17 Of The Greatest And Most Famous Canadian Singers Of All Time

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Canada is home to Niagara Falls, friendly people, blue waters, stunning mountains, maple syrup, and bustling cities. However, one thing that you may forget when you think of this beautiful North American country is its musical prowess.

There are countless numbers of incredibly talented singers who call Canada home, and in this post, we’re going to take a look at 17 of the greatest and most famous Canadian singers. Let’s get started.

1. The Weeknd

Born in Toronto, Ontario, in 1990, Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, who is better known by his stage name The Weeknd, is a singer-songwriter, record producer, businessman, actor, and celebrity.

He first earned commercial success with his second album in 2015. After this production, he skyrocketed to fame and reached the #1 spot on the US Billboard charts.

Since he first came onto the music scene in 2009, he has produced dozens of hit singles such as “The Hills,” “Can’t Feel My Face,” “Starboy,” and “Blinding Lights.”

In addition to #1 hits and best-selling albums, he has also won lots of awards, such as MTV Video Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, Juno Awards, and American Music Awards.

Now, years after he first started, The Weeknd is among one of the best-selling artists of all time, selling over 75 million records worldwide, debuting in the top three of both the Hot R&B and Hip-Hop Songs, and listed as one of the world’s most influential people according to Time Magazine.

2. Shawn Mendes 

Next, we have singer, songwriter, and record producer Shawn Mendes.

Born in Pickering, Ontario, in 1998, this young musician has been active since 2013 — when he was just 15 years old! 

His rise to stardom began with covers of popular songs posted on the social media app Vine. After gaining an online following, he got in touch with record labels and put out his first EP in 2014 and his first studio album in 2015, coming up with the record-breaking song “Stitches.” 

Known for singing pop, folk-pop, and pop-rock, Mendes has created and sung numerous hit singles, such as “Señorita” with the famous Camila Cabelo and “In My Blood,” with both songs debuting on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.

At such a young age, Mendes is going to be a name in the Canadian music industry for years to come.

3. Celine Dion

One of the most successful singers of all time, Celine Dion is known for her distinct vocals, French language in her hits, and her ability to sing in various musical styles, such as pop, chanson, soft rock, R&B, gospel, and classical music. 

Born in Charlemagne, Quebec, Dion started her musical career in 1980 and continues to perform, make top-selling albums, and write catchy singles to this day.

After gaining recognition in the early 1980s with the Eurovision Song Contest and Yamaha World Popular Song Festival, she used her platform to create her first two albums in the following decade.

If you haven’t heard of her, there is no doubt you have heard of “My Heart Will Go On,” the slow and heart-wrenching ballad used in the famous movie Titanic.

Interestingly, Dion is one of the best-selling musical artists of all time, having sold an incredible 200+ million records.

On top of her huge record sales, she’s also earned five Grammy Awards, had the most #1 songs on the radio, and is the sixth-best solo female Artist in Billboard history. 

Related: The most famous female Canadian singers.

4. Neil Young

Born in Toronto in 1945, Neil Young was a Canadian singer-songwriter who achieved international fame with his folk-rock and country-rock sound.

Known for his distinctive voice and guitar playing, Young has been a major influence on both rock and roll and alternative country music.

He first rose to fame in the 1960s as a member of the folk-rock band Buffalo Springfield. He has since released more than 40 studio albums, both solo and with his backing band Crazy Horse. Some of his most famous songs include “Heart Of Gold,” “Old Man,” and “Rockin’ In The Free World.”

He has also been active as a political activist, supporting causes such as environmentalism and the fight against poverty.

Plus, Young is not a one-trick pony — he has also directed and co-directed numerous feature films and contributed to the musical soundtracks of popular movies over the years. 

Related: The most famous male Canadian singers.

5. Shania Twain

Eilleen Regina Twain, better known as Shania Twain, is a Canadian singer and songwriter who was born in Windsor, Ontario, in 1965.

During the beginning of her career in the early 80s, Twain did not start on the right note. Her first album was actually a failure, but she bounced back with the second studio album that sold over 20 million copies and earned her the first Grammy Award.

Now, at the later end of her career, she has been inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame, inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

She still works today, putting out hit singles, working on TV shows, making celebrity appearances, and doing starring cameos on reality shows and sitcoms. 

6. Michael Bublé

Next, we have Michael Bublé, a jazz and pop singer who began his career in 1994.

Born in Burnaby, British Columbia, in 1975, Bublé is known for his distinctive smooth voice and easy listening vibe.

After finding worldwide popularity with his albums released in 2005 and 2007, Bublé earned high marks on the US Billboard 200 and the UK Albums Chart.

During the entirety of his career, Bublé has sold over 75 million records, won four Grammy Awards, and earned various Juno awards for his work. Some of his best hits are “Home,” “Haven’t Met You Yet,” and “It’s A Beautiful Day.”

7. Bryan Adams

Another well-known and successful singer, Bryan Adams was born in Kingston, Ontario, and has been active since 1975 — and continues to perform today!

He had his start in music at age 12, learning to play the electric guitar. He played for different bands in his early career before having his big break as a vocalist at the age of 15.

It was in 1981 that he released his first album, which slowly helped him rise to fame. His 1983 release, Cuts Like A Knife, is considered his breakout album, landing #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.

Since then, he has released several albums and hits, such as “Lonely Nights,” “Straight From The Heart,” and “Heaven.”

To date, he has sold approximately 100 million records and singles worldwide. This huge number of sales makes him one of the best-selling artists of all time. He even earned the title of the most played Canadian artist on the radio back in 2005.

With his focus on rock, pop-rock, soft rock, and arena rock genres, his ability to play multiple instruments while singing has made him a great show to see in person.

8. Joni Mitchell

Roberto Joan Mitchell Anderson, better known by her stage name Joni Mitchell, is another renowned Canadian musician.

With hit songs and heartfelt ballads in the folk, rock, jazz, and pop genres, this native from Fort Macleod, Alberta, can also play the guitar, piano, and dulcimer.

She released a number of records in the 1960s, but it was her album Blue that she’s most known for. It often comes in near the top of lists of best albums ever made. It came 3rd in Rolling Stones’ list of best albums.

Mitchell took a break between 2002 and 2006. However, this did not dull her stardom at all. After her hiatus, Mitchell decided to record her first collection of new songs to highlight political and environmental issues. 

9. Avril Lavigne

Hailed as the “Pop Punk Queen,” Avril Lavigne is a Canadian singer and songwriter who was born in 1984 in Belleville, Canada.

At a young age, Lavigne rose to stardom with her debut studio album Let Go. The famous songs like “Sk8er Boi” and “Complicated” made her a household name overnight.

Known as one of the female pioneers for bringing skate punk and pop-punk into the limelight, Lavigne has been extremely influential in driving pop music and female artists from 2000 onwards.

After taking a break from her singing career to focus on getting better from her chronic Lyme disease, Lavigne released her sixth studio album in 2019 and her seventh, Love Sux, in 2022. 

10. Justin Bieber

Among the most popular artists of today, Justin Bieber is a Canadian singer-songwriter who gained international fame from his viral videos when he was just 13 years old.

Known for his youthful voice, cute face, and charming personality, Bieber quickly rose to fame after being discovered by Scooter Braun in 2008.

Producing his first debut studio album, My World 2.0, in 2010, he was the youngest solo male act to reach the top of the US Billboard 200 charts in 47 years.

With following hit singles like “Baby,” “Where Are U Now,” and “Sorry,” Bieber continued to experience worldwide success even after he got older.

Still just 27 years old at the time of this writing, Bieber is one of the most influential Canadian musicians of his generation.

11. Drake

Aubrey Drake Graham is a Canadian actor, singer, and rapper who was born in Toronto, Ontario, in 1986.

Known by his stage name Drake, he first gained fame as an actor on Degrassi but later started releasing his hip hop, R&B, pop, trap, and pop-rap albums in the 2010s. 

Today, Drake is one of the world’s best-selling artists with 22 Hot 100 debuts in one week, four Grammy Awards, 29 Billboard Music Awards, 54 top 10 singles, 258 charted songs, and over 170 million records sold.

Among his most notable songs are “Nice For What,” “Hotline Bling,” and “Child’s Play.”

12. Leonard Cohen

Canadian Music Hall of Famer Leonard Cohen was more than just a singer. He was also a poet and novelist.

Known for bridging the gap between musical lyrics and tough topics like religion, death, loss, depression, and relationships, his meaningful words had him inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. 

Among his most popular songs are “Hallelujah,” “Suzanne,” “Sisters Of Mercy,” and “So Long, Marianne.”

Cohen wasn’t only known for his singing prowess and vocal range, but his inspiration and deep lyrics made him earn the Order of Canada, Prince of Asturias Award, and Glenn Gould Prize.

He was active for over sixty years, producing albums and writing novels between the years of 1954 and 2016 before his death in late 2016 in the US.

13. Carly Rae Jepsen

Canadian Idol third placer Carly Rae Jepsen was born in British Columbia in 1985. As a child, she had a passion for theater, and later on in life, she would become one of the most popular singer-songwriters of the pop, disco, pop-rock, and folk genres

Starting her career in 2007, she rose to instantaneous fame with the catchy 2012 single “Call Me Maybe.” This song was the best-selling single of the year and could be heard on the radio, in commercials, and in movies worldwide. 

After her breakout single, she recorded other albums and even made a Broadway debut in Cinderella.

With three Juno Awards, a Billboard Music Award, and Grammy Nominations, her catchy pop tunes have made her one of Canada’s most famous musicians. 

14. Alanis Morissette

Born in Ottawa, Ontario, in 1974, Alanis Morisette is a Canadian-American actress, songwriter, singer, and musician who was one of the most popular artists in the 1990s.

Starting her career when she was just 12 years old, Morisette is known for her ability to sing in multiple genres, such as alternative rock, post-grunge, electronica, hard rock, indie pop, pop-rock, and dance-pop.

Her hottest selling album and claim to fame was Jagged Little Pill, released in 1995, which earned her the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, 15 Tony Award nominations, and earned a spot on the Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of all time. 

To date, she is still quite active in the music industry, as well as starring in several films and TV shows.

15. Nelly Furtado

Singer-songwriter Nelly Furtado was born in Victoria, British Columbia, in 1978 to Portuguese parents.

Earning critical acclaim and success with her debut album Whoa, Nelly in 2000, she recorded two top-10 singles in her first entrance as a musical artist on the scene: “Turn Off The Light” and “I’m Like A Bird.”

After her breakout start, she continued to record pop and worldbeat music that hails from her Portuguese roots. Combining pop with hip hop, she created her next album, Loose, and so it rose to one of the best-selling albums of the 2000s. 

She also rose to fame in the Hispanic music scene with her first Spanish album Mi Plan, which was released in 2009. Overall, she has launched six albums, the last one released in 2017.

16. Feist

Leslie Feist, known as Feist for her stage pre-romance and professional work, is a Canadian indie pop singer and guitarist. She is also known as part of the Broken Social Scene band.

Active since 1991, Feist has been instrumental in her mixture of indie pop, folk, and baroque pop into various albums and hit singles.

Her first two albums were worldwide successes, with the latter The Reminder earning her four Grammy nominations, 11 Juno Awards, two artist of the Year Awards, and selling over 2.5 million copies sold worldwide. 

Among her most notable songs is “1234,” which gained popularity in 2007 when the song was used for the iPod Nano commercial. Some of her other hits include “I Feel it All,” “Still True,” and “Bittersweet Melodies.”

17. Tate McRae

Tatum Rosner McRae, known as Tate McRae, is a Canadian singer, dancer, and songwriter who rose to fame when she was just 13 years old.

After earning a finalist spot on the show “So You Think You Can Dance?” McRae showed her stardom potential and was signed to RCA Records in 2019. 

Her heart-wrenching single “You Broke Me First” became a worldwide hit overnight, earning McRae recognition from professionals and critics when she was still a teenager. 

She has since released two more albums, and belted out other hit singles such as “Chaotic,” “She’s All I Wanna Be,” and “You.”

Summing Up Our List Of Great Candian Singers

As you can see, there are numerous Canadian singers, songwriters, and musicians who are well-known in the music industry.

So whether you like pop, soft rock, jazz, or electronic music, Canada has something for everyone! 

Did we miss someone off that you think needs to be on this list? Let us know and we’ll get them added.

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Written by Dan Farrant
Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 10 years helping thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. Since then he's been working to make music theory easy for over 1 million students in over 80 countries around the world.