Here Are the Canadian Artists Who Blew Up on TikTok in 2021

Emerging hip-hop, R&B and hyperpop stars were born on the platform this year, as well as hit-making collaborations

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Dec 14, 2021

Bing bong! Like it or not, TikTok continued its takeover of our brains — and the music industry — in 2021. The video-sharing app has become a prominent way of discovering new music, including a crop of up-and-coming Canadian artists who found viral success on the platform this year.

Published yesterday (December 13), the Year on TikTok 2021 Music Report took a deep dive into the musical trends on the platform in 2021.

Previously best known for his 2019 single "Lalala" with producer Y2K (Carly Rae Jepsen and Enrique Iglesias featured on a remix of the track), Vancouver rapper bbno$ (@bbnotiktok) had a landmark year. The artist born Alexander Leon Gumuchian honed his social media savvy and versatility with the release of his new album eat ya veggies, garnering a handful of trending songs on the app like "edamame" with Rich Brian and the Rebecca Black-featuring "yoga."

Meanwhile, Toronto's RealestK (@iamrealestk) took over TikTok in early October with his viral hit "WFM" — a lush, soulful ballad which even earned him co-signs from Drake, Nas and Giveon. Though he just started releasing music this past March, he's already solidified himself as an artist to watch in the Canadian R&B scene and beyond.

Got a sweet tooth? ElyOtto's (@elpunko"SugarCrash!" landed at No. 4 on the platform's list of top tracks globally. At only 1 minute and 20 seconds in length, the Calgary-hailing hyperpop up-and-comer's viral sensation was practically tailor-made for TikTok's short-form video content; he even managed to outperform fellow Canadian Justin Bieber's smash with 2020 TikTok Emerging Artist the Kid LAROI.

The app also proved to be a fruitful collaborative space: when Vancouver singer-songwriter Jessia (@jessiamusic) recorded an idea for a chorus in her car and posted it to the platform, she had no idea that it would rack up over 1 million views in a day — or that Ottawa producer Elijah Woods (@elijahwoodsmusic) would hear her a capella hook and transform it into a pop hit. Body positivity anthem "I'm Not Pretty" went on to become a radio mainstay all year, charting in both Canada and the US.

Its posts may be short-lived, but TikTok seems to be here to stay. With a whole new generation of artists getting their start on the platform, as well as the resurgence of throwback tracks on the app's trending sounds, the algorithm's impact on the charts is undeniable.

You can read the full Year in Music report here.

In other recent TikTok news, Simple Plan's Pierre Bouvier gave entirely new meaning to the term "shitposting." Earlier in 2021, Exclaim! compiled a list of some of the Canadian artists you should follow on the platform.

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