Famous Canadian Lyricists & Songwriters

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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.
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 1 
Joni Mitchell
(Famous for Her Studio Album 'Blue')
Joni Mitchell
8
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.  

 2 
Leonard Cohen
(One of the Most Accomplished Canadian Folk-Rock Singer-Songwriters of His Generation)
Leonard Cohen
11
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.

 3 
Shawn Mendes
(Pop Singer & Songwriter Known for His Debut Studio Album 'Handwritten')
Shawn Mendes
8
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.

 4 
Alanis Morisette
(Singer-Songwriter)
Alanis Morisette
5
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 
Drake
(One of the Best-Selling Music Artists With the Most Top 10 Singles on the Billboard Hot 100)
Drake
10
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.

 6 
Neil Young
(Rock Singer-Songwriter Famous As The 'Godfather of Grunge')
Neil Young
8
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.

 7 
Bryan Adams
(Best Selling Pop, Pop-Rock Singer-Songwriter Of All Time)
Bryan Adams
4
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.
 8 
Paul Anka
(Known for His Signature Hit Songs "Diana", "Lonely Boy", "Put Your Head on My Shoulder")
Paul Anka
4
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.

 9 
Nelly Furtado
(Canadian Singer and Songwriter Known for Her Singles: ‘I'm Like a Bird’ and ‘Turn Off the Light’)
Nelly Furtado
4
Birthdate: December 2, 1978
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Victoria, 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.

 10 
Robbie Robertson
(Guitarist, Producer)
Robbie Robertson
3
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.

 11 
Neil Peart
(Best Known as the Drummer and Primary Lyricist of the Rock Band 'Rush')
Neil Peart
4
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.

 12 
Chad Kroeger
(Musician)
Chad Kroeger
4
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.
 13 
Gordon Lightfoot
(Singer, Songwriter)
Gordon Lightfoot
4
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.
 14 
Kris Wu
(Rapper)
Kris Wu
4
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.
 15 
Vanity (Singer)
(Lead Singer of The Female Trio 'Vanity 6' Known for Their Hit Song "Nasty Girl")
Vanity (Singer)
5
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.
 16 
Mac DeMarco
(Canadian Singer-Songwriter, Multi-Instrumentalist and Producer)
Mac DeMarco
4
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.

 17 
Nav
(Canadian Hip-Hop Artist Known for His Silky Vocals & Slick Beats)
Nav
3
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.

 18 
Henry Lau
(Former Member of the Chinese Boy Band "Super Junior-M")
Henry Lau
3
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.

 19 
Sarah McLachlan
(Singer-Songwriter Known for Her Best-Selling Album “Surfacing”)
Sarah McLachlan
3
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.
 20 
PartyNextDoor
(Singer-Songwriter Known for His Albums ‘PartyNextDoor ‘ and ‘PNDColours’)
PartyNextDoor
4
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. 

 21 
Geddy Lee
(Lead Vocalist, Bassist and Keyboardist for the Canadian Rock Group 'Rush')
Geddy Lee
3
Birthdate: July 29, 1953
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Willowdale, Toronto, Canada
Canadian singer Geddy Lee soared to fame as the lead vocalist, keyboardist, and bassist of the rock band Rush. He and his bandmates of Rush were the first to win the Officer of the Order of Canada as a group. He also released a solo album, My Favourite Headache.
 22 
K. D. Lang
(Canadian Pop and Country Singer-Songwriter)
K. D. Lang
3
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.
 23 
The Weeknd
(Best Known for Singles "Can't Feel My Face" and "The Hills")
The Weeknd
11
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.

 24 
Anne Murray
(The First Canadian Female Solo Singer to Reach No. 1 on the U.S. Charts)
Anne Murray
3
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.
 25 
Gordon Downie
(Former Lead singer of rock band The Tragically Hip, a group that has received more than ten JUNO Awards)
Gordon Downie
3
Birthdate: February 6, 1964
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Amherstview, Canada
Died: October 17, 2017
 26 
Jessica Lowndes
3
Birthdate: November 8, 1988
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vancouver, Canada
 27 
Avril Lavigne
(Best Known for Album 'Let Go', The Best Selling Album of the 21st Century by a Canadian Artist)
Avril Lavigne
7
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 
Shania Twain
(Singer Known for Her Album 'Come On Over')
Shania Twain
2
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.

 29 
Jessie Reyez
(Singer-songwriter)
Jessie Reyez
3
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. 

 30 
Adam Gontier
(Singer)
Adam Gontier
3
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.”
 31 
Leslie Cheung
(Singer and Actor)
Leslie Cheung
3
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.

 32 
Rufus Wainwright
(Opera Singer & Son of Musicians Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle)
Rufus Wainwright
3
Birthdate: July 22, 1973
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: 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.

 33 
Daniel Caesar
(Singer, Musician)
Daniel Caesar
0
Birthdate: April 5, 1995
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
 34 
Claire Elise Boucher
(Pop Singer-Songwriter Known for Her Album 'Visions')
Claire Elise Boucher
2
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.

 35 
Bbnos
(Rapper who garnered millions of plays on his SoundCloud profile)
Bbnos
0
Birthdate: June 30, 1995
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Vancouver, Canada
 36 
Lara Fabian
(One of the Best-Selling Belgian Female Artists of All Time)
Lara Fabian
3
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.

 37 
Corey Hart
(Pop Singer Known for His Hit Singles 'Sunglasses at Night' and 'Never Surrender')
Corey Hart
3
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.

 38 
Randy Bachman
(Guitarist, singer, and songwriter who was a founding member of the bands The Guess Who and Bachman–Turner Overdrive)
Randy Bachman
3
Birthdate: September 27, 1943
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Winnipeg, Canada
 39 
Belly
(Rapper, Songwriter, and record producer.)
Belly
3
Birthdate: April 7, 1984
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Jenin, Palestine
 40 
Faouzia
(Singer-songwriter)
Faouzia
3
Birthdate: July 5, 2000
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Casablanca, Morocco
 41 
Lights
(Canadian electropop singer-songwriter best known for singles "Ice" and "Toes.")
Lights
3
Birthdate: April 11, 1987
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Timmins, Ontario, Canada
 42 
Alannah Myles
(Canadian Singer-Songwriter and Actress Known for Her Song ‘Black Velvet’)
Alannah Myles
3
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.

 43 
Ramin Karimloo
3
Birthdate: September 19, 1978
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Tehran, Iran
 44 
Jonny Craig
(Singer-songwriter, best known as the former lead vocalist of bands Dance Gavin Dance, Emarosa, and Slaves)
Jonny Craig
3
Birthdate: March 26, 1986
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Minot, North Dakota, United States
 45 
Anjulie Persaud
(Canadian Singer and Songwriter Best Known for Her Self-Titled Studio Album 'Anjulie')
Anjulie Persaud
3
Birthdate: May 21, 1983
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Oakville, Canada

Anjulie Persaud is a Canadian songwriter and singer best known for her collaboration with popular artists like Nicki Minaj, Diplo, Kelly Clarkson, Benny Benassi, and Zedd among others. Anjulie's music has been featured on popular networks, such as HBO, MTV, and NBC. In 2013, she received the Juno Award for Dance Recording of the Year.

 46 
Raffi
(known for his children's music)
Raffi
3
Birthdate: July 8, 1948
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cairo, Egypt
 47 
Tablo
(Best Known as The Leader and Producer of Veteran Korean Hip-Hop Group 'Epik High')
Tablo
0
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.

 48 
Jian Ghomeshi
(Singer and Radio Personality Who Was a Member of the Satirical Band Moxy Früvous)
Jian Ghomeshi
3
Birthdate: June 9, 1967
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England

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.

 49 
Feist
(Singer-songwriter)
Feist
3
Birthdate: February 13, 1976
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Amherst, Nova Scotia, Canada
 50 
Loreena McKennitt
(Singer-Songwriter Known for Her Refined and Clear Soprano Vocals)
Loreena McKennitt
3
Birthdate: February 17, 1957
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Morden, Canada

Loreena McKennitt is a Canadian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Her music is infused with Celtic and Middle Eastern influences. As a singer, she is known for her refined and clear soprano vocals. She has sold over 14 million records worldwide and is the recipient of several awards, including the Western Canadian Music Awards’ Lifetime Achievement Award.