Famous Canadian Musicians

Canada has been inhabited by the aborigines, French and English and their culture is an amalgamation of the three. Similar to their culture and traditions, the Canadian music is also influenced by the three communities. Each aboriginal community had developed a distinct style of music but the Chanting tradition which used a variety of hand-made instruments became quite popular. Eventually as the French colonies began to settle in the country, the music evolved to incorporate the classic fiddle playing style and the musicians began to use instruments such as violins, guitars, drums, flutes and trumpets. After the great depression the music moved towards a more popular culture and thus came into being Canadian jazz and Canadian rock. Pianist Oscar Peterson and singer Hank Snow were some of the greatest musicians of that era. The country has also produced some great rock musicians like Neil young and Leonard Cohen. The great legacy of the country’s music is carried forward by the musicians like Bryan Adams, Nelly Furtado, Shania Twain and Celine Dion. Here we present to you a collection of biographies on some of most the famous Canadian musicians. Read on to know more about their life stories, timeline and achievements. You will also find some interesting facts and trivia about these personalities.

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 Alanis Morisette

Alanis Morisette
9
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.

 2 Bryan Adams

Bryan Adams
9
Famous As: Singer
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.

 3 Neil Young

Neil Young
18
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.

 4 Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen
13
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.

 5 Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell
10
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: November 7, 1943
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: 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 Drake

Drake
8
Famous As: Rapper
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.

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 7 Shawn Mendes

Shawn Mendes
32
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.

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 8 Neil Peart

Neil Peart
4
Famous As: Musician, Songwriter
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.

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 9 William Shatner

William Shatner
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 22, 1931
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Montreal, Canada

Canadian actor, William Shatner, is best known for his roles in the television series Boston Legal, a legal drama for which he won two Emmy Awards and Star Trek, a science fiction adventure. He has also worked in many other sitcoms and films and has authored a number of science fiction novels. He is a singer and a spoken-word artist too.

 10 Rick Moranis

Rick Moranis
4
Famous As: Actor, Comedian
Birthdate: April 18, 1953
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada

Rick Moranis is one of the most popular Canadian artists to make it big in the American film industry. Best known for playing father characters in children's films like Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Rick proved to be a great father off-screen as he took a long break from his career to take care of his children, after the death of his wife.

 11 Chris Jericho

Chris Jericho
6
Famous As: Professional wrestler
Birthdate: November 9, 1970
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Manhasset, New York, United States

Chris Jericho is a professional wrestler, entrepreneur, actor, and musician. Widely regarded as one of the greatest pro wrestlers ever, Jericho is also one of the most recognized WWE superstars in the history of the wrestling promotion. Apart from wrestling, Jericho is a also famous singer, currently serving as the lead singer for Fozzy, a heavy metal band.

 12 Paul Anka

Paul Anka
4
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.

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 13 Robbie Robertson

Robbie Robertson
4
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.

 14 Geddy Lee

Geddy Lee
4
Famous As: Singer, Musician
Birthdate: July 29, 1953
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: 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.
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 15 David Foster

David Foster
10
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: November 1, 1949
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Canadian musician, composer, and arranger David Foster is a prominent figure in the international music scene and has worked with the likes of  Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Lopez, and Madonna. The winner of 16 Grammy Awards, he has also been nominated for the Academy Awards thrice. He launched the David Foster Foundation to help sick children.

 16 K. D. Lang

K. D. Lang
4
Famous As: 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.

 17 Alan Thicke

Alan Thicke
8
Famous As: Film actor, Composer
Birthdate: March 1, 1947
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Canada
Died: December 13, 2016

Best known for his star role in the television sitcom Growing Pains, Alan Thicke was a Canadian actor, songwriter and television host, who began his career as a series regular in It's Our Stuff, eventually appearing in numerous films and television productions. Also a popular game and talk show host, he patronized many NGOs including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

 18 Carly Rae Jepsen

Carly Rae Jepsen
9
Famous As: Singer, Songwriter
Birthdate: November 21, 1985
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Mission, Canada

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.

 19 Kris Wu

Kris Wu
4
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.

 20 Vanity (Singer)

Vanity (Singer)
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
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.

 21 Gordon Lightfoot

Gordon Lightfoot
6
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.

 22 Deadmau5

Deadmau5
7
Famous As: DJ
Birthdate: January 5, 1981
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Niagara Falls, Canada
Six-time Grammy-nominated Canadian electronic music artist and DJ Joel Thomas Zimmerman, better known as Deadmau5, soared to fame with his house music albums. He gained recognition for his collaborations with Steve Duda as part of the groups WTF? and BSOD. He also produced techno music under the pseudonym Testpilot.

 23 The Weeknd

The Weeknd
33
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.

 24 Diana Krall

Diana Krall
4
Famous As: Jazz Pianist
Birthdate: November 16, 1964
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Nanaimo, British Columbia

Diana Krall is a Canadian jazz singer and pianist. With several gold and multi-platinum albums under her belt, Krall is regarded as one of the best-selling artists of her generation. In 2009, Billboard called her the second-greatest jazz artist of the 2000–09 decade. In 2004, she was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame.

 25 Gordon Downie

Gordon Downie
5
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: February 6, 1964
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Amherstview, Ontario

 26 Mac DeMarco

Mac DeMarco
5
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.

 27 Amy Jo Johnson

Amy Jo Johnson
5
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.

 28 Alex Lifeson

Alex Lifeson
5
Famous As: Musician. songwriter and record producer
Birthdate: August 27, 1953
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Fernie, Canada

Alex Lifeson is a Canadian songwriter, musician, and record producer. He co-founded the progressive rock band Rush and serves as its guitarist. He plays electric and acoustic guitars and can also play other string instruments, such as mandola, mandolin, and bouzouki. Besides music, he is a licensed aircraft pilot and an actor. He has appeared in some TV shows. 

 29 Anne Murray

Anne Murray
3
Famous As: Singer
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 Chad Kroeger

Chad Kroeger
10
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.

 31 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.

 32 Sarah McLachlan

Sarah McLachlan
4
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.

 33 PartyNextDoor

PartyNextDoor
5
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. 

 34 Glenn Gould

Glenn Gould
4
Famous As: Pianist
Birthdate: September 25, 1932
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada
Died: October 4, 1982

Glenn Gould was a Canadian classical pianist, counted among the most celebrated pianists of the 20th century. He was also an interpreter of the keyboard works of Johann Sebastian Bach. He was known for his remarkable technical proficiency and unorthodox musical interpretations. He was a writer and composer as well. The Glenn Gould Foundation was established in his honor.   

 35 René Angélil

René Angélil
5
Famous As: Record Producers
Birthdate: January 16, 1942
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Montréal, Québec, Canada
Died: January 14, 2016

René Angélil is best remembered as singer Céline Dion’s manager and, later, husband. Born to Syrian immigrants in Canada, he grew up to be a talent manager and music producer. He met Dion when she was 12 and he was 38, and began dating her when she was 20.

 36 Paul Rodgers

Paul Rodgers
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Musician
Birthdate: December 17, 1949
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Middlesbrough, England

Paul Rodgers is a British singer, multi-instrumentalist, and songwriter. Over the years, Rodgers has performed with popular bands like Bad Company, Free, and Queen. Rodgers, who has influenced several notable rock singers, was honored with the prestigious Ivor Novello Award in 2011. He has also been named in Rolling Stone magazine's list of 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.

 37 Tate McRae

Tate McRae
4
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter, Dancer
Birthdate: July 1, 2003
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Calgary, Canada

Tate McRae became a budding pop star even before she graduated. She started her musical journey at the age of thirteen and since then there has been no stopping. She hogged the limelight for her song One Day. She topped TikTok and Billboard with her single, You Broke Me First. She has also choreographed rseveral music videos and television shows.

 38 Deryck Whibley

Deryck Whibley
5
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 21, 1980
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Scarborough
Canadian singer Deryck Whibley, or Bizzy D, is best known as the lead vocalist, guitarist, and keyboardist of the rock band Sum 41. He made headlines for his marriage with Avril Lavigne and their subsequent split. He later launched a solo career and appeared in the movie Dirty Love.

 39 Avril Lavigne

Avril Lavigne
12
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.

 40 Jessica Lowndes

Jessica Lowndes
5
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 8, 1988
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vancouver, Canada

 41 Paul Shaffer

Paul Shaffer
4
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: November 28, 1949
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

Best known as the band leader in Late Night with David Letterman and the Late Show with David Letterman, Paul Shaffer is a Grammy Award-winning Canadian multi-instrumentalist and singer. He co-wrote the 1980s’ hit It's Raining Men sung by the Weather Girls and later revived by Geri Halliwell.

 42 Michael Bublé

Michael Bublé
3
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.

 43 Denny Doherty

Denny Doherty
4
Famous As: Singer, Actor
Birthdate: November 19, 1941
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Died: January 19, 2007

 44 Shania Twain

Shania Twain
3
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.

 45 Rick Genest

Rick Genest
5
Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: August 7, 1985
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Châteauguay, Quebec, Canada
Died: August 1, 2018

Rick Genest was a Canadian artist, fashion model, actor, and musician. Best remembered for his tattoos, Genest held the Guinness World Record for having 139 human bones tattooed all over his body. He even took part in various freak shows and sideshows across Canada and was nicknamed Zombie Boy. He died after suffering an accidental fall from his apartment's balcony.

 46 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.”

 47 Jessie Reyez

Jessie Reyez
4
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. 

 48 Brett Dier

Brett Dier
6
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 14, 1990
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London, Ontario, Canada
Canadian actor Brett Dier is best known as Michael Cordero Jr. from the popular series Jane the Virgin. Fans also loved him in the Canadian series The L.A. Complex and Bomb Girls, and as C.B. in the sitcom Schooled. He has appeared in several TV movies, too.

 49 Ryan Gosling

Ryan Gosling
1
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 12, 1980
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London, Canada

Ryan Gosling began his career as a child actor and gained recognition as an adult after starring in the commercially successful film, The Notebook, in 2004. Half Nelson, The Ides of March, The Big Short, La La Land and Blade Runner are some of his other popular films. He is also a musician and his band is called Dead Man's Bones.

 50 Finn Wolfhard

Finn Wolfhard
1
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: December 23, 2002
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Vancouver, Canada

Best known as Mike Wheeler from Stranger Things, SAG Award-winner Finn Wolfhard has also appeared in It and its sequel. He was a vocalist and guitarist for the band Calpurnia and formed the indie-pop duo The Aubreys. Named to Forbes 30 under 30, he has also directed a short film.