based hip-hop scene continues to flourish.
The ‘Justin Bieber Effect’ Has Brought Forth Alessia Cara, Shawn Mendes, & More
Though it may be hard to see for some Canadians, Justin Bieber has continued to remain one of the most beloved yet hated Canadian artists.
Justin Bieber’s sales numbers continue to be massive and he has continued to dominate his category internationally with sold-out shows, hit releases, and much press. Beiber’s collaboration with Jack u and his forays into the world of EDM led him to his first Billboard #1 in “What Do You Mean” in 2015.
Justin Bieber’s growth in the 12-25 demographic has meant doors opening in the world music industry for similar talents.
Carly Rae Jepsen’s massive hit “Call Me Maybe” began her on a career where she’s still doing big numbers.
Alessia Cara won Best New Artist at the Grammys in 2018 and has had big successes with “Here”, “Scars To Your Beautiful”, and “Querer Mejor”.
Shawn Mendes has scored lots of attention from the Billboard Top 10 on “Stitches”, “Treat You Better”, “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back”, “In My Blood”, and “If I Can’t Have You”, is one of the world’s most popular music artists today.
Canadian Rock Radio From The 1990s & Hits Worldwide From Canada’s Indie Artists
Though Canadian music as a whole continues to shill out a lot of underground Canadian indie artists and while Canadian rock radio continues to push bands from the 1990s, artists such as Drake have not always gone unrecognized for representing Canadian music internationally.
Through the work of these types of artists, there is a pathway now for many Canadian artists to strike big in the United States and around the world. That said, there is a history of artists from Canada who have achieved massive sales worldwide.
Here are a few names from a long list of Canadian artists who have achieved success internationally over the decades.
- Neil Young is one of the world’s best songwriters, having written or played on hits from the 1960s up through to the early 2000s.
- The Guess Who was one of the world’s biggest rock bands in the late 1960s and early 1970s, selling massive records worldwide.
- Michael Buble’s Sinatra-esque classic pop sound has been credited with reviving pop interest in traditional pop and the Great American Songbook.
- Celine Dion is regularly held up as one of the best singers in the world, widely known for the hit “My Heart Will Go On” from the 1997 film Titanic.
- Feist and her indie stylings have won her Apple iPod commercials, Juno Awards, and international acclaim.
- Arcade Fire is an indie rock band from Montreal, Quebec that have headlined festivals and won Grammys.
- deadmau5 is one of Canada’s best electronic music DJs and one of the highest-paid music producers in the world.
Canada, to some degree, has a history of dominating the pop charts and world music. The country is very well represented and there is no shortage of examples to go to, to exemplify this.
How can countries like Canada continue to produce international music superstars – the answer’s easy. Support local musicians. Support your artists. When the economics are there to support culture, it gives that culture a footing to become known, have success, generate income, and eventually create jobs and economic momentum.
No matter where you’re living – what country or city – supporting local culture is important.
This is precisely why there are artists from all over the world that can sell in markets internationally. Their success isn’t an accident.
An artist like Drake, The Weeknd, or Justin Bieber does not rise to sell big records without support from various sources. Even talent that is undeniable and unstoppable still requires a little help to get there, especially economically.
For this reason, we strongly advocate for government-led economic support and funding initiatives for arts, culture, and music.