14. Tanika Charles
Tanika Charles lived a lot leading up to the release of her full-length debut, Soul Run. She spent years working through a crisis of identity, surviving a smothering relationship in which she experienced a loss of self before she ditched her man and set off across the country from Edmonton to Toronto. She teased her solo prowess with an EP in 2010 as Ms. Chawlz, but after a couple of years' delay, she finally got out full-length Soul Run in 2016, under her own name — and damned if anyone is going to forget her after this.
Soul Run presents the world on her terms, with Charles's voice as commanding and honest as Sharon Jones in her delivery of lyrics drawn from her life story, while the likes of Daniel Lee (Hooded Fang, Phedre) and Slakah the Beatchild inject a little boom-bap hip-hop flavour into her deliciously retro soul and R&B instrumentals. Every bit as confident as Amy Winehouse's Frank, Soul Run quickly landed on the 2016 Polaris Music Prize long-list, and that's only the beginning of where this album might take her.