Published Jul 07, 2020From coast to coast, these artists on the rise will take you on a road trip through the scenes, sights and sounds of Canada. Whether stylish psych rock, melancholic country or hard-hitting hip-hop, these eight emerging Canadian artists will transport you to immersive musical worlds, even if your summer is a little more landlocked than usual.
For fans of: Jorja Smith, Kelela, Tei Shi
Ash Weis, a.k.a Biawanna, explores love, sex, mental health, trauma and their identity as a queer person of Fijian and German descent through soulful R&B and dance-pop. With a steady stream of singles this year, the multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter is preparing to release their debut EP, the self-produced Care.
Leslie Ken Chu
For fans of: Julie Doiron, Feist
Though Edinburgh is her home base these days, Jane Blanchard still holds many ties to her Fredericton hometown — she's still the creative director of FLOURISH, the music festival she founded in 2014, and her recently released Still, Again EP falls in line with Atlantic Canada's history of cathartic, fuzzed-out rock.
For fans of: Orville Peck, Joan Shelley
If you caught Orville Peck on tour last year, you likely cried during the set of opener Le Ren, a.k.a. Lauren Spear. Spear has released material with two other projects this year — folksy band Maybel and pop-punks Skunk — and now as Le Ren she is gearing up to release Morning & Melancholia (via Secretly Canadian and Royal Mountain) on July 31. The EP's four tender folk ballads will leave listeners in awe and, once again, reaching for the tissues.
For fans of: Bright Eyes, Andy Shauf, David Bazan
For the past decade, Little Kid have quietly been one of Toronto's most prolific bands, sharing spiritual perspectives of everyday experiences with cathartic, slow-burning folk. Recently released sixth album Transfiguration Highway (out now on Solitaire Recordings) is their first on a label, and it further solidifies the band's gripping ingenuity for their small but loyal fanbase while also being an excellent entry point for newcomers.
For fans of: Haviah Mighty, Missy Elliott, Dreezy
On her latest EP Warmth, Charlottetown-based rapper Chelsey Moisan (a.k.a. LXVNDR) shows off how fearless she is. LXVNDR unflinchingly examines her emotions across the EP and does so while having a little fun ("The jealousy's got me red like Cheetos," she spits on "Jealousy") and, highlighted by the grungy and guitar-filled track "Purple Punk," with a lot of irresistible attitude.
For fans of: Broadcast, Melody's Echo Chamber, Luna Li
Psych rock is having a moment, and with it brings tons of new bands trying to sound like Tame Impala and Ty Segall. Mother Tongues, meanwhile, draws on a vast range of influences, from krautrock keyboards to theatrical guitar solos amid clean instrumentation, for a sound wholly their own. Debut EP Everything You Wanted is due July 31 on Buzz Records.
For fans of: Drake, Headie One, Lecrae
Terence Penny, a rapper and arts community supporter, interweaves his lyrics onto trap and dancehall beats, shaping an auditory testimony of his faith, his neighbourhood and his identity, like on recent release TP the EP 2. Forthcoming single "Details" stirs up a sweltering summer afternoon through a confident narrative, Penny's chest braced against the tides of racial unrest that have swept through North America and into the streets of Toronto.
Rachel Evangeline Chiong
For fans of: Elisapie, Big Thief
Willows is Montreal-based songwriter Geneviève Toupin, whose 2014 self-titled album is a magical blend of English, French and influences culled from her Métis background. Now, she's back with haunting new single "Two Wolves," recent collaborations with Montreal-based Innu artist Soleil Launière and the Finnish Sami duo VILDÁ, some online performances during June and July, and the promise of more new music.
Listen to tracks from these and other emerging Canadian artists in our Spotify playlist.