Canada has always had a way of providing the world with leaders in the music industry.  The real “Made in Canada” Music brand is built on intelligent writing and dedicated musicians who never stop working to spread their stories across Canada and around the world. When you look at our senior musical statesmen – Rush, Leonard Cohen and Neil Young – all who are still going strong writing and performing after decades of touring, it is a demonstration of staying power of the true north strong and free.  And with bands like Arcade Fire, f__ked up, Drake, deadmou5 and Fiest currently burning up stages, it is great to know that the next league of Canadian musicians waving that “Made in Canada” music brand are set and moving forward.

As airwaves are clogged by over produced digital dance drone, the time has never been better for the resurrection of the age of the Canadian sing songwriters. Here are five solid reasons why real Canadian music is going strong:
• City & Colour
• Kathleen Edwards
• Hey Rosetta
• Hollerado
• the Pack a.d.

City and Colour
City and Colour is former Alexisonfire singer, Dallas Green’s folk music project that has become a main stay on all high school and college students playlists across Canada and the US. His music and storytelling skills have Dallas being referred to as the “new Neil Young”. And after meeting him and taking in his sold out September show in Toronto, I began to understand the references. Dallas is a kind and emotional musician who has the ability to bring 20,000 fanatic fans to a hush, by asking them to silence their iPhones and cameras, and to actually listen and share the experience of being in the moment for one song. It was at that point that I caught his brilliance as a songwriting and a performer. Another example of the power of Dallas Green is the fact that his songs have high school girls learning to play guitar and that is just another reason why I believe City and Colour are destine to lead the Canadian music brand.

Here is the City and Colour classic The Girl:


Kathleen Edwards
Kathleen Edwards has been making her mark as a brilliant singer songwriter since the debut of her first album Failure in 2003, and this year’s Voyageur release is a must have for any collection.  With intelligent lyrics and flawless musical production it is no wonder that Voyageur was up for the Polaris Music award for album of the year. Her songs are epic tales that take on any subject and deliver pop sensible hooks that will linger. Kathleen has the musical power to continue to move Canadian music around the world.

Kathleen Edwards performing “Change the Sheets” live with Hannah Georges on backing vocals.


Hey Rosetta
Hey Rosetta is the six piece band from St John’s Newfoundland that have been nominated twice for the Polaris Music Award. Their ability to blend lush sounds of violins, cellos and piano with an infectious groove combined with the amazing smooth vocals of Tim Baker makes this powerhouse band a natural candidate for flag bearers of the Canadian musical brand. Hey Rosetta is a talented East Coast band know for superior writing, production and live performances.

Check out Yer Spring for a taste of  what Hey Rosetta is all about


Since first meeting the Hollerado crew in 2008 , I have been watching them build their fan base one fan at a time… and it is hard to believe that they are not a household name yet. This four-piece band has to be one of the hardest working bands in world and they love what they do. A fun and exciting group of friends that write high energy pop songs filled with hooks and memorable melodies. Their live shows are giant Hollerado love ins with total audience participation and so much fun… after catching there sold out Opera House show at the end of the 2011 tour it took days to wipe the smile off my face. Hollerado is the band that in 30 years you’ll be dancing to at some friends kid’s wedding… they are the real deal and already waving the Canadian music brand around the world.

For an intro to Hollerado check out their incredible video for Americanarama


The Pack a.d.
The Pack a.d. are a two-piece garage rock dynamo out of Vancouver who have been putting the world on end since 2006. With signer/songwriter/guitarist Becky Black and Maya Miller on drums and punch-lines, these girls take no prisoners. Machine gun like chops hammered over a solid back beat, the Pack a.d. is excitement plus and put most four piece bands to shame. If music were a race the Pack a.d. would finish first and burn the bridges… doing Canada and the west coast proud… you got to love them.

The Pack a.d. video for “Haunted”

And thanks to all of the true innovators like Sloan, Blue Rodeo, the Tragically Hip, the Viletones, Teenage Head and Rheostatics, to just mention a few,  who paved the pathway – the future of the “Made in Canada” music brand looks bright.


Grant Ivens, RGD
brand surgeon | rocket scientist
Say What! Communications Corp.
116A Main St North, Markham, ON, Canada L3P 1X8
T 905.752.3110