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 Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen.
10
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.
10
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.
6
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 Drake

Drake.
5
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: October 24, 1986
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, 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.

 5 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.

 6 Alanis Morisette

Alanis Morisette.
8
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.

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 7 Bryan Adams

Bryan Adams.
9
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.
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 8 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.

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 9 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.

 10 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.

 11 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.

 12 Shawn Mendes

Shawn Mendes.
29
Famous As: Singer & Songwriter
Birthdate: August 8, 1998
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Toronto, 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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 13 Alan Thicke

Alan Thicke
8
Famous As: Actor, Songwriter, Composer, Television presenter, Voice actor, Comedian
Birthdate: March 1, 1947
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kirkland Lake
Died: December 13, 2016

 14 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.
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 15 Carly Rae Jepsen

Carly Rae Jepsen.
8
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.

 16 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.

 17 Victor Garber

Victor Garber
5
Famous As: Television actor, Film actor, Singer, Musician, Stage actor
Birthdate: March 16, 1949
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: London

 18 Alex Lifeson

Alex Lifeson
5
Famous As: Composer, Guitarist
Birthdate: August 27, 1953
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Fernie

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. 

 19 Mac DeMarco

Mac DeMarco.
5
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.

 20 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.

 21 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.

 22 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. 

 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 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.

 25 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.   

 26 Sarah McLachlan

Sarah McLachlan.
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 28, 1968
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Halifax, Nova Scotia, 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.

 27 Chad Kroeger

Chad Kroeger.
9
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.

 28 K. D. Lang

K. D. Lang.
4
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.

 29 Gordon Downie

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

 30 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.

 31 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.

 32 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.

 33 Luke Macfarlane

Luke Macfarlane.
5
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.

 34 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.

 35 Anne Murray

Anne Murray.
3
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: June 20, 1945
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Springhill, Nova Scotia, 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.

 36 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.

 37 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.

 38 Rufus Wainwright

Rufus Wainwright
5
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: July 22, 1973
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Rhinebeck Village, Rhinebeck, New York, United States

 39 Jessica Lowndes

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

 40 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.

 41 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.”

 42 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.

 43 Devin Townsend

Devin Townsend
5
Famous As: Singer, Musician, Guitarist, Songwriter, Record producer
Birthdate: May 5, 1972
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vancouver

Devin Townsend is a Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, and record producer. He is the founder of the extreme metal band Strapping Young Lad. For several years, he was its primary songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist. He also has an extensive career as a solo artist and has more than 25 albums to his name. He suffers from depression and bipolar disorder. 

 44 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.

 45 Adnan Sami

Adnan Sami
3
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: August 15, 1971
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London, England

Adnan Sami is an Indian musician, singer, pianist, and music composer. Best known for his skills as a piano player, Sami was named the world's fastest keyboard player by Keyboard magazine. He is also widely regarded as the first person to have played Indian classical music on the piano. In 2020, he was awarded India's fourth-highest civilian award, Padma Shri. 

 46 Darrin Kenneth O'Brien

Darrin Kenneth O'Brien
3
Famous As: musician, singer
Birthdate: October 30, 1969
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Toronto

 47 Keanu Reeves

Keanu Reeves.
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 2, 1964
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Beirut, Lebanon

The star of John Wick, Speed and The Matrix films, Keanu Reeves has displayed his wide range as an actor, time and again. The humble Canadian actor has also famously given away his money to recognise the work of crew and to enable the production team to hire good actors.

 48 Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber.
6
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.

 49 Ryan Gosling

Ryan Gosling.
0
Famous As: Actor & Musician
Birthdate: November 12, 1980
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London, Ontario, 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, Musician
Birthdate: December 23, 2002
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Vancouver

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.