Six Musicians Who Have Helped Shape Canadian Music

Canadian music has diverse influences from the Indigenous Peoples, to the Irish, British and French, each contributing to the musical heritage of Canada. Our neighbours down south, the United States of America, have also influenced mainstream musical development today due to their proximity and close relations.

May 6th, 2019

The Juno Awards, Canada’s version of The Grammy’s, began in 1970 and honour outstanding achievements in the record industry. Canada’s music industry is the sixth largest in the world and has produced some incredibly talented musicians who we have been polite enough to share with the rest of the world. From legendary artists like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell to hometown BC legends like Michael Bublé and Bryan Adams, Canadian artists cross all genres, eras and provinces.

Neil Young
Canadian singer-songwriter Neil Young has made a large impact on the music industry over the last 50 years. Originally from Toronto, Ontario, this Grammy and Juno award winner started out in a band called Buffalo Springfield before going solo, with his backing band Crazy Horse. His deeply personal music, unique guitar work, and incredible voice earned him an induction into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, twice. Known for his classic hits like ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ and ‘Like a Hurricane’, Neil Young is still producing music 53 years after releasing his first album.

Joni Mitchell
Born as Roberta Joan Anderson, Joni Mitchell is one of the 20th century’s most recognizable artists with a heavy presence in folk music. Born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, she started out busking in the streets and nightclubs of Toronto, Ontario, before moving to the United States. Joni’s songs often draw inspiration from social and environmental ideals, combining sounds from folk, pop, rock and jazz influence. Her 1971 album ‘Blue’ is often cited as one of the best albums of all time. Joni Mitchell has been awarded nine Grammy Awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002, and has her own star on Canada’s Walk of Fame.

Alanis Morissette
Known for her emotive mezzo-soprano voice, Alanis Morissette is a Canadian-American singer, songwriter, record producer and actress. Originally releasing two dance albums in the early stage of her career, her third album ‘Jagged Little Pill’ earned worldwide attention for its honest and raw lyrics and rock-oriented sound. The album went on to sell over 33 million copies worldwide, making it her most critically acclaimed work to date. A seven-time Grammy Award winner and 12 time Juno Award winner, Alanis Morissette is one of Canada’s most decorated artists.

Michael Bublé
Known as the King of Christmas music, Michael Bublé was born in Burnaby, BC and dreamed at a young age of playing professional hockey for the Vancouver Canucks. In 2003, Bublé released his self-titled debut album before releasing a Christmas EP later that same year. The following year he won New Artist of the Year at the Juno Awards and was nominated for Album of the Year. Known for his chart topping hits like ‘Home’ and ‘Feeling Good’, Michael’s second holiday album ‘Christmas’ won a Juno Award for Album of the Year, making it the first holiday album to win the award. During his career he was won 14 Juno Awards and 4 Grammy Awards. In 2010, Buble was a torch bearer for the Winter Olympics held in Vancouver.

Sarah McLachlan
A Halifax native, Sarah McLachlan is a singer-songwriter known for her emotional ballads. Playing music from a very young age, she studied classical guitar, classical piano and voice at the Maritime Conservatory of Music through the curriculum of the Royal Conservatory of Music. Her fourth studio album, ‘Surfacing’, was released in 1997 and was an immediate commercial success worldwide. The album won four Juno Awards including Album of the Year and was awarded a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for ‘Building a Mystery’. Sarah McLachlan became frustrated with concert promoters and radio stations that refused to feature two female musicians in a row and created Lilith Fair in 1996. Her travelling music festival accumulated over $16 million dollars during its three year run and raised more than $10 million dollars for charity.

Bryan Adams
Canadian rock-singer Bryan Adams is best known for his 1984 album ‘Reckless’ which produced his major hits ‘Summer of 69’ and ‘Run to You’. At the age of 16, he dropped out of high school and joined a Vancouver band called Shock as a guitarist. His self-titled debut album was released in 1980, the beginning of a long songwriting partnership between Adams and co-writer Jim Vallance. Bryan has won 20 Juno Awards and 15 Grammy Awards and was awarded the Order of Canada for contributions to popular music and philanthropic work. His foundation, The Bryan Adams Foundation, improves education for people around the world. He is also a vocal animal rights activist and has been vegan for over 30 years.


In celebration of the unveiling of Canada’s first luxury live music venue at Fairmont Pacific Rim, we have launched a song search contest, Soundtrack to the Pacific Rim Life, designed to support Canada’s up and coming talent. The contestants will submit a portfolio and song search submission that illustrates the Soundtrack to the Pacific Rim Life. A winner will be chosen via a panel of Canadian music industry leaders on May 28. Learn more about the contest here.


Stay in the know of what’s hot and happening at Fairmont Pacific Rim! Discover Pacific Rim Life, our blog which is driven by art, music, fashion, wellness, culture, culinary and cocktails, all making up the DNA of the hotel and the core of Vancouver’s vibrant social scene.


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