Famous Canadian Lyricists & Songwriters

Instrumental music is good to hear and soothing to feel but can you hear it every time? Not really, for after some time, you definitely need to hear some words. That is the power that lyrics add on to music! While admiring a song, most of us give credit to the musician who came up with the unique tune or the singer who added a new dimension with his versatile sound but how many of us do recognize the effort of a lyricist? A highly creative job, lyricists or songwriters help the music rise to the next level by complementing it with some meaningful lyrics that helps convey the essence of the song. Their main job is to play with words so as to come up with lyrics suiting the song type – catchy, romantic, soulful, mourning, happy, gay, and so on. Not many know that to be a successful lyricist, one has to possess knowledge about the various music genres and styles. Just like every other country in the world, Canada has a long list of lyricists and songwriters who helped Canadian music achieve greater levels. These include Neil Young, Robbie Robertson, Leonard Cohen, Gordon Dowie, Gordon Lightfoot, Stan Rogers, Joni Mitchell and so on. Check this write-up and find out in details about the life and works of famous Canadian lyricists and songwriters.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Drake

Drake
6
Famous As: One of the Best-Selling Music Artists With the Most Top 10 Singles on the Billboard Hot 100
Birthdate: October 24, 1986
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada

Drake soared to fame with his performance as Jimmy Brooks in the series Degrassi: The Next Generation. He then became a rap sensation with his platinum album Thank Me Later and his Grammy-winning quadruple platinum album Take Care. His track In My Feelings went viral with the global Kiki Challenge.

 2 Shawn Mendes

Shawn Mendes
6
Famous As: Singer & Songwriter
Birthdate: August 8, 1998
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Pickering, Canada

Canadian pop singer Shawn Mendes is known for catchy and soulful folk-pop songs. Stitches, Treat You Better, There's Nothing Holding Me Back, In My Blood, If I Can't Have You and Senorita are some of his popular and chartbuster songs. He was named by the Time Magazine in 2018 as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

 3 Celine Dion

Celine Dion
4
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 30, 1968
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Charlemagne, Canada

Celine Dion is a Canadian singer renowned for her powerful voice. Having sold more than 200 million records worldwide, Dion is one of the best-selling singers ever. Widely regarded as one of the most influential pop singers of her generation, Celine Dion's works have inspired other popular singers, such as Christina Aguilera, Rihanna, Jennifer Hudson, Katy Perry, and Ariana Grande.

 4 Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen
10
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: September 21, 1934
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Westmount, Canada
Died: November 7, 2016

Leonard Cohen was one of the most popular Canadian celebrities of all time. After starting his career as a poet and novelist, Leonard went on to become a famous singer-songwriter, exploring themes like sexuality, religion, depression, and romantic relationships in his work. Leonard Cohen was one of the inspirations for Steven Clark and Matthew Bissonnette's 2002 film Looking for Leonard.

 5 Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell
4
Famous As: Famous for Her Studio Album 'Blue'
Birthdate: November 7, 1943
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Fort Macleod, Canada

Joni Mitchell is one of the most popular Canadian singer-songwriters. Widely regarded as one of the greatest songwriters of all time, her songs reflect her feelings about joy, romance, disillusionment, and confusion. Apart from being a musician, Joni is also a visual artist who designs most of her album covers. In fact, she calls herself a painter derailed by circumstance.  

 6 Alanis Morisette

Alanis Morisette
4
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: June 1, 1974
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ottawa, Canada

Alanis Morisette is a Canadian-American singer-songwriter and actress. Renowned for her mezzo-soprano voice, Morisette has been named by Rolling Stone as the Queen of Alt-Rock Angst. A recipient of 13 Juno Awards and seven Grammy Awards, Morisette has released several successful albums, including Jagged Little Pill, which was named in Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list.

 7 Neil Young

Neil Young
8
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: November 12, 1945
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada

One of rock and roll’s greatest songwriters and performers of all time, Neil Young has worked both solo as well with bands like Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. The Grammy award winning musician’s notable albums include After the Gold Rush, Harvest, Harvest Moon and Ragged Glory. He strongly backs environmental and disability issues too.

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 8 Bryan Adams

Bryan Adams
4
Famous As: Best Selling Pop, Pop-Rock Singer-Songwriter Of All Time
Birthdate: November 5, 1959
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kingston, Canada
Canadian rock guitarist and singer Bryan Adams, known for his cult classics Everything I Do and Summer of '69, has won 20 Juno Awards and a Grammy. The Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee is also an avid animal rights activist and a professional photographer who has held several exhibitions.

 9 Paul Anka

Paul Anka
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: July 30, 1941
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ottawa, Canada

Paul Anka is a Canadian-American actor and singer-songwriter. As a songwriter, he has contributed to the success of popular musicians, such as Tom Jones, Frank Sinatra, and Michael Jackson. He has also contributed to the theme of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Also known for his business ventures, Anka is credited with opening the popular restaurant and club, Jubilation.

 10 Nelly Furtado

Nelly Furtado
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: December 2, 1978
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Nelly Furtado is a Portuguese-Canadian record producer and singer-songwriter. Known for her constant reinvention and musical versatility, Furtado is one of the most successful musical artists from Canada, having sold more than 40 million records. Her work has also inspired fellow musicians like Dua Lipa and Bridgit Mendler. Also a philanthropist, Furtado is a member of Artists Against Racism charity.

 11 Robbie Robertson

Robbie Robertson
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Famous As: Guitarist, Producer
Birthdate: July 5, 1943
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada

Canadian musician, songwriter, and film composer Robbie Robertson became popular following his association as lead guitarist and songwriter with the rock group, The Band. He is credited for playing a key role in popularizing the Americana music genre. He also had a successful career as a solo artist. As a film composer, he has often collaborated with director Martin Scorsese.

 12 Neil Peart

Neil Peart
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Famous As: Best Known as the Drummer and Primary Lyricist of the Rock Band 'Rush'
Birthdate: September 12, 1952
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hamilton, Canada
Died: January 7, 2020

Neil Peart was a Canadian songwriter, author, and musician. Best known as the drummer of the popular rock band Rush, Peart was nicknamed The Professor for his technical proficiency. In 1983, Neil Peart became the youngest person ever to be inducted into the Modern Drummer publication's Readers Poll Hall of Fame.

 13 Kris Wu

Kris Wu
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Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: November 6, 1990
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Guangzhou, China
Chinese-Canadian actor/singer Wu Yifan, better known as Kris Wu, previously performed as part of the South Korean-Chinese boy band EXO. He has also had a successful solo career, with hits such as Good Kid, and has starred in films such as Mr. Six and XXX: Return of Xander Cage.

 14 Chad Kroeger

Chad Kroeger
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: November 15, 1974
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Hanna, Alberta, Canada
Chad Kroeger gained fame as the lead singer and guitarist of the rock band Nickelback, delivering hit singles such as How You Remind Me and topping the Canadian charts. He later co-founded the band The Suits XL and also collaborated with major artists such as Santana and Avril Lavigne.

 15 Gordon Lightfoot

Gordon Lightfoot
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Famous As: Singer, Songwriter
Birthdate: November 17, 1938
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Orillia
Canadian folk-rock sensation Gordon Meredith Lightfoot Jr. is best known for his chart-topping tracks such as If You Could Read My Mind and Ribbon of Darkness. He set the tone for the folk-pop genre in the 1960s and 1970s. The 16-time Juno-winner has earned the Governor General's Performing Arts Award.

 16 Vanity (Singer)

Vanity (Singer)
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Famous As: Lead Singer of The Female Trio 'Vanity 6' Known for Their Hit Song "Nasty Girl"
Birthdate: January 4, 1959
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Niagara Falls, Canada
Died: February 15, 2016
Canadian entertainer Denise Katherine Matthews, better known by her pseudonym, Vanity, initially gained fame as part of the girl group Vanity 6, which delivered hits such as Nasty Girl. She also released solo albums and starred in films such as Action Jackson. She died of kidney failure at 57.

 17 Mac DeMarco

Mac DeMarco
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: April 30, 1990
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Duncan, Canada

Canadian singer Mac DeMarco is best known as the pioneer of the blue wave or slacker rock type of music. He described his music as jizz jazz. A multi-instrumentalist, too, he is skilled in the guitar, the drums, and the keyboards. He is fond of vintage musical equipment.

 18 Amy Jo Johnson

Amy Jo Johnson
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 6, 1970
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dennis, Massachusetts, United States

Amy Jo Johnson is an American-Canadian filmmaker, actress, singer, and songwriter. Over the years, Johnson has been honored at several important film festivals including Long Island Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival. A multi-talented personality, Amy Jo Johnson has also directed a couple of films like Tammy's Always Dying and The Space Between.

 19 Nav

Nav
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Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: November 3, 1989
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada

Navraj Singh Goraya, popularly known as Nav, is a Canadian singer, songwriter, rapper, and record producer. He achieved recognition when his song Myself went viral in 2016. Bad Habits, his second studio album, debuted at the top position on the US Billboard 200. He has also received criticism for using the word nigga in some of his songs like TTD.

 20 Henry Lau

Henry Lau
3
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: October 11, 1989
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada

Henry Lau is a Canadian singer, songwriter, and actor. Making his debut as a member of the boy band Super Junior-M, he became a popular figure in both China and South Korea. Since then, he has launched a successful solo career as well. He branched out into acting as well and made his Hollywood debut in 2019.

 21 PartyNextDoor

PartyNextDoor
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: July 3, 1993
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Mississauga, Canada

PartyNextDoor is a Canadian rapper, singer, and record producer. He grew up listening to rappers, such as Jodeci, Boyz II Men, Blackstreet, and 112 and was inspired to pursue a career in music. His first mixtape was a moderate hit. Since then, he has released a few albums and several singles. He has been nominated for the Grammy Awards twice. 

 22 Alessia Cara

Alessia Cara
4
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: July 11, 1996
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Brampton, Canada
Canadian singer-songwriter Alessia Caracciolo is best known for her Billboard-charting hits such as Here and Scars to Your Beautiful. The Grammy-winning artist had initially gained fame through her acoustic covers on YouTube. She played a voice role in The Willoughbys. She also once claimed to be able to feel synesthesia.

 23 Sarah McLachlan

Sarah McLachlan
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 28, 1968
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Halifax Regional Municipality, Canada
Canadian singer Sarah Ann McLachlan is best known for her signature ballads and her bestselling album Surfacing. The three-time Grammy-winning and nine-time Juno-winning artist has also launched a free music school for disadvantaged youth and works against animal cruelty. She also launched the Lilith Fair, to promote female music artists.

 24 K. D. Lang

K. D. Lang
3
Famous As: Canadian Pop and Country Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: November 2, 1961
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Edmonton, Canada
Grammy-winning Canadian pop and country singer Kathryn Dawn Lang, better known as K.D. Lang, has delivered hits such as Constant Craving. She is openly lesbian and a champion for LGBT rights and animal rights. She performed at the 1988 Winter Olympics closing ceremony and the 2010 Winter Olympics opening ceremony.

 25 The Weeknd

The Weeknd
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: February 16, 1990
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada

One of the most successful Canadian recording artists, singer-songwriter, the Weeknd, holds several chart records and has won numerous awards, including three Grammy Awards. Despite a difficult childhood marred by drug abuse and violence, he persevered and worked hard to emerge as a beloved music star. He is actively involved in philanthropy.

 26 Gordon Downie

Gordon Downie
3
Famous As: Former Lead singer of rock band The Tragically Hip, a group that has received more than ten JUNO Awards
Birthdate: February 6, 1964
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Amherstview, Canada
Died: October 17, 2017

 27 Avril Lavigne

Avril Lavigne
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: September 27, 1984
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Belleville, Canada

Success came early to Canadian singer and songwriter Avril Lavigne. At fourteen, she performed with Canadian icon, Shania Twain, and at sixteen, bagged a two-album recording contract with Arista Records. Her debut album Let Go released soon, became a huge success, made her a teen idol and earned Grammy Award nominations. With subsequent albums, her popularity has only increased.

 28 Jessica Lowndes

Jessica Lowndes
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 8, 1988
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vancouver, Canada

 29 Anne Murray

Anne Murray
3
Famous As: Singer Known for her Signature song 'Snowbird'
Birthdate: June 20, 1945
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Springhill, Canada
Canadian singer Anne Murray became the first Canadian female solo artist with No. 1 tracks on the American charts and the first to get a “gold” certification. The four-time Grammy-winning artist is best known for hits such as Snowbird and is part of the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.

 30 Shania Twain

Shania Twain
2
Famous As: Singer Known for Her Album 'Come On Over'
Birthdate: August 28, 1965
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Windsor, Canada

Widely regarded as the Queen of Country Pop, Shania Twain is the best-selling female artist in the history of country music, having sold more than 100 million records worldwide. She is also one of the best-selling music artists ever. According to Billboard, Shania Twain is the 13th Greatest Music Video Female Solo Artist ever.

 31 Jessie Reyez

Jessie Reyez
3
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: June 12, 1991
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Jessie Reyez is a Canadian singer and songwriter. She started playing guitar as a child and soon began writing songs as well. She pursued a career in music after high school. Initially, she struggled a lot but was able to carve a niche for herself in a few years. She received the Juno Breakthrough Artist Award in 2018. 

 32 Adam Gontier

Adam Gontier
3
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: May 25, 1978
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
The former lead singer and guitarist of Three Days Grace, Adam Gontier is now part of the supergroup Saint Asonia. While in rehab for addiction, he wrote several songs, such as Never Too Late. An animal lover, the Canadian singer once called his dog Mabel his “first born.”

 33 Rick Danko

Rick Danko
3
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: December 29, 1943
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Norfolk County, Canada
Died: December 10, 1999

Canadian singer and The Band member Rick Danko initially performed as a rhythm guitarist and bassist for The Hawks. Part of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Danko struggled with drug addiction and was once even arrested in Japan for smuggling drugs. He died in his sleep after a performance.

 34 Leslie Cheung

Leslie Cheung
3
Famous As: Singer and Actor
Birthdate: September 12, 1956
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kowloon, Hong Kong
Died: April 1, 2003

Cantopop pioneer Leslie Cheung was born to a tailor who worked for celebrities such as Alfred Hitchcock. Educated in the U.K., he later began a singing career in Hong Kong and then moved to Canada. After an illustrious 26-year career, he committed suicide by jumping from the Mandarin Oriental hotel.

 35 Rufus Wainwright

Rufus Wainwright
3
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: July 22, 1973
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Rhinebeck Village, Rhinebeck, New York, United States

Rufus Wainwright is an American-Canadian composer, singer, and songwriter. In 1998, Wainwright was recognized as the Best New Artist by Rolling Stone magazine. Over the years, he has received several awards like Juno Awards and GLAAD Media Awards. He has also received nominations for prestigious awards like the Grammys and BRIT Awards.

 36 Ramin Karimloo

Ramin Karimloo
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 19, 1978
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Tehran, Iran

 37 Claire Elise Boucher

Claire Elise Boucher
2
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: March 17, 1988
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Vancouver, Canada

Claire Elise Boucher is a musician whose music incorporates elements of various genres like electronic, hip-hop, and R&B, which reflects her hard-partying and volatile lifestyle; she once tried sailing down the Mississippi River in a houseboat built by her and a friend before the boat was impounded. Open about her drug use in the past, Boucher now advocates against hard drugs.

 38 Bbnos

Bbnos
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Famous As: Rapper who garnered millions of plays on his SoundCloud profile
Birthdate: June 30, 1995
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Vancouver, Canada

 39 Lara Fabian

Lara Fabian
3
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 9, 1970
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Etterbeek, Belgium

Lara Fabian is a Canadian-Belgian musician, singer, songwriter, and actress. One of the best-selling Belgian music artists ever, Fabian has sold more than 20 million records all over the world. Over the course of her career, she has won many prestigious awards, such as Félix Awards and World Music Awards.

 40 Corey Hart

Corey Hart
3
Famous As: Singer, Songwriter
Birthdate: May 31, 1962
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Corey Hart is a Canadian singer-songwriter best known for his hit singles, Never Surrender and Sunglasses at Night. In a career spanning over 35 years, Hart has released successful albums like Boy in the Box which peaked at number one on the Canadian Albums Chart. He has been inducted into the Canada's Walk of Fame and Canada's Music Hall of Fame.

 41 Alissa White-Gluz

Alissa White-Gluz
3
Famous As: Vocalist
Birthdate: July 31, 1985
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

The frontwoman of the Swedish death metal band Arch Enemy, Alissa White-Gluz is also known as the co-founder of the metalcore band the Agonist. She was once known for performing in over 250 shows a year across the globe. A true-blue vegan, she has won the Libby Award from PETA.

 42 Lights

Lights
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Famous As: Canadian electropop singer-songwriter best known for singles "Ice" and "Toes."
Birthdate: April 11, 1987
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Timmins, Ontario, Canada

 43 Randy Bachman

Randy Bachman
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Famous As: Guitarist, singer, and songwriter who was a founding member of the bands The Guess Who and Bachman–Turner Overdrive
Birthdate: September 27, 1943
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Winnipeg, Canada

 44 Faouzia

Faouzia
3
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: July 5, 2000
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Casablanca, Morocco

 45 Alannah Myles

Alannah Myles
3
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: December 25, 1958
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada

Best known for her Grammy-winning and Billboard-charting single Black Velvet, written in memory of Elvis Presley, Alannah Myles is the daughter of legendary Canadian broadcaster William Douglas Byles. She was later seen in Eurovision and also sang the Canadian national anthem at Toronto All-Star Game in 1991.

 46 Daniel Caesar

Daniel Caesar
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Famous As: Singer, Musician
Birthdate: April 5, 1995
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

 47 Belly

Belly
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Famous As: Rapper, Songwriter, and record producer.
Birthdate: April 7, 1984
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Jenin, Palestine

 48 Jonny Craig

Jonny Craig
3
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, best known as the former lead vocalist of bands Dance Gavin Dance, Emarosa, and Slaves
Birthdate: March 26, 1986
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Minot, North Dakota, United States

 49 Tablo

Tablo
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Famous As: Best Known as The Leader and Producer of Veteran Korean Hip-Hop Group 'Epik High'
Birthdate: July 22, 1980
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Seoul, South Korea

Tablo is a Korean-Canadian composer, record producer, lyricist, and hip hop recording artist. He is best known for being the producer and leader of the popular alternative hip hop group, Epik High. He is also credited with founding High Ground, an independent music label, which housed bands like The Black Skirts and Hyukoh.

 50 Jian Ghomeshi

Jian Ghomeshi
3
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: June 9, 1967
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England, UK

Multi-dimensional Persian-Canadian musical artist and broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi is best known for his CBC show Q. Part of the folk-rock group Moxy Früvous, he has also launched a few podcasts. He was dragged into a sexual assault controversy, involving multiple charges, but was later acquitted of all charges.