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 Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen.
6
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: September 21, 1934
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Westmount
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.

 2 Neil Young

Neil Young.
6
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: November 12, 1945
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, 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.

 3 Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell.
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
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.  

 4 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.

 5 Bryan Adams

Bryan Adams.
4
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: November 5, 1959
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kingston, Ontario, 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.

 6 Paul Anka

Paul Anka.
4
Famous As: Singer, Songwriter
Birthdate: July 30, 1941
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ottawa, Ontario, 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.

 7 Robbie Robertson

Robbie Robertson.
3
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.

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 8 Carly Rae Jepsen

Carly Rae Jepsen.
4
Famous As: Singer, Musician, Songwriter
Birthdate: November 21, 1985
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Mission

Canadian singer, songwriter, and actress Carly Rae Jepsen has been active in show business since 2007. Interested in music from an early age, she pursued musical theatre at the Canadian College of Performing Arts. She held a series of odd jobs before getting a break as a singer and actress. She is the winner of three Juno Awards.

 9 Neil Peart

Neil Peart.
4
Famous As: Musician, Songwriter
Birthdate: September 12, 1952
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hamilton, Ontario, 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.

 10 Chad Kroeger

Chad Kroeger.
4
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.

 11 Gordon Lightfoot

Gordon Lightfoot.
4
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.

 12 Mac DeMarco

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

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.

 13 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.

 14 PartyNextDoor

PartyNextDoor.
4
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: July 3, 1993
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Mississauga, Ontario

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. 

 15 K. D. Lang

K. D. Lang.
3
Famous As: Singer, Songwriter
Birthdate: November 2, 1961
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Edmonton, Alberta, 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.

 16 Luke Macfarlane

Luke Macfarlane.
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 19, 1980
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, Ontario, Canada
Canadian actor Luke Macfarlane is best known for his performance as Scotty Wandell in Brothers & Sisters. He has appeared in countless Hallmark Christmas movies. Fans also loved him as RAC Agent D'avin Jaqobis in the sci-fi series Killjoys. He came out as gay in a newspaper interview.

 17 Gordon Downie

Gordon Downie
3
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: February 6, 1964
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Amherstview, Ontario

 18 Rufus Wainwright

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

 19 The Weeknd

The Weeknd.
11
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: February 16, 1990
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Scarborough

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.

 20 Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber.
3
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: March 1, 1994
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: London, Canada

Canadian singer and songwriter Justin Bieber was discovered via YouTube and subsequently went on to become a teen pop sensation. By age 25 he became the youngest solo artist to achieve seven number-one albums in the US. Bieber has received many accolades, including a Grammy Award. He’s also had his share of controversies and run-in with the law.

 21 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.

 22 Shania Twain

Shania Twain.
2
Famous As: Singer
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.

 23 Jessica Lowndes

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

 24 Michael Bublé

Michael Bublé.
0
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: September 9, 1975
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Burnaby, Canada

Michael Bublé is a Canadian record producer, singer, and songwriter. He gained international recognition after releasing his fourth studio album It's Time. Also known for his charity work, Michael Bublé was part of a charity concert where he pledged a donation of A$50,000 to those affected by the Black Saturday bushfires in Australia.

 25 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.”

 26 Rick Danko

Rick Danko
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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.

 27 Peaches

Peaches.
3
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: November 11, 1968
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Canadian musician Merrill Nisker was fighting thyroid cancer in 2000, when she suddenly changed her name to Peaches and worked on a phenomenal album named The Teaches of Peaches. The queer singer has gained followers for her gender-oriented lyrics and her sexual gestures during her stage performances. 

 28 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. 

 29 Ramin Karimloo

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

 30 Edison Chen

Edison Chen.
3
Famous As: Actor, Singer, Record Producer
Birthdate: October 7, 1980
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Vancouver

Known as a "bad boy" once, Canadian-born Hong Kong actor/singer Edison Chen is now a doting dad to his daughter with his Chinese model wife Qin Shupei. The actor who has appeared in films such as the Infernal Affairs trilogy, was part of a nude photo scandal back in 2008.

 31 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.

 32 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.

 33 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.

 34 Alannah Myles

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

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.

 35 Faouzia

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

 36 Karen David

Karen David
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: April 15, 1979
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Shillong, India

 37 Kiesza

Kiesza
3
Famous As: Singer songwriter
Birthdate: January 16, 1989
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 38 Daniel Lanois

Daniel Lanois
2
Famous As: Record producer
Birthdate: September 19, 1951
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hull, Gatineau, Canada

 39 Deborah Cox

Deborah Cox
2
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: July 13, 1974
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada

 40 Jann Arden

Jann Arden
2
Famous As: Street artist, Singer, Film producer, Television presenter, Actor, Writer, Singer-songwriter, Musician
Birthdate: March 27, 1962
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Calgary

 41 John Kay

John Kay
2
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: April 12, 1944
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Sovetsk, Kaliningrad, Russia

John Kay is a German-born Canadian singer, guitarist, and songwriter. He is credited with co-forming the popular American rock band Steppenwolf for which he served as the lead vocalist. He is also credited with contributing immensely to the success of the band. In 2004, he was inducted into the Canada's Walk of Fame.

 42 Lindsay Ell

Lindsay Ell
2
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 20, 1989
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Canadian country singer Lindsay Ell is best known for her Billboard-topping album The Project. Calgary-born Ell learned to play the guitar while traveling to country music camps with her father. Her hit tracks such as I Don’t Love You and What Happen In a Small Town later catapulted her to fame.

 43 Terri Clark

Terri Clark
3
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: August 5, 1968
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Terri Clark is a Canadian country music artist who is popular in both Canada and USA. Born into a family of music lovers, she began her career playing gigs at bars. Her first single was a moderate success and helped her get a footing in the music industry. She has since released numerous hit albums and has won many awards. 

 44 Hank Snow

Hank Snow
2
Famous As: Musician, Singer
Birthdate: May 9, 1914
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Brooklyn, Canada
Died: December 20, 1999

Hank Snow was a Canadian-American country music artist who had an extensive career spanning half a century. He rose to fame in the 1950s and released around 140 albums during his career. He endured extreme difficulties as a youngster and sought solace in music, eventually becoming one of the most influential artists in all of country music. 

 45 Martha Wainwright

Martha Wainwright
2
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: May 8, 1976
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Montreal

Born into a family of musicians, Canadian-American folk singer Martha Wainwright initially studied drama but later began her music career, performing at coffee-houses. She is talented songwriter, too and has performed as part of the duo known as the Wainwright Sisters, with her half-sister Lucy Wainwright Roche.

 46 Adam Cohen

Adam Cohen
2
Famous As: singer, writer, songwriter
Birthdate: September 18, 1972
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Montreal

 47 Raine Maida

Raine Maida
2
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: February 18, 1970
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

 48 Skip Spence

Skip Spence
2
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: April 18, 1946
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Windsor, Canada
Died: April 16, 1999

 49 Zalman Yanovsky

Zalman Yanovsky
2
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: December 19, 1944
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Died: December 13, 2002

 50 Brett Kissel

Brett Kissel
2
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: May 27, 1990
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Flat Lake, Alberta, Canada

Canadian country singer Brett Kissel is best known for his number one hits such as Drink About Me and A Few Good Stories. Raised on a cattle ranch in Alberta, he has often related his experience of rural life in his lyrics. He recorded his first album at 12.