Leonard Norman Cohen, poet, novelist, singer, songwriter (born 21 September 1934 in Montréal, QC; died 7 November 2016 in Los Angeles, California). Leonard Cohen was one of the most iconic Canadian artists of the 20th century. A sage, mystic, bohemian and romantic, he built an acclaimed body of literary work and a revered career in pop music. In his poetry, novels and music, he constantly probed the human condition, exploring themes of love, loss, death and his commitment to his art. As a poetic and unlikely pop star, his narrow-ranged, gruff voice, which deepened and darkened with age, and his reliance on simple, singsong melodies were complimented by the intense imagery and depth of his lyrics. A Companion of the Order of Canada, he was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, the US Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Folk Music Walk of Fame. He also received the Glenn Gould Prize, eight Juno Awards, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and numerous other honours.
Beverly Sainte-Marie, OC, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, educator, social activist, philanthropist, visual artist (born 20 February 1941 on Piapot Reserve, SK). A pioneering and influential singer-songwriter, Buffy Sainte-Marie specializes in love songs and music with a political and social-activist focus. She was an important figure in the Greenwich Village and Toronto folk music revivals in the 1960s, and is perhaps best known for her 1964 anti-war anthem “Universal Soldier,” which was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005. She won a Golden Globe, a BAFTA and an Academy Award for co-writing the hit song “Up Where We Belong.” An Officer of the Order of Canada, she has been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and Canada’s Walk of Fame. She has received the Polaris Music Prize and the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award, as well as multiple Juno Awards, Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, lifetime achievement awards and honorary degrees.
Bruce Douglas Cockburn, OC, singer, songwriter, guitarist, activist (born 27 May 1945 in Ottawa, ON). Bruce Cockburn is one of Canada’s preeminent singer-songwriters, guitarists and social-justice activists. His music blends folk, rock, pop and jazz, and typically addresses spiritual themes and global issues from a politically charged perspective. He has had 17 albums certified gold in Canada and three certified platinum, and has sold more than seven million copies worldwide. The winner of 11 Juno Awards from 31 nominations, he has also received the inaugural Allan Waters Humanitarian Award and the Allan Slaight Humanitarian Spirit Award, and been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. Recognized as “a latter-day wandering minstrel whose songs reflect the discontents of modern society,” he received the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement, and was made a Member (1982) and Officer (2002) of the Order of Canada.
John Allister MacGillivray, CM, songwriter, guitarist, folklorist, author, record producer (born 17 January 1948 in Glace Bay, NS). Allister MacGillivray’s songs are largely Celtic in style and Maritime in flavour, including his best-known work, “Song for the Mira,” which has become a standard in the Celtic repertoire and something of an anthem in Nova Scotia. He accompanied such acts as John Allan Cameron and Ryan’s Fancy before focusing exclusively on songwriting and producing. He has worked with such East Coast stalwarts as Buddy MacMaster and Men of the Deeps, and his songs have been covered by The Barra MacNeils, John McDermott and Anne Murray, among many others.
Ariane Moffatt, singer, songwriter and producer (born 26 April 1979 in Saint Romuald, today Lévis, QC). Ariane Moffatt sets herself apart with her urban pop style songs, whose alternately acoustic and electronic sounds lend them an airy, dreamlike quality. The recipient of numerous Félix Awards, including Revelation of the Year in 2003, she also won a Juno Award in 2009 for her album Tous les sens. That album was well received in France, where the singer has built valuable friendships in the artistic community; it also earned her the Grand Prix of the Académie Charles Cros.
Uuliniq Susan Aglukark, OC, singer, songwriter (born 27 January 1967 in Churchill, MB). Susan Aglukark is a Juno Award-winning Inuk singer and songwriter. Her blend of country, world music and easy-listening pop is distinguished by her gentle voice, upbeat melodies and inspirational lyrics sung in English and Inuktitut. Her album This Child (1995) sold more than 300,000 copies in Canada and the lead single, “O Siem,” became the first Top 10 hit by an Inuk performer. She was made an Officer of the Order of Canada for her “powerful songs that relate the stories of Canada’s Inuit” and for her advocacy for the people and communities of Canada’s North. She has also mentored Indigenous artists and students, and received a Governor General’s Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement in 2016.
Lynda Lemay, singer-songwriter (born 25 July 1966 in Portneuf-Station, Québec). A Knight of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and the recipient of numerous Félix Awards as well as one Victoire de la musique award, Québec artist Lynda Lemay showcases French-language music across the French-speaking world.
Réjean Ducharme, OQ, writer (born 12 August 1941 in Saint-Félix-de-Valois, Québec; died 21 August 2017 in Montréal). Prominent Québécois novelist, playwright, scriptwriter and lyricist, Réjean Ducharme guarded his privacy since his first novel, L'Avalée des avalés, was published in 1966. He was never seen in public, and was admired as much for the uniqueness of his works as for the mythology surrounding him.
Jean Leclerc (a.k.a. Jean Leloup), singer-songwriter, novelist (born 14 May 1961 in Québec City, Québec). Leloup’s talent and genius first made him a hit with young francophones in the 1990s, and ever since, he has continued to develop his art and captivate French-speaking audiences. Regarded as an anticonformist artist, he has projected an eccentric persona and gone by many names, such as John the Wolf, Johnny Guitare, Roi Ponpon and Dead Wolf. But despite his extravagance, Leloup has proven an authentic, complex individual.
Félix Eugène Leclerc, OC, GOQ, singer-songwriter, poet, novelist, playwright, actor, broadcaster (born 2 August 1914 at La Tuque, QC; died 8 August 1988 at Ȋle d'Orléans, QC). Félix Leclerc was a revolutionary artist whose work in several fields marked a turning point in Québec culture.