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Fresh Sounds Canada: Ruby Waters, Maryze and More

This week's roundup of new Canadian songs also includes a collaboration between Montreal rapper Mike Shabb and Detroit’s Boldy James, Montreal-based experimental pop artist N NAO and Toronto singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Abigail Lapell.

Ruby Waters

Ruby Waters

Bray

In Fresh Sounds Canada, Billboard Canada puts you on to the must-hear songs of the week by artists on the rise and those about to break. Here's what's out this week.

Ruby Waters, “Sour Patch”


Shelburne, Ontario’s Ruby Waters has amassed 50 million streams, toured internationally, and garnered a 2022 Juno nomination — all before the release of her debut album, What’s The Point, arriving later this month. On “Sour Patch,” Waters previews that record with a burst of lackadaisical rock, anchored by her husky voice. It’s a song about desire that sounds both ravenous and a little indifferent — like it’s more fun to fantasize about the thing than really chase it. Even when Waters belts alongside heavy guitars on the chorus, she comes across as cool and in control, ready for whatever. Waters says that touring is where she thrives, and it’s easy to imagine that a live performance of “Sour Patch” would pack a sweet punch. - Rosie Long Decter

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Maryze and Skyler Cocco, “Cool”

Gwen Stefani's iconic song "Cool" is revisited by Montrealer Maryze in a duet with Skyler Cocco, producer and indie artist based in Los Angeles. This new version is deliciously infused with very '80s synth-pop and a lot of queerness: the music video, with a melancholy tone, depicts love and friendship between exes in a sapphic fairy tale for modern times. Her "Cool" cover is also Maryze's first project since her bilingual dance pop success, "Langue" (with Morganne), which recently went viral on Instagram and TikTok. Here's hoping it's just a taste of what's to come. - Amélie Revert


Mike Shabb & Boldly James, “Big Piranhas”

YouTube comments on the latest single from Montreal rapper Mike Shabb ask a recurring question: why hasn’t Shabb blown up yet? On “Big Piranhas,” a collaboration with Detroit’s Boldy James, Shabb has the calm confidence of someone who knows his time is coming. James handles the first verse and choruses, with a mellow and firm delivery, while Shabb takes on the second verse, reminiscing on his youth. “Remember walkin’ on my block in my younger days / smokin’ more pot to fade the hunger away,” Shabb reflects, over a looped instrumental of jazz piano, soft drum fills and a whispering vocal. The song has a hazy, nostalgic quality, at the same time as it asserts James and Shabb’s strength in the present. With a spot at Quebec’s FEQ festival this summer, Shabb could be on the verge of breaking through to the big leagues (or, a bigger pond). - RLD

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Abigail Lapell Feat. Great Lake Swimmers, “Flowers In My Hair”

On May 10, this highly-lauded Toronto singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Abigail Lapell released a new album Anniversary, preceded by the final advance track/video “Flowers In My Hair.” It is one of three songs on the record to feature folk-rock favourites Great Lake Swimmers, and their harmonies on the acapella tune complement Lapell’s strong and pure voice nicely. The song features a summery vibe in its lyrics, and the result is a short (2.25) but sweet treat. GLS leader Dekker co-produced the album, Lapell’s fifth. She has won three Canadian Folk Music Awards and her songs have received 40 million+ streams on Spotify alone. Lapell has five more shows in Ontario and Quebec this month, followed by extensive U.S. touring. Find the dates here. - Kerry Doole

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EDITOR’S PICK: N NAO, “Miroir”

Those who have already had the opportunity to applaud N NAO on stage - and what stellar performances she offers each time! - will undoubtedly recognize the centerpiece of her new EP, Miroir. The experimental pop singer-songwriter refined this song from live improvisations during the series of concerts accompanying L'eau et les rêves — her 2023 album which caught the attention of the Polaris Prize jury for its long list — adding synthesizers, synth bass, marimba and vibraphone in the studio. Miroir reflects the enigmatic aura that N NAO projects as an artist, as the song finds her taking part in a fantastical game of exploring time. - AR

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Tom Cochrane
Courtesy Photo

Tom Cochrane

Latest News

Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame To Induct Tom Cochrane, Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor, Sarah McLachlan and Diane Tell

Founded in 1998, the CSHF honours and celebrates Canadian songwriters and their significant contributions, both domestically and globally. The Class of 2024 is one impressive grouping.

Today (May 28), TheCanadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (CSHF) announced its class of 2024. Tom Cochrane, Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor (Blue Rodeo), Sarah McLachlan and Diane Tell will all be inducted at the CSHF Induction Ceremony at Massey Hall in Toronto on September 28, 2024.

Founded in 1998, the CSHF honours and celebrates Canadian songwriters and their significant contributions, both domestically and globally. Throughout its history, the CSHF has inducted more than 65 songwriters and 190 songs at its music events. It now welcomes Amazon Music as the new title sponsor of the event.

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