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Canadian Music You Need On Your Playlist, Like, Yesterday

Music from Canadian artists has always been fire. 

Canadian music has always been fire. In fact – and likely without you even realizing – many Canadian musicians have created the songs that serve as the soundtrack to so many memories for us all.

That Don’t Impress Me Much by the queen Shania Twain was belted out from the top of bar tables more nights than anyone can recount in undergrad.  We’ve all cried over someone we should be over by now while listening to My Heart’s Always Yours by the Arkells. That’s all to say that artists from Canada are – and have always been – killing it. Seriously, it must be something in that Hudson Bay water. But the jams from our Canadian songbirds keep getting better. 

That’s why we listed all the songs by Canadians you need to listen to, and put all of our recommendations into a Spotify Playlist so when you’re looking for a playlist that pairs with beavertails and Canadian syrup, you know what to listen to. 

Songs That Were Only Popular on Canadian Radio

While we’re looking at Canadian artists, it’s important to also remember the one-hit wonders. The songs that, even a decade later, you still know every single word, but our American counterparts 

Ghost – Fefe Dobson

If you turned the radio on once in 2010, you heard this song. And then you heard it again, and again, and again. The best part was it was good every single time. A quick Google search tells you the Canadian songstress traded in her snowsuit for a sunny escape, now living in Nashville.

Electric – Shawn Desman

Electric deserved better. The music video was a cinematic masterpiece of Shawn Desman performing at school with his boys, starting in the classroom and taking the piece to the cafeteria via a well choreographed dance number. As a fun bonus, the music video gives you a piece of Night Light This, another Canadian gem. Wherever you are, Shawn, we hope you’re doing well.

Breathing Underwater – Metric

Breathing Underwater was a song by Metric, an Indie rock bank from Toronto. Like so many songs on this list, It’s one of those songs you don’t think you know until you hear it. Next thing you know, you’re belting it out in the car. 

Inner Ninja – Classified, David Myles

Just like the above song, Inner Ninja is a song you don’t know you know until you hear it. And once you hear it, it’s stuck in your head for the next day. The song was certified 5x platinum in Canada and debuted at number five in November 2012. 

Honourable Mention – I Believe, Nikki Yanofsky

No list of Canadian radio hits would be complete without I Believe by Nikki Yanofsky. This song took over the country during the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, BC. You truly couldn’t go 15 minutes without this powerful ballad – and honestly, nobody wanted to go that long without it. She actually released a new album last year.

Songs That Talk About Canada 

… And no we’re not talking the national anthem. Give us some credit. Here are some songs that mention our beautiful country. 

Canada – Lauv (feat. Alessia Cara)

Despite being a San Francisco native, Lauv recognizes moving to Canada may be the move in this anthem. However, his duet partner Alessia Cara is a Canada resident. She was raised in Brampton, Ontario. 

Oh.. Canada – Classified 

Something about this music video makes you want to break out your Hudson Bay red gloves from the 2010 Olympics. It just feels that nostalgic. And to add the nostalgia, Classified opens the song with a frame from A Heritage Moment – how much more Canadian can you get?

Canadian Girls – Dean Brody

Dean Brody pens this love letter to Canadian women in this song. Having grown up in Smithers, British Columbia, Brody shouts out all things Canada in this song, including Hockey Night in Canada, Moosehead Beer, and the red and whtie, to name a few. 

Canada Dry – Barenaked Ladies 

Look no further if you want a love letter to this country. Canada Dry was written by the Barenaked Ladies as an ode to the beauty of this country. Talk about sparking some national pride.

Top Songs from Canadian Men

Our Canadian boys are killing it. Here are some of the big names.

Peaches – Justin Bieber

This is going to be the song of the summer, you heard it here first. Bieber has proudly shared his story of rising from small-town Stratford, Ontario, and has skyrocketed into fame since his first single, One Time, was released in 2009.  

If I Can’t Have You – Shawn Mendes

Another small-town Ontario boy, Mendes was brought up in Pickering, ON. He currently has four albums out, but If I Can’t Have You was his largest single to date. The song boasts proudly of the views from a nice condo in Toronto – most definitely has the CN tower in sight. 

God’s Plan – Drake

Speaking of the CN tower, it wouldn’t be a list of Canadian music without the man who made himself comfortable on top of the CN tower. Drake’s story is about as true North as it gets – what screams “Canadian” more than attending Degrassi High?

Blinding Lights – The Weeknd

Toronto-native Abel Tesfaye, aka the Weeknd, represented the entire country at Super Bowl 2021 this year, but has been putting out amazing hits since way before then. Blinding Lights may be one of his newer songs, but it already has 2B+ streams on Spotify – loved in all countries!

Top Songs from Canadian Women

Don’t give all the credit to the men – our Canadian women are reppin’. 

Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen

If you say this wasn’t the song of the summer in 2012, you’re lying. Call Me Maybe is one of the catchiest songs to come from a Canadian artist arguably ever. Carly Rae Jepsen also got her start on Canadian Idol – how much more Canadian pride can you get?

Because You Loved Me – Celine Dion

French Canadian singing icon Celine Dion topped charts across the world with Because You Loved Me, debuting at number one in Canada, United States, and Australia – it sold over 2M copies in the United States alone! 

Sk8er Boi – Avril Lavigne 

Avril Lavigne is truly Canada’s punk rock princess, and Sk8er Boi secures her crown. While arguably every song released by Avril is iconic, Sk8er Boi is a true Canadian treasure. 

Promiscuous – Nelly Furtado 

After its 2006 release, Promiscuous was the first song to reach number one by a Canadian female in the United States for nearly a decade. And rightfully so – this song gets anybody feeling their best, always. 

Songs from Up-and-Coming Canadian Artists

Ready to discover some new Canadian voices? We got you.

Harley Quinn – Kayleigh

Kayleigh was originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, but brought her performance skills to Montreal. She is already making waves in the Canadian pop/R&B scene. You can listen to her song here.

Human Drug – Koffee K

If hip-hop is more your style, you need to check out Koffee K. Koffee K calls Longueuil, Quebec home, but broke onto the scene at the Metro Metro Festival in 2019. You can listen to their song Human Drug here

Need You – Emanuel

When this Canadian R&B artist dropped the song Need You, he ended up catching the eye of Hollywood big name Idris Elba. With this big gun’s support, the music video featured people from 20 countries submitting footage of what was getting them through the start of the pandemic. 

MIA – Ebhoni

This R&B singer went viral with her first EP with over 2M streams on Soundcloud. In her music video for MIA, Ebhoni performs with contagious energy. You can’t help but want to dance along with her!

Songs from Canadian Born Bands

Adore You – Arkells

Arkells are a Hamilton-born Canaidan rock band. Since being signed in 2006, they’ve released five albums, two EPs, and a handful of singles that rocked the charts. INSERT SONG is the perfect song for your typical Canadian summer nights – a chilled Georgian Bay Brewery spirit campfire at night after a day on the lake.

If I Had A Million Dollars – Barenaked Ladies

The Barenaked Ladies are a must-have on any list of Canadian music. Even if you don’t know them, every Canadian knows the words to this cult classic. The band has been producing music since 1988 – their newest single, Flip, came out on April 16, 2021. 

Rockstar – Nickelback 

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, there’s no denying Nickelback is a name that you’ve heard in Canadian bands. They have some majorly well known singles that you can’t help but tap your foot along to. Their song Rockstar has found its way back into the spotlight this year after becoming a viral TikTok trend.

In Too Deep – Sum41

Despite being released 20 years ago (yes, 20. We’ll give you a moment to process), In Too Deep is still arguably Sum41’s most well known song. It’s the perfect song to scream-sing, no matter who you are. Because even if you don’t know the words, you know the words.

Did we miss any of your favourite Canadian songs? Let us know so we can add it to our playlist!

Katie McCann

Katie is a contributing writer at Notable Life. A day in the life consists of learning TikTok dances and finding ways to make her aussiedoodle, Ritz, her entire personality. Despite breaking her ankle hopping on one foot once, Katie hopes to go to the Olympics as part of an elaborate plan to meet Zac Efron – if it worked for Simone Biles, it’ll work again right? You can keep up with her on social @_katiemc1