Looking for some new homegrown talent to add to your Spotify playlists? Well, according to the 2023 Juno Awards, there are plenty of local musicians whose careers are on the rise right now.
The Juno Awards, which took place on Monday night at Rogers Place in Edmonton, featured all the latest and greatest Canadian acts in one place. Although the ceremony certainly had a couple of hiccups (most notably when Avril Lavigne told off a topless protester on stage), those in the music industry came together to celebrate all things music.
If you weren’t able to tune in to the live telecast (or if you’re just looking to find some new musicians to check out), you’re in luck, because we’ve put together a list of five Canadian artists who are on the rise.
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Digging Roots, who won the Juno for Contemporary Indigenous Artist or Group of the Year, have been celebrating Anishinaabe and Onkwehón:we traditions through music for more than a decade, but it looks like their career is really about to take off.
Founding husband-and-wife duo Raven Kanatakta and ShoShona Kish have released four highly-acclaimed albums to date. Their most recent record, Zhawenim (which means to love unconditionally), delicately combines psychedelic, folk, blues and soul, all through the lens of their Anishinaabe roots.
“Folks have always struggled to put a label on our music,” Kish tells SOCAN. “I’m actually happy it’s undefinable. We seem to be moving to the beat of our own drum, in the sense it’s not exactly this or that. It feels authentic and right for us.”
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Scarborough, Ont.’s own Savannah Ré won the Juno for Traditional R&B/Soul Recording of the Year for her song “Last One (feat. Dylan Sinclair).” The Canadian rhythm-and-blues artist achieved a three-peat at the 2023 Juno Awards, taking home the same award for the third year in a row, as CBC reports.
“Last One” comes from Ré’s sophomore EP, No Weapons, which her label, Universal Music Canada, describes as “a collection of unapologetic testaments created during a period of self-reflection and discovery.”
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No more sleeping on Jessie Reyez! Sure, you’ve probably heard some of the Colombian-Canadian’s biggest hits like 2017’s “FIGURES”, but Reyez’s time is now – especially after winning the Juno Award for Contemporary R&B Recording of the Year for her 2022 album, Yessie. Reyez is no stranger to Juno Awards, however, having been awarded two consecutive R&B/Soul Recording of the Year wins alongside wins for Video of the Year and Breakthrough Artist.
Yessie, which came out two years after her debut album, Before Love Came to Kill Us, is all about being honest and vulnerable. “It’s almost like I’m opening myself up, ready for life and ready for love,” Reyez tells the Toronto Star. “And before, I was always scared because I couldn’t ever control how deeply I would fall. So, by default, I couldn’t control how bad I would break.”
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Keep your eyes on Preston Pablo, the Junos’ 2023 Breakthrough Artist of the Year. The R&B/pop artist from Timmins, Ont. was actually nominated for two other awards: the TikTok Juno Fan Choice and Single of the Year.
“It fills my heart, honestly,” Pablo tells Timmins Today of the nominations, “because it’s one thing to be able to make music and to just put it out to the world, but then the world starts receiving it and you start hearing people singing your songs and you start seeing people sharing it.”
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Canadian singer-songwriter and Gen Z icon, Tate McRae, is probably already on your radar. If not, it’s time to tune into this artist, who was nominated for multiple Juno Awards, including Single of the Year for “she’s all i wanna be.” McRae, who kicked off her career on So You Think You Can Dance, quickly rose to fame after her 2017 track “One Day” went viral on YouTube and TikTok. Now, she’s writing songs with Billie Eilish and able to pursue both dance and music.
“I feel very lucky because now I’m in a position where I can dance on stage and I can write and I can sing,” McRae tells The Music. “Then, again, I can also make sure that my dancers are treated well and they’re getting to express themselves.”
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