Music Artist From Canada – The musician best known for folk-pop hits like If You Could Read My Mind and The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald continued to tour in his later years.
Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot, known for pop hits like If You Could Read My Mind and The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, has died at the age of 84, his family said.
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Once called a “rare talent” by Bob Dylan, dozens of artists have covered Lightfoot’s work, including Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand, Harry Belafonte, Johnny Cash, Anne Murray, Jane’s Addiction and Sarah McLachlan.
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Most of his songs were deeply autobiographical. His 1975 poem The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald recounted the disappearance of an ore freighter from the Great Lakes, and the 1966 Canadian Railroad Trilogy described the railroad’s construction.
“I just write songs about where I am and where I come from,” he said. “I take situations and write songs about them.”
Often described as a poetic storyteller, Lightfoot is acutely aware of his cultural influence. It was a role he took seriously.
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“I like to stay there and be part of the totem pole and take care of the responsibilities that I have acquired over the years,” he said in a 2001 interview.
Lightfoot began singing in his church choir and dreamed of becoming a jazz musician. At age 13, he won a talent contest at the Kiwanis Music Festival, held at Toronto’s Massey Hall.
“I remember the thrill of being in front of the crowd,” Lightfoot said in an interview in 2018. “It was a springboard for me.”
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He played his first guitar in 1956 and began dabbling in songwriting in the following months.
At 18, he went to the United States to study music for a year. But life in Hollywood didn’t suit him, and it wasn’t long before Lightfoot returned to Canada. He committed to moving to Toronto to pursue his musical ambitions, taking any available job, including a position in a bank.
In 1964, he was getting positive word of mouth around town and audiences began to gather in increasing numbers. The following year, Lightfoot’s song “I’m Not Saying” was a hit in Canada, which helped spread his name in the United States.
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When the folk music boom came to an end in the late 1960s, Lightfoot was already making his transition to pop. In 1971, he made his first appearance on the Billboard chart with If You Could Read My Mind. It reached number 5 and spawned a number of covers.
Lightfoot’s popularity peaked in the mid-1970s, when both his single and album Sundown topped the Billboard charts, his first and only time to do so.
Lightfoot suffered from various health problems throughout his career, including Bell’s palsy, alcoholism and a ruptured stomach artery that put him in a coma for six weeks in 2002.
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In 1986, he was inducted into the Canadian Recording Industry Hall of Fame, now the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. He received the Governor General’s Award in 1997 and was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001. Singer, songwriter and activist Logan States has returned to his roots to preserve medicine in his music. (Trung Hoang)
From a Juno-nominated drummer, singer and songwriter who introduced Plains Cree music to new generations to an emerging artist bringing Indigenous perspectives to electro-pop, Music celebrates National Indigenous Peoples Day with six musicians you need to know in 2022.
Logan Staats is one of those artists and activists who has a fire in his heart that never goes out, even in his darkest moments. She shines and burns in many ways: the creative spark in her stories and songs, the smoke of her voice, and the burning conviction of her activism.
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Staats, who is Six Nations Mohawk, has been active on the ground with fellow land advocates on Wet’suwet’en territory protesting the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline. He was arrested on November 18, 2021 during an RCMP raid, which Staats described in a statement:
“During that attack they punched me in the ear. My head hit the frozen pavement by my braids. And they wrapped around my spine and held me while I was handcuffed and bleeding…all after I was just peacefully singing our water song and embrace/protect a 70-year-old matriarch. I was taken to prison along with my sister, Layla Black, other country advocates, elders, and members of the press. With the support of my community and the people of Gathering among the Nations, I have been set free and I have remained steadfast and committed to defending this country from sea to sea across Turtle Island.”
, a televised music competition. After spending time in Nashville and Los Angeles, Staats made the decision to return to the Six Nations and reconnect with himself. “I wanted to bring my songwriting back to medicine in music, to medicine in recovery,” Staats explains in his biography.
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“I wrote ‘Deadman’ while I was in rehab,” Staats said in a press release. “It’s not about a girl; culture is the love I’m asking for. Love for myself. They stole that – the government, the crown, the church. When I sing “Give me back my love.” , “I” I Talk about my culture, my pride and my love for me.
, to rave reviews and critical acclaim. Just over a year later, they are reportedly already putting the finishing touches on their follow-up album,
But instead of releasing the record in 2018, Simpson found himself artistically pulling in multiple directions. In 2020, Simpson, who is Michi Saagiig Nishnaabe and a member of Alderville First Nation, launched Gizhiiwe, an Indigenous-owned record label. They composed the score for the 2021 documentary Spirit to Soar by co-directors Tanya Talaga and Michelle Derosier. Ansley also collaborated with her sister Leanne Betasamosake Simpson on her 2021 Polaris Award nominated record.
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“When I first started, it wasn’t easy,” Simpson told The Rumpus in 2018. “I had this idea that when you sit down to write a song it just comes to you, and that’s what songwriters are: people you know . just sit down and write a song, I realized that’s not the case. It was really encouraging to hear other songwriters talk about how hard they struggle, how it can take a year or two to finish a song .”
Ruby Waters made her stage debut at just four years old. It was a summer fair, and the singer, who is of mixed race and Slovakian, immediately took the stage, together with her mother, on a translation of “Hail Mary”.
Twenty years later, Waters’ mother remains a source of inspiration for her, although she is more of a country artist, while Waters’ music spans more of a spectrum of alternative, pop, soul and electro-lo-fi.
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“My mom just has a really soulful voice and I like to put soul into everything,” Waters told Billboard. “It opens up an opportunity to do all genres.”
Waters’ eagerness to experiment sonically is part of what has made her a hit—millions of plays and fans—on TikTok, Reddit, and many other streaming and social platforms. She was even nominated for the 2022 Juno Award for Alternative Album of the Year for her second EP.
. But it’s not just the cross-genre ripples that Waters leaves in his wake; These are also the raw, ironic and painfully real moments he shares in the stories of his songs.
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“I channel a lot of inner pain in my music,” Waters told DiandraReviewsItAll.com. But then she laughed. “Not to sound dramatic! For once I’m channeling some kind of pain into a song, free from that pain. Definitely freed.”
Fans can expect more vicarious catharsis and great music soon. Waters’ third EP is expected later this year.
, the final EP of his four-part Da Vinci Chronicles project. The artist, who is Mi’kmaq from the Pabineau First Nation in New Brunswick and whose real name is Tristan Grant, also won his first Music New Brunswick award after years of nominations. Grant has now partnered with Music New Brunswick to create the NB Indigenous Artist Development Scholarship in order to open doors for her peers. In other words, it was a huge year for the young rapper.
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“My uncle was a rapper, Red Suga, and my mom was a rapper, Mo3,” Grant told Nex Mag. “She released an album in 2008 and was my uncle’s hype man.”
Grant’s mom encouraged him to make his own beats, his uncle helped teach him how to write songs, and his cousin Talon the Rez Kid Wonder helped him better understand production, mastering, and mixing.
“I just have this thing in me that wants to fight all the oppression and show the world that they’re not going to keep us down,” Grant told Music. “Let’s move on. And maybe I could become an environmentalist or an activist in another way. But that’s what I’m good at. So that’s what I do.”
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(2021), after all. But the best artists know that sorrow is not one
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