The Cutest Couples in Canadian Music

Show & Tell

The Dears, Witch Prophet, Dear Rouge and more open up about their romantic relationships

Photo: JF Galipeau

BY Alex HudsonPublished Feb 11, 2022

Behind every great Canadian musician is… another Canadian musician. With Valentine's Day right around the corner, we caught up with some of our country's musical power couples — including spouses who collaborate as part of long-running bands, and couples who usually keep their music-making endeavour separate. Regardless of how (or if) these couples work together, they all agree: a shared love of making music makes their romantic bonds even stronger.

Below, take a glimpse into the offstage romantic lives of some of the cutest power couples in Canadian music.

Chastity (Brandon Williams) and Ellis (Linnea Siggelkow)

Brandon Williams and Linnea Siggelkow met more than a decade ago, when Williams ended up crashing on the couch of Siggelkow's parents' house. "We live together now," says Williams. "We have two sweet brown tabby cats."

The indie rockers generally keep their musical projects separate, although being forced into lockdown by the pandemic resulted in them collaborating more than ever before; Chastity is a featured guest on Ellis's 2021 song "hell," and they cowrote the Chastity song "Vicious Circle." Siggelkow says, "He is the one who really pushed me to put out my songs in the first place. Ellis honestly might not exist if not for that."

Dear Rouge

Drew and Danielle McTaggart first met when Danielle asked Drew to play bass in her former band — and he said no. They stayed in touch through music and have now been together for 12 years. "We joke that since we spend probably 99.99 percent of all of our time together, it's probably equivalent to 50 years of marriage," says Drew.

Drew says he was "a very typical indie shoegaze guy" when they met, and Danielle helped him widen his scope to include the fun, lively pop heard on Dear Rouge's upcoming album Spirit. He explains, "We both have such strong musical identities that we challenge each other, and have a lot of tension together. But I guess that tension is what kinda pulls us back together and makes Dear Rouge what it is." As Danielle puts it, "We see ourselves as a yin and yang kind of thing."

The Dears

Murray Lightburn and Natalia Yanchak met way back in the late '90s, when Yanchak had a DJ gig — "which, back then, meant putting five CDs into the changer and hitting 'shuffle,'" she admits. She joined Lightburn's then-new rock band the Dears on keyboards, and the pair were married at city hall in 2005. Lightburn reflects, "We have lived together for 20-something years. We have two kids, but also two cats to whom I'm completely allergic. And no one around here cares." 

Lightburn judges the quality of his songwriting by whether it can make his wife cry, while Yanchak likens their partnership to the lyrics of the Pet Shop Boys' song "Opportunities": "'I've got the brains, you've got the looks, let's make lots of money,' just we're not sure who's got what. Murray is the songwriter, I'm all business, but we're both handsome, so…?" 

Les Deuxluxes

Étienne Barry and Anna Frances Meyer fell in love twice: first when they met in a bar 10 years ago, and then again a few years later, when they realized they could make music together. "We realize working with one's spouse is not everyone's cup of tea," acknowledges Barry, "but we just so happen to be each other's favourite artistic collaborator as well as being life partners, so it feels natural and grounding to us."

As well as making stomping riff-rock, they have what Barry describes as a "vintage clothing and styling hustle." Says Meyer, "Our living spaces are filled with treasure we bring back from tour, and our headspaces are filled with music, and our albums inspired by travelling and interacting with people."

HotKid (Shiloh Harrison) and Mad Ones (Andrew DeVillers) 

Shiloh Harrison and Andrew DeVillers have been married for eight years and have a four-year-old son, and before that, they started out as fans of one another's music. "I was blown away by the two-piece HotKid lineup, and especially Shiloh ripping leads on her 1963 Gretsch Chet Atkins," DeVillers recalls of the first time their bands shared a bill. "Afterwards we talked, and I remember really liking her shoes."

For a while after that, they tried to keep their music projects separate, but they eventually gave in to the inevitable: DeVillers now plays bass in HotKid, and they have founded their own Fortune Stellar Records imprint.

"Building an arts-based business while raising a family is a point of pride for both of us," says Harrison. "I think that determination and strength comes across in our music, or at least the live show, if not in the lyrics specifically. But over the years it certainly has provided plenty of material, in a more traditional sense." 

Naomi and Rymz

Pop singer Naomi jokes that rapper Rymz is a "weirdo" because, when they met on the street six years ago, he took a photo of her coming out of a bar. "One of my friends knew her, so I harassed him the next day to know who she was," explains Rymz. "That's why I took the picture — to remember her face. We've been living together for two years. We have a cat named Houdini and a very annoying canary."

The pair have begun creating collaboratively, as Naomi appears in Rymz's videos, and he appears on a track on Naomi's upcoming album. Next step: getting married, if pandemic restrictions allow. "We'll get married if we can throw a huge party," says Naomi. (Photo via André Rainville.) 

PONY (Sam Bielanski) and Pretty Matty (Matty Morand)

Power pop songwriters Sam Bielanski and Matty Morand performed on the same bill back in 2015, and Morand let Bielanski use a guitar amp. Bielanski remembers, "After our set, when they tried to compliment me on a guitar riff I played, I simply replied with, 'Thank you, I wrote it,' because I was so shy. A few years later, Matty sang a Paramore song at our mutual friend's birthday party, and I knew it was love right then and there. We literally got married five months after that, and now we live in a little house with our cat Frep." 

Their musical projects have become tightly intertwined: they play in one another's bands, take inspiration from the other's approach to art, and collaboratively push to new creative heights. Says Morand, "I think the time that we have been together has been the most significant time of musical growth in my life, just trying to keep up with Sam, and I am very, very grateful for that." 

Sun Sun and Witch Prophet (Ayo Leilani)

Ayo Leilani likes to tell people that she met SUN SUN in her dreams before meeting her in real life. "When we finally did lock eyes, it was 2009 and in the middle of Kensington Market," says the musician known as Witch Prophet. "She walked past me and I swear everything slowed down around me. It was like a total romantic movie moment. Classic lesbian U-Haul, I moved in after a month of dating and we've been together ever since!"

They were married a decade later, in 2019, and Leilani says that the two have become "a real team," with SUN SUN creating beats and soundscapes and Witch Prophet handling vocals.

And then there's food: SUN SUN jokes that it's her job to keep Witch Prophet "well fed — she's not a fan of cooking." Leilani retorts, "It's not that I'm not a fan of cooking — it's that I'm bad at it."

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