Toronto-based singer-songwriter Aaron Fontwell’s music is forward-thinking while still evoking sounds of the past. His debut single, “Crystal Coated,” is a hazy cosmic alt-rock track that is driven by gritty distorted guitar elevated by a heavy beat. “Crystal Coated” is off his upcoming EP due out soon.
2. Blaise Moore
Toronto-based musician Blaise Moore poured out her heart with her debut single, “Hands.” Her music is moody, textured, and personal as her delicate yet confident voice fills all the cracks and spaces of the songs in all the right places. Her EP London is a beautiful showcase of her lyrical skills and ability to create unique soundscapes with every song. “Hands” showcases her talent, pulling in influences of trip hop to underscore her poetic delivery.
Toronto-based singer and multi-instrumentalist Charlotte Day Wilson’s music rooted in soul and folk music. She may be 24 years old, but her voice has this maturity and raw vulnerability that commands your attention. Her debut EP, CDW, is the kind of record you pour over in solitude, taking in every emotive note.
Hip-hop trio EMP is one of the many incredible acts that broke out in the Toronto music scene in 2016. Their single, “Rebellion,” is a far-out, heavy-hitting hip-hop track that will have you head-bobbing to every down beat. Their second single, “Perfect Timing,” was just released and will have you more eager to see what they have in store for 2017.
Since 2014, Quebec City-based electronic duo Fjord have been winning over new listeners with their melodic and ethereal electronic music that is equally heartbreaking and healing. Their Textures EP released in 2016 showcases the group’s ability to make airy textured beats that wrap you in their warmth.
Toronto-born singer Jahkoy immediately had people’s attention when he dropped his debut single, “Still In Love,” last summer. The track is euphoric ear candy, blending R&B vocals with a sultry danceable melody scoring the track. In October 2016, he released his debut EP Foreign Water. The EP showcases his ability to make backyard bangers and bedroom beats fit perfectly next to each other on the same record.
If you’re looking for the perfect song to accompany a good time, give “Just Sayin’” a play. The Ontario-based group made their debut in 2016 with their feel-good country music that has choruses you can’t help but raise a beer and sing along to. Their singles keep climbing up the charts and gaining industry praise, so it’s safe to say things are looking good for them in 2017.
9. Kiki Rowe
Kiki Rowe began recording original R&B music in a makeshift home studio in Mississauga. Word began spreading around town about the girl with the “golden pen.” 2016 proved she meant business when she released incendiary singles like “Trust Issues” and “Enough.” Her lyrical mastery proves she is worthy of the title.
10. Matt Holubowski
Montreal folk singer Matt Holubowski evokes an immediate emotional response with his fragile melodies and his captivating storytelling. His most recent album, Solitudes, is haunting in its elegance and unabashed honesty, beauty fluttering in every word.
11. Michelle Treacy
Whether you’re going through a breakup, dealing with a shady friend, or are just having a weird year, Ottawa-native singer-songwriter Michelle Treacy feels you. Her debut single, “Armageddon,” is a heavy-hitting electropop song with a vindictive bite and an explosive chorus that proves her talent.
If you are looking for some sultry bedroom-ready R&B, then rising star from Toronto PLAZA is your man. His debut EP, One, features sexy beats that underscore his provocative voice. With only a handful of seductive songs out in the public, the rising star has plenty to offer in 2017.
Toronto-based indie-pop singer-songwriter RALPH waxes nostalgic while still managing to be forward-thinking with her music. Her debut single, “Trouble,” immediately drew praise with its smoky soulful vocals over groovy disco beats. Her latest single, “Busy Man,” is more delicate and vulnerable than her previous songs, proving her chameleon-like craftsmanship.
14. Royal Tusk
Like a raging bull, the bearded quintet from Edmonton, Royal Tusk, are bucking full throttle out of the gate, unrelenting in their delivery of gritty rock ‘n’ roll. Their 2016 album Dealbreaker shows the band’s growth, beaming with confidence and hand crafted control. Strap in, because they show no signs of slowing down going into 2017.
15. Safia Nolin
Since the release of her first single, “Igloo,” Quebec City artist Safia Nolin has been captivating listeners with her honest and haunting folk music. Reprises Vol. 1 was released late in 2016, just in time for cold winter weather. The album is full of emotion and beauty, putting her melancholic twist to eight Québecois classics.
With a title like “Swan,” you would expect a calm beautiful indie-pop song. On first listen, you’re met with the sonic force that is Vancouver-based singer-songwriter Willa. Her thunderous voice is a powerhouse in itself and proves her star power. Her debut album, Criminals + Dreamers, was released in 2016 and will have you eager for what more is to come.