33 Best Canadian Male Singers

The common joke about maple syrup being Canada’s only export massively discredits the many excellent musicians that have come from the country. No matter what era you were born in, there’s a fair chance that one of your favorite songs was recorded by a Canadian artist.

The following male singers, many of whom are considered the greatest songwriters of all time, are some of the most famous to have come from Canada. There’s a fair chance that some of these artists might come as a surprise to you. 

Neil Young

Neil Young is an incredibly prolific artist, making his debut with Buffalo Springfield and eventually adding the Y to Crosby, Stills, and Nash to make CSNY. Of course, it’s important to remember that this is all in addition to the fact that his solo career is perhaps even more famous for its many hit singles throughout the decades.

In addition to a powerful stage presence that only increases the impact of his lyrics, Neil has an unapologetic approach to playing the electric guitar, often favoring expression over technique. 

Gordon Lightfoot

When it comes to Canadian folk singers, there is no person more celebrated than Gordon Lightfoot. In the US, Gordon is mostly associated with his songs, Sundown, and The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald (which plays every year on Great Lakes-area radio stations on the anniversary of the shipwreck). 

Lightfoot passed away in 2023, marking the end of a productive career that produced 21 studio albums, the last of which was released in 2020. 

Leonard Cohen

Almost everyone who listens to Jeff Buckley’s version of Hallelujah takes the time to discover Leonard Cohen’s catalog once they realize he's the original songwriter. This song, of course, is just 1 small piece of a career spanning 15 studio albums over the course of 49 years.

Cohen was actually a writer and a poet before becoming a singer-songwriter in the late 1960s. 3 of his novels were published along with over a dozen collections of various poems, songs, journals, and sketches. 

Gordon Downie

Even though we knew that Gordon Downie’s days were numbered because of an incurable brain tumor, it didn’t lighten the impact of his death in 2017. Furthermore, it only added more gravity to the broadcast of The Tragically Hip’s final performance just a year beforehand, which was already heavy with intention and knowing finality.  

Along with The Tragically Hip, Downie also had a career as a solo artist. He also aligned his efforts in the support of larger causes, even going so far as to establish a charity fund to benefit Canada’s Indigenous population. 

John K. Samson

If you know of John K. Samson, there’s a fair chance it might be because you’ve listened to The Weakerthans while openly weeping and pondering life’s what-ifs. The band’s material is hinged on the heartfelt lyricism and vocal delivery that Samson brings to the table, with the album Left and Leaving serving as a fine example of this.

Samson also has a solo career, which he began in 1993 while he was still playing bass guitar in the punk band, Propagandhi. 

Paul Anka

Paul Anka is one of the biggest Canadian singers to come from the late 1950s, earning his first hit with Diana in 1957. He also penned hits for other stars, including She’s A Lady (sung by Tom Jones), and eventually began composing scores for films, including 1962’s The Longest Day. 

Anka’s style of music fell out of fashion by the mid-1960s but saw a resurgence during the 1970s and the 1990s. Outside of music, Anka has made appearances in both films and episodes of television series. 

Michael Bublé

It’s safe to say that Michael Bublé has proved that the crooner style of lounge singing can survive in the modern 21st century. By 2005, Bublé was considered one of the world’s biggest stars, which was a far cry difference from the life he spent as a commercial fisherman a little over a decade prior. 

Sebastian Bach

Sebastian Bach rose to fame in the band Skid Row, which was essentially one of the US’s biggest bands in the early 1990s. The band’s first album had some of their biggest hits, including 18 to Life, and, I Remember You, both of which highlight Bach’s powerful vocal delivery.

In addition to touring relentlessly in different groups (including his own band), Bach has been a regular sight on television over the years. He’s even held roles on various theater productions, including Jesus Christ Superstar, and, Jekyll & Hide.

Justin Bieber

If it had not been for YouTube, it’s hard to say whether Justin Bieber would have become the international superstar that he is. Once he made his debut, Bieber quickly became a household name throughout the 2010s, as every studio album released to date has hit the #1 spot on the charts in both Canada and the US.

Because he got his start at 13, his career has only benefitted from the changing sounds and interests that have accompanied his natural maturation. 

Justin Bieber

Dan Bejar

If you’re into Canadian indie rock, there’s a chance you know of Dan Bejar by means of either the band, The New Pornographers, or his solo project, Destroyer. Bejar’s solo career has been especially celebrated for its continual evolution in sound, with his last 4 solo albums all being regularly praised on the Best Albums lists of their release year by various publications including Pitchfork.

Bryan Adams

Bryan Adams is one of the most famous artists to come from the 1980s, cementing himself on the airwaves with numerous international hits such as Summer of ’69, and, Cuts Like a Knife. Since his debut, Adams has released 16 studio albums while playing tour dates during nearly every single year since.

Outside of music, Adams is a celebrated photographer whose work has enjoyed solo exhibitions since 1999. He’s also been an outspoken animal rights advocate, backing his personal philosophy with a vegan lifestyle.

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