The Great White North has always been a breeding ground for exceptional music artists, from good old Neil Young, Bryan Adams, and Alanis Morrissette to today’s A-listers like Drake and The Weeknd. But every year again, I am surprised by the sheer musical talent that comes out of Canada’s musical incubator. 2021 was the breakthrough year for singer-songwriter Mustafa, Alex Porat, and many other newcomers. In this article, I’d like you to lend your ear to our best discoveries of the year, Chiiild, Priyanka, and Jessia.
Montreal-based band Chiiild gave the world a sweet taste of their experimental R&B style with their successful EP Synthetic Soul. This year, vocalist/bass player Yonatan Ayal and guitarist Pierre-Luc Rioux released a powerful follow-up with their debut album Hope for Sale. The album contains 11 R&B/Soul/indie fusion tracks that are reminiscent of the likes of D’Angelo, Marvin Gaye, and a touch of Moby. Songs like Awake (that bass!), Sleepwalking, and Weightless are raking in millions of plays on Spotify. I am sure that, just like me, many listeners find solace in the combination of soft indie vocals, chillout beats and bass runs, and the vintage sound effects that occasionally slip through so effortlessly and transport us to better times.
Had enough of staring at the ceiling? Feel like dancing? Search Spotify for Priyanka’s Come Through. I’m usually not for the light pop-y stuff, but Priyanka really surprised me. The 5 tracks on Priyanka’s aptly named debut EP Taste Test have that irresistible club feel that gets your feet tapping and your head bobbing. Even Country Queen, which surprisingly only had 44,000 plays on Spotify at the time of writing, is a real earworm. Want more? Bitch I’m Busy, Cake, and the more laid-back Sleigh My Name leave a taste for more from Toronto’s drag superstar.
Priyanka, who was born Mark Suknanan in Whitby, Ontario, came to fame after winning the first season of the reality show Canada’s Drag Race in 2020. Alongside her music, Priyanka is a rising star on Canadian television, hosting several shows.
If, like the rest of us, you’ve been stuck on planet earth this past year, chances are you heard Jessia’s I’m Not Pretty. “Maybe I’m not pretty, maybe I’m just fun, cause I got a belly ‘n’ I got a bum.” The lyrics are as fun as they are a daily reality many of us have to face, present company included. Add in the catchy beat and you’ll find yourself singing your sad truth at the top of your lungs. Jessia drops some more sad truth on the music-loving crowd with powerful songs like, But I Don’t, I Should Quit, and Really Nice To Think About.
And to think that the Vancouver pop artist came close to quitting the music scene in 2019, before she even properly started. In a last attempt, she uploaded I’m Not Pretty to TikTok, not knowing whether she was sitting on gold or a turd. Turns out it was gold… with more than 90 million plays on Spotify, the only way for Jessia is up! Looking forward to a follow-up!
If you’re looking for new tracks on your playlists, give these three new music artists a listen. You won’t be disappointed!