CANADIAN FEMALE ARTISTS YOU NEED IN YOUR LIFE
BY BRENESSA ROACH | MARCH 4 2023
As a woman who works in music, I know how hard it is for us to shine and how hard it is for us to be in a male-dominated industry. I was 10 years old when I decided that I want to go into the entertainment business but, I never knew any female producer or A&R manager growing up. I didn’t even have a female Asian/POC artist to look up to. Having no role model was scary and sad. However, that changed in 2022 when I met my manager at Sony Music Entertainment. As the only female in the A&R department, she became my first role model and the first person to believe in me as a woman in music. Even with the launch of this blog, she has been so supportive and I will forever be grateful for that.
I say all this because this lack of female representation that I had growing up needs to be changed. As the owner of Behind The Beat, I want people to see that this company is owned by a woman who wants to be the female role model that she didn’t have growing up.
So, in honour of Women’s History Month, I want to share with you 8 Canadian female artists that I think are so powerful and inspiring. Additionally, I want to share that if you type in “EQUAL” in the search bar on Spotify, there are a bunch of curated playlists that feature amazing women in music. The one that I often listen to is EQUAL Canada. So check it out!
In no particular order, here are the 8 Canadian female artists you need in your life:
Alex Porat is a pop singer originally from Vancouver and then relocated to Toronto, Canada. She started posting covers to YouTube in February 2017 with her first one being a cover of “It Ain’t Me” by Kygo and Selena Gomez. In May 2018, Glamour Magazine had Shawn Mendes react to her cover of “In My Blood”. Following that, she released her first song on Spotify which was an acapella cover of Side Effects with Mike Tompkins. Her debut single “Insecure” was released on June 28, 2019. Alex released quite a few singles and even EP’s throughout 2019 and 2020. In October 2021, she released her first album titled ***MISS SICK WORLD. This album consists of 9 songs and includes “happy for you” which has almost 6 million streams. This is the song that got me listening to Alex as I discovered it in one of Spotify’s playlists. Her latest song “HATELOVE” was released in February and it’s also another one of my favourite songs of hers.
Listen to “happy for you” by Alex Porat on Spotify:
Check out Alex Porat Instagram: @alexandraporat
Aqyila is a Toronto based R&B singer and songwriter. She went viral on TikTok for the song “bob for me” during the pandemic. In April 2021, she released “Vibe for Me (Bob for Me)” to digital streaming platforms. This was her first official single with her new record deal at Sony Music Canada. This song actually got nominated at the JUNO Awards for ‘Contemporary R&B Recording of the Year’. In September 2022, Aqyila released her single “Pressure” followed by “OH!” in November. “OH!” is currently my favourite song of Aqyila’s. Since I worked at Sony during 2022, I got to hear both “Pressure” and “OH!” before it was released and I went home with it stuck in my head everyday. Aqyila is also the sweetest person ever and with whatever she creates, she always puts in her best effort so, I’m very excited to see how she grows in the years to come.
Listen to “OH!” by Aqyila on Spotify:
Check out Aqyila on Instagram: @aqyila
Ley Vara is an R&B/pop Toronto based singer-songwriter. She began releasing music in August 2019 with the release of her debut single “I’m Scared”. In 2020, she released four songs; “Bruises”, “Forfeit” (with Kyngs), “Bestmistake” and “Space” (with Jay Isaiah). “Bestmistake” was released in May 2020 and it’s her most popular song of over 600K streams. It also happens to be the song I discovered her by and also my favourite song of hers – the album cover is even featured on the homepage of this website. I also love her song “for you” which was released on January 18, 2022. In November 2022, Ley did a performance for the Reel Asian Awards Ceremony which was so cool, she did an amazing job. The performance was filmed by Lab0916 and you can watch that performance here. Ley Vara’s latest single from December 2022 is a collaboration with Fagin and it’s titled “Anxiety”. So far, she has not released anything in 2023 but I’m very excited to see what Ley has planned for the future and I can’t wait to see her success.
Listen to “Bestmistake” by Ley Vara on Spotify:
Check out Ley on Instagram: @leysaprocky
Katie Tupper is a musician, singer and songwriter from Saskatoon, Canada. She is signed to the Toronto based independent label Arts & Crafts. Her musical style is a blend of neo-soul, R&B and folk. She released her debut single “Live Inside” on September 7, 2021. I started listening to Katie in February 2022 after she released her single “Danny” in January 2022. I really like her lyrics and her style of music. On February 21st of this year, she released a single titled “Woman No” and it’s amazing.
Listen to “Woman No” by Katie Tupper on Spotify:
Check out Katie Tupper on Instagram: @katietupper
pisceze is a Korean-Japanese singer and songwriter from Toronto. She has a unique musical sound where she blends R&B with soul, pop and K-pop. pisceze made her debut in March 2019 with the release of “Like That” which is an R&B song featuring another Toronto artist JAHKOY. In October 2019, pisceze released the single “What’s Your Sign?”. I heard this song for the first time in 2022 and I instantly found it so catchy. pisceze has released a lot of singles throughout the years with her most popular song being “Red Handed”. This was released in May 2022 and currently has over 300K streams. Her latest release from January is titled “Slip n’ Slide” and it’s a collaboration with THEMXXNLIGHT and Lil Berete. Hopefully in the future we get an EP or an album from pisceze!
Listen to “What’s Your Sign?” by pisceze on Spotify:
Check out pisceze on Instagram: @pisceze
Serena Sun is a bedroom pop/soft rock singer and songwriter from Vancouver, Canada. She made her debut in May 2019 with the single “Idk How to Stop”. I actually found Serena through her TikTok in February 2022 and then I listened to her music. At the time, she only had 7 singles out and the song I loved of hers is “For the Hell of It” which was released at the end of 2021. Since February 2022, she released her debut EP Shadows on the Ceiling in June 2022. In January of this year, she released her single “Chapter”. Back in 2022 when she had 7 singles, I wrote down some streaming statistics and she had just over 1.5K monthly listeners and now after a year, she has grown to have over 3.3K monthly listeners. Hopefully this year she continues to grow in listeners .
Listen to “For the Hell of It” by Serena Sun on Spotify:
Check out Serena Sun on Instagram: @serenalsun
lael is a bedroom pop singer and songwriter. She is also a YouTuber. She started her YouTube channel in August 2015 and would post covers and reaction videos to hip-hop music. She released her first single “im all alone” to digital streaming platforms in January 2021. I first listened to lael after she released “you can’t stay mad at me” in January 2022. In April 2022, she released her first album titled it didn’t know it was a butterfly. This album consists of 13 songs and includes “im all alone” which now has over 3 million streams. This album was her last release of 2022 and hopefully in 2023 she makes a comeback.
Listen to “im all alone” by lael on Spotify:
Check out lael on Instagram: @laelhansen
Haley Smalls is an R&B engineer, singer and songwriter from Toronto, Canada. She made her debut in April 2015 with her debut album This Is Me. She has spent the last 7 years releasing many, many songs. I only started listening to her in February 2022 after discovering her single “Keeper” in a Spotify playlist. “Keeper” is one of the 10 songs on her album Summer Nights. In November 2022, Haley released her album The Cure III followed by a Christmas song “This Christmas” which was a collaboration with McKenzie Small. Haley has around 200K monthly listeners but I definitely think she deserves even more.
Listen to “Keeper” by Haley Smalls on Spotify:
Check out Haley Smalls on Instagram: @haleysmalls
You can find all 8 songs mentioned in this article on our Spotify playlist below: