Fresh Sounds Canada: Chikoruss, Owen Riegling & More

The up-and-coming artists lead our must-hear songs of the week. Also in this week's edition: Vivek Shraya, Classified and Hot Garbage.



Randijah Simmons

For this week's Fresh Sounds Canada, we're giving you picks from all over the spectrum of genre: throwback 2000s R&B, wistful country music, psych-rock, hip-hop and an intergenerational collaboration between two beloved Canadian singer/songwriters. Listen to our picks below.

Chikoruss, “In 2 Deep”

The dream of 2000s R&B is alive in Montreal. Chikoruss went viral on TikTok with his 2023 song "Body Language" (which currently has more than 6 million streams across platforms), and that propelled the 20-year-old singer to a deal with the storied 300 Entertainment, which is home to artists like Young Thug, PinkPantheress and Gunna. Chikoruss is the only Canadian, and the only French Canadian, on the 300 roster. With its catchy repeating riff and smooth ladies' man vocals, his new single "In 2 Deep" could easily fit between Mario and B2K on a BET playlist. Though it's brief, the song is very replayable. - Richard Trapunski


Owen Riegling, “Home Less”

With "artist to watch" nods from both Amazon Music Canada and Spotify, 2024 could be a big year for emerging country singer Owen Riegling. Signed to Universal Music Canada, he's already singing about the bittersweet nature of breakthrough success. Life on the road takes him away from the environment that built him, a classic country theme. "Damn right, I love that I'm seeing more but I hate that I'm coming home less," he sings, reaffirming his commitment to his down-to-earth small-town lifestyle (the song's narrator doesn't name the location, but Riegling speaks highly of his upbringing in Mildmay, Ontario). Riegling is set to tour the country this winter, followed by a performance at Live Nation's new Vancouver festival this April, Coast City Country. — Richard Trapunski

Vivek Shraya w/ Jann Arden, “I Miss My Friends”

Multi-hyphenate artist Vivek Shraya teams up with iconic Canadian performer Jann Arden for a new version of Shraya’s song “I Miss My Friends,” originally from Shraya’s 2023 Mint Records debut, Baby, You’re Projecting. “Friends” is one of the quieter tracks on the otherwise upbeat Baby, a reflection on how growing older can also mean growing apart from people. On this collaboration, though, Arden’s powerful voice brings a new energy to the melancholy song. When Arden echoes Shraya on lyrics like, “how are you friend / what are you feeling now,” she turns a meditation into a conversation — a reminder that we are not always as alone as we think. — Rosie Long Decter

Classified, “All Wrong”

Well-established as one of Canada’s most successful rappers ever, with a global streaming tally exceeding 280 million, Classified (aka Luke Boyd) will deliver new the new album Luke’s View on April 19. He has just released a tasty new single and video, “All Wrong,” one he terms “a testament to navigating in the present, and appreciating every moment.” The track kicks off with a soulful female vocal feature, then introduces Boyd’s typically fluent and lyrically candid rapping as he takes a trip down memory lane with the sentiment “loved it when we were all lost together" The production is sparse, but keeps your attention. "All Wrong" gets it right.— Kerry Doole


EDITOR’s PICK: Hot Garbage, “Erase My Mind”

"Erase My Mind" is so hypnotic that it feels like it's playing on repeat in our head like a dark thought. This song, both raw and gently melancholic, is also the one accompanying the release of Precious Dream by the Toronto-based psychedelic rock band Hot Garbage, signed with the Montreal label Mothland. The music draws us into a swirling vortex of solitude and existential anxiety with powerful guitar riffs and post-punk soundscapes. — Amélie Revert

DIVINE (L) and Karan Aujla
@anmollium / Anmol Raina

DIVINE (L) and Karan Aujla

Chart Beat

Karan Aujla & DIVINE Debut in Top 25 on Billboard Canadian Albums Chart

B.C.-based Punjabi artist Karan Aujla and Indian rapper DIVINE land the No. 22 spot on this week's Canadian Albums chart with their new collaborative release, 'Street Dreams.' On the Canadian Hot 100, Beyoncé's "Texas Hold 'Em" ascends to No. 1, while Canadian pop artist Preston Pablo makes a debut.

B.C.-based Punjabi artist Karan Aujla and Indian rapper DIVINE are making moves together on Billboard's Canadian Albums chart this week, with their collaborative project, Street Dreams, debuting in the No. 22 spot.

The seven-track album, released Feb. 16, blends harder hip-hop and smooth R&B pop, the latter shining through especially on the Jonita Gandhi-assisted "Yaad." It's not Aujla's highest spot on the Albums chart — he reached No. 5 in 2023 with Making Memories, his collaboration with Canadian Punjabi artist Ikky — but it gives him some momentum going into his upcoming performance at the Juno Awards on Mar. 24, where he's nominated for TikTok Juno fan choice and breakthrough artist.

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