Turning your Playlists Red and White: Spotlighting Canadian Musicians

Posted on March 28, 2022

I seem to be very fond of lists and recommendations so here’s another one for you. If you know me, you know I love music and I love looking for music from everywhere in the world but there is a certain level of joy in finding incredible artists from your own home so without further ado- here’s a list of some of my favourite Canadian musicians and song recommendations you can (and should) add to your playlists. 


Image Credit: Wikipedia

Ahh Gowan, a classic Canadian artist but still so underrated. I love his voice so much and the dated 80s synths and instrumentals feel like a warm hug when paired with it. “A Criminal Mind” has been a staple in my playlists for over 8 years at this point and is always my first recommendation but all his classics are so good like “Moonlight Desires” or “City Of the Angels.” There’s this lovable cheesiness to his music, characteristic of the time- (I mean just look at his hair)- that just makes you happy when you listen in. I would put any of his songs on a summer playlist and just sit back and feel happy for a while. 


Image Credit: Nikamowin

This sister duo combines traditional Inuit throat singing with hip hop beats, eerie melodies, and backing vocals to create enchanting instrumental tracks. Their music has an otherworldly quality that almost sounds like what I imagine sirens to be, hauntingly dark but so incredibly captivating. I recommend their song “Kuugarjuk: Creek” as a good introduction. It’s a little less spooky sounding than some of their other melodies and has a really cool vocal melody for the chorus. From there go to “Ahiani: Elsewhere” or Arctic Hallows.” These songs will genuinely transport you into that siren scene from Sinbad. Overall, their sound is like nothing I’ve ever heard before so I highly recommend giving them a listen.

Andy Shauf

Image Credit: YouTube 

So I’m kind of obsessed with Andy Shauf. I’ve known about him and casually listened to his music for a while but in writing this I explored his work deeper and I am so glad I did. His vocal style is so interesting and a touch bizarre – it almost sounds as if he’s mumbling or squishing his face against the mic, or like the corners of his lips have been sewn shut. This is all to say there’s this very beautiful reserved quality to his voice that is so inviting and comforting to listen to but adds so much to the often melancholic tone of his music. I highly recommend his album The Party if you like storytelling in music as much as I do. It’s a concept album that chronicles what is possibly the worst party ever, filled with love triangles, unreciprocated feelings, and messy drunk speeches. Seeking out the connections between songs and characters is so satisfying, it’s like the Taylor Swift “Betty”, “Cardigan”, and “August” trilogy but taken to 1000. I would check out “To You” or “Twist Your Ankle” as a start.  He also tends to have really cool music videos so check those out too.

Half Moon Run

Image Credit: Half Moon Run

I love Half Moon Run and I genuinely did not know they were Canadian until I was writing this so I guess all the more reason to love them. I discovered them last year and instantly found playlist staples in “Favorite Boy,” “Nerve,” and “Need It,” so I would, of course, recommend starting with any of these. Their music is indie rock and it’s brought to life by their incredible ability to build up the melodies and layer sound to what I can only describe as gentle crescendos that just wash over your whole soul- no I’m not being dramatic. Listen to “Need It” in the car at night and you will be changed forever. I can also imagine a nighttime summer campfire scene in a coming-of-age movie being scored by their discography so if that’s appealing to you then give them a listen. 

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