Deadmau5 in concert with amazing light show display and at centerstage.

Canadian Artists and Bands From the 1980s to Now

Canadian music has evolved significantly over the last few decades. From global hits of the 1980s to the modern Billboard bops of today, Canadian artists have become an integral part of Pop music. Here is a list of the top most famous Canadian artists and bands.

Popular Canadian Artists of Today:

Shawn Mendes

Canadian singer Shawn Mendes playing an acoustic guitar with a black backdrop.

Shawn Mendes is a true Gen Z icon. The 22-year-old artist got his start on the social media platform Vine in 2013, where he amassed a sizeable amount of adoring followers. He eventually caught the attention of a record producer, and in 2015, his single “Stitches” became the #1 song in the United States. His other hits include “Treat You Better,” “Mercy,” and “In My Blood.”

The Weeknd

Canadian singer the Weekend performing on stage and singing into a microphone.

Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, better known as popular Canadian singer The Weeknd, got his start by posting anonymous videos on YouTube. After about a year of anonymous uploads, he released a series of mixtapes in 2011. In 2012, he had signed with the record label “Republic Records” and released his first studio album in 2013. To date, he has won 3 Grammy Awards in the “Best Urban Contemporary Album” category. Some of his smashing hits include “I Can’t Feel My Face,” “Hills,” and “Starboy”.


Canadian rapper Drake.

Drake is the rapper that brought the “Toronto Sound” and Canadian artists to the global stage. Before starting his rap career in 2007, Drake was an actor on a television show called “Degrassi.” Drake was an Indie rapper for the first couple of years of his career before he signed to ‘Young Money” (same record label that signed Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne. Since then, he has held multiple Billboard chart records and 4 Grammy awards. Some of his hit songs include “Hotline Bling,”  “Toosie Slide,” and “Gods Plan.”

Justin Bieber

Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber.

Justin Bieber is a Pop music icon and is arguably one of the first Canadian artists to ever go viral. Bieber was only 13 years old when he started his singing career, with his mom recording videos of him singing and posting them to YouTube. His debut track “Baby” became an internet sensation and gained him a huge following off fans who propelled his career into the stratosphere. In 2016, Bieber became the first Canadian artist to top 10 billion views on Vevo. He also holds 14 other world records, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Popular hits now include “Sorry,” “Intentions,” and “Holy.”

Carly Rae Jepsen

Singer-songwriter Carly Rae Jepsen sitting and smiling, there is a white-gray backdrop behind her.

Singer-songwriter Carly Rae Jepsen hit the ground running with her debut single “Call Me Maybe.” Carly launched her musician career by auditioning for the Canadian Idol in 2007, where she won third place in the show. Her first album in 2008 brought her little success in her career, but in 2012 she boomed popularity with her bubblegum Pop album called “Kiss.” For a while it seemed that Ms. Jepsen would be just another one-hit-wonder, but she proved time and time again that you cannot underestimate a Canadian artist.

Alessia Cara

Canadian singer Alessia Cara at the Grammy Awards.
Source: The Jakarta Post

Alessia Cara is a Canadian singer, songwriter and instrumentalist. After producing acoustic covers, she signed with EP entertainment and Def Jam Recordings in 2014. She released her debut single the following year. Her song “Here” reached #19 on the Canadian Hot 100 chart and was a big hit in the United States, reaching #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Other hit singles include “Scars To Your Beautiful,” “Wild Things,” and the Moana soundtrack “How Far I’ll Go.”

Popular Canadian Artists from the 2000s:

Avril Lavigne

Pop-punk princess Avril Lavigne.

Avril Lavigne is the Canadian artist that defined an era. She was the Pop Punk Queen of the 2000s. In 2002, she debuted with her hit song “Sk8r Boi,” which is still a popular song today. Avril’s music paved the way for other female-pop punk artists around the world and brought the former subculture to mainstream music. Her other hits include “Complicated,” “”Girlfriend,” and “The Best Damn Thing”.

Marianas Trench

Black and white photo of pop band Marianas Trench: from left to right there is Mike Ayley, Josh Ramsay, Matt Webb and Ian Casselman.
Source: Music Alternatives

Marianas Trench is a Canadian pop rock band from Vancouver, British Columbia. It features lead vocalist Josh Ramsay, guitarist Matt Webb, drummer Ian Cassleman and bassist Mike Ayley. The groups’ music career launched in October 2006 after releasing their debut Album Fix Me, which includes three of their hit singles, “Shake Tramp,” “Say Anything,” and “Decided to Break It.” Since the release of Fix Me, the group has produced a total of five albums, Masterpiece Theatre (2009), Ever After (2011), Astoria (2015), and Phantoms (2019). Some of their other hit songs include “All To Myself,” “Haven’t Had Enough,” “Desperate Measures,” and “Celebrity Status.”

Nelly Furtado

Canadian singer Nelly Furtado.

Nelly Furtado began her career as a Canadian artist in the early 2000s. Her first album, “Woah, Nelly!” was a trip-hop masterpiece that is still beloved today. She then went on to explore the hip hop genre as well as her Portuguese background in her music. At some point in her career, she also experimented with folk music. A lot of her success comes from her hit singles “Promiscuous,” “I’m like a bird,” and “Maneater.” She has also won a Grammy Award and has sold over 40 million records worldwide.

Michael Buble

Canadian singer Michael Buble smiling into a microphone on stage.
Source: CLTure

Michael Buble is the modern 2000s version of Frank Sinatra. His music has influences of Broadway, jazz and easy listening combined with timeless pop ballads. Michael Buble and his classic songs make him a favourite amongst listeners of all ages, even today. Some of his famous hit singles include “Feeling Good,”  “Haven’t Met You Yet,” and “It’s a Beautiful Day.” Buble has won 4 Grammys over the course of his singing career and has also produced eight albums.


Canadian rock band Nickelback with members, from left to right: Chad Kroeger, Daniel Adair, Ryan Peake, and Mike Kroeger.

Canadian Rock band Nickelback has always been a very divisive group. Some people think they’re great, and others believe their music to be pure torture. Nevertheless, they are the most successful rock band in Canada today. They were the Billboard most successful rock band of 2009, a decision that caused a lot of backlash at the time! Some of Nickelback’s hit singles include “How You Remind Me,” “Photograph,” and “Someday.” They also won five awards from the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN).


Canadian producer Deadmau5 performing a show.

Deadmau5 (real name Joel Thomas Zimmerman) is a famous Canadian producer popular for his work in the EDM genre. His music covers everything from “progressive house,” “techno,” and “dubstep.” He is currently one of the highest-paid electronic music producers in the world. He owns nine record labels as of today. Some of Deadmau5 best songs include “Bot,” “Alone With You,” and “Closer.”

Popular Canadian Artists from the 1990s:

Shania Twain

Canadian country singer Shania Twain.

Singer-songwriter Shania Twain is the best-selling female country artist in history! She is truly the queen of country music. Shania got her start as a singer in 1993, but didn’t gain success until she released her 1995 album “The Woman In Me.” Shania’s biggest hits include “Any Man Of Mine,” “You’re Still The One,” and everyone’s classic favourite “Man! I Feel Like A Woman!”. She has also won five Grammy Awards.

Celine Dion

Canadian singer Celine Dion, there is a black backdrop.

Most people know Celine Dion from her song “My Heart Will Go On” – a song featured in the Titanic movie in 1997. Her power ballads and impressive vocal skills have continued to grow throughout her career. She has won five Grammy awards, including one for best album and one for record of the year. She is arguably the most well-known Canadian artist of all time. Some of her best-selling singles include “The Power Of Love,” “Think Twice,” and “Ashes.” (Ashes is the soundtrack for the Deadpool 2 movie in 2018)

Alanis Morissette

Canadian singer Alanis Morissette smiling on stage in front of a microphone.

Alanis Morissette is a grunge pop-rock Canadian singer that rose to fame in the 1990s. She originally released pop-centric music then slowly transitioned to alternative music, and that’s when she found her global success.She is a Rolling Stone’s ‘Queen of Alt-Rock Angst.’ Some of her hit singles include “You Oughta Know,” “Ironic,” and “All I Really Want.”

Bare Naked Ladies

Barenaked Ladies band photo, with a purple backdrop.

The Bare Naked Ladies are a rock band most well known for creating the theme song for the television show “The Big Bang Theory.” They started as an Indie band and developed a following of fans in Canada, with their self-titled 1991 debut album becoming the first certified release to be certified gold in Canada. Some of their most popular songs include “If I had a Million Dollars,” “It’s All Been Done,” and “One Week.”

Simple Plan

Black and white photo of pop-punk band Simple Plan.
Source: The Jakarta Post

Simple Plan formed in the late 90s and have had a lot of success since then with their 5 hit studio albums. Their music style has been described as emo, pop-punk, alternative rock, pop-rock and punk rock. The band calls themselves classic punk artists with modern pop influences. Simple Plan’s biggest hits include “I’m Just A Kid,” “Welcome To My Life,” and “Shut Up!”

Sum 41

Pop-punk band Sum 41 group photo in front of a grey backdrop.
Source: Spotify

Sum 41 is a rock band from Ajax, Ontario. Originally called Kaspir, the band formed in 1996 and the current members are Deryck Whibley, Dave Baksh, Tom Thacker, Jason “Cone” McCaslin, and Frank Zummo. In 2001, they were nominated for Best New Group at the Juno Awards, but lost to Nickelback. They have been nominated for a total of seven Juno Awards and have won two of them. Some of their hit songs include “Fat Lip,” “In Too Deep,” and “The Hell Song.”

Popular Canadian Artists from the 1980s:

Bryan Adams

Canadian singer Bryan Adams playing a guitar on stage.
Source: AEG Presents

Who could ever forget the singer of the all-time classic hit “Summer of 69.” The song has gotten many remixes and mashups over the years, but the original version still holds up as a timeless summer bop. He is the Canadian musician who took his classic rock success and turned it into songwriting for films. His contributions to cinema won Bryan Adams a Grammy Award and a place in the Canadian Hall Of Fame.

The Tragically Hip

Black and white photo of the Tragically Hip rock band.

The Tragically Hip, often referred to as the Hip, was a Canadian rock band formed in Kingston, Ontario, in 1984. The group consisted of five members: vocalist Gord Downie, guitarist Paul Langlois, guitarist Rob Baker, bassist Gord Sinclair, and drummer Johnny Fay. The band played together until August 2016 when they performed their last show of the Man Machine Poem Tour. Unfortunately, Gord Downie passed away from brain cancer the following year in October 2017. Some of their hit songs include “Bobcaygeon,” “Ahead by a Century,” and “New Orleans is Sinking.”

Neil Young

Canadian singer Neil Young playing guitar on stage.
Source: The Revue

Neil Young started his career in the 1960s but was prolific in every decade, mostly in the 80s when he released his 10th album (of a mind-blowing total of 22 albums today). He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice: in 1995 as a solo artist and in 1997 as a member of Buffalo Springfield.He is estimated to have sold more than 75 million records worldwide. Hit songs include “Heart of Gold,” “Rockin’ In a Free World,” and “The Needle and Damage Done.”

Blue Rodeo

Group photo of Canadian country-rock band Blue Rodeo with a blue backdrop.

Blue Rodeo is a Canadian country-rock band. Since forming in 1984, the Toronto-based band were a huge hit in Canada in the 90s for their dynamic mix of pop, country and blues and two-part harmonies resembling the Everly Brothers. Their 1990 album, Casino, did achieve some success due to their hit single “Til’ I am Myself Again.” Since then, they have become of Canada’s most well-known legacy groups that tour worldwide. Blue Rodeo’s classic songs include “Hasn’t Hit Me Yet,” “Bad Timing,” and “5 Days in May.”

Joni Mitchell

1974 photograph of Canadian singer Joni Mitchell smiling and playing guitar on stage.
Source: Public Books

Joni Mitchell is a Canadian singer-songwriter. Her music draws from folk, pop, rock and jazz influences. Her songs deal with social and environmental issues as well as topics like emotions, romance, and joy. She has won 9 Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Half of Fame in 1997. She is often referred to as the most influential female recording artist of the late 20th century. A few of Joni’s hit songs include “Big Yellow Taxi,” “A Case of You,” and “Free Man In Paris.”


Album cover: "Keep It Up" by Canadian band Loverboy.
Source: Rate Your Music

Loverboy is a Canadian rock band formed in 1979. Throughout the 80s, the band released hit classics both in Canada and the United States. They earned four multi-platinum albums and sold countless records over that decade. Some of their most famous songs are “Turn Me Loose,” “Working for the Weekend,” and “Heaven In Your Eyes,” has become iconic rock songs and are still heard on classic rock radio stations worldwide.

Canadian artists have proven themselves time and time again. They have helped shape music from every era and genre and continue to do so today. If there’s anything we’ve learned from these 24 talented artists, it’s that Canadian music will always dominate the charts and the be stuck in the minds of people.

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