Published Jul 01, 20115. Drake
Haters likely won't get past his nasally croon or the fact that he was an overdramatic school shooting victim on Degrassi, but it's tough to argue with Drake's talent and work ethic. The Torontonian born Aubrey Drake Graham worked hard in his bedroom to perfect his flow as a rapper while honing in his singing voice. The result helped transform modern rap music and landed Drake a spot in Lil Wayne's inner circle, eventually resulting in a deal with Young Money Records. Currently collaborating with cutting-edge Canadian the Weeknd for his sophomore album Take Care, Drake is impressing the world without forgetting the city and country that shaped him.
4. Damian Abraham
As the frontman for Toronto hardcore monsters Fucked Up, Abraham instigates riotous fun, bringing a fierce energy to any venue while still delivering the complicated lyrics from his band, some of which come from their political and personal rock opera. Ending most shows with blood, sweat and barely any clothes on, that's already enough to earn a special place in our hearts, but there's more. Working at MuchMusic, Abraham has helped reinvigorate the network's indie-minded music video hour The Wedge. Not only is the station playing videos again, but thanks in part to Damian, the videos are actually interesting again. If they're not, he always puts in his two cents anyway.
3. Arcade Fire
Arguably the biggest indie band of all time, Montreal-based rockers Arcade Fire have made some vast accomplishments in their ten years as a band. Aside from the critical acclaim that has met all three of their albums, their most recent effort, The Suburbs, hit the No. 1 spot on the Billboard charts and won both the Grammy and Juno for Album of the Year. Their dedication to charitable work in Haiti is honourable, to say the least, and they continue to impress with their constant touring. At this point, Arcade Fire have basically become the ultimate indie rock band.
2. Steve Jordan, Polaris Music Prize founder
A former A&R exec with Warner Music Canada and True North Records, Steve Jordan founded the Polaris Music Prize in 2006. The purpose of the award is to recognize the best Canadian album of the year based entirely on artistic merit, ignoring record sales, genre or labels. Until now, the winning artist was given a $20,000 cash prize, with the money raised to $30,000 in 2011. A source of endless debate and celebration across the entire Canadian music industry, the Polaris Music Prize successfully challenges us to recognize and appreciate a wide spectrum of Canadian output without thinking too much about commercial success.
Rather than implode in their youth, Canadian power pop institution Sloan have managed to continue making new music for a full 20 years. As proven on their 2011 album The Double Cross, however, they haven't just refused to break up -- miraculously, the band have stayed relevant. Credit that to honest songwriting, a desire to stay true to themselves instead of jumping on trends, and a willingness to roll up their sleeves and work hard. Tireless and quite possibly eternal, Sloan are undoubtedly one of the Canadian bands that will be cool forever, and for that, we salute them.