My Canadian cousin is gonna get mad at me for saying this, but I’ve never considered Canada to be a formidable force in music. Sure we’ve been exposed to the likes of Bryan Adams, Alanis Morisette and err, Snow, but I’d be pretty hard pressed to think of any other Canadian singers/rappers who have really made their mark on the world stage. Until now that is. Who would've thunk that the two main artists creating a buzz on the scene right now both hail from the land of maple syrup.
First up is Melanie Fiona, a stunning soul chanteuse of Guyanese heritage, born and raised in inner city Toronto. A couple of months ago I would continuously hear her debut single 'Give it to me Right' being played on BBC 1-Xtra and would find myself humming along. Rich refers to her as a 'Black Duffy', and I kinda hear where he is coming from with that. But I quite like the juxtaposition of her soulful vocals with the slightly alternative Carlos Santana-esq musical accompaniment. Mel is signed to Island Records and will release her debut album later this month.
Next up is the rapper-slash-singer, Drake. I’ll admit I’m not as bowled over by Drake* as Melanie Fiona, but the rest of the hip hop world appears to be. Over the last month or so his name has been all the all over the social networking sites like the piggy flu pandemic. I naturally assumed that he was from the US, my guess being maybe one of the boroughs in NY. But I was wrong. Turns out that young Drake is also from Toronto. According to Wilki he is a mere 22 years young and initially started out as an actor before catching the music bug. A few mix tapes and guest appearances later, and Drake is now working with everybody from Kanye to Lil Wayne and Jay Z.
I stand duly humbled folks. Never let it be said that Canada doesn’t have talent. If there are any Canadians out there reading this, please feel free to set the record straight. Is there a hotbed of talent out there that just doesn't receive the recognition? Are you tired of being overshadowed by your American cousins? Could you throttle Snow for going world-wide with that 'Licky boom boom down' nonsense?
* I now get the hype. I've heard the Drake track 'Best I Ever Had' a few times now and absolutely love it.