Listen, we all know how great queer Canadian icons Tegan and Sara. There’s a lot of other queer Canadian musicians making wonderful music, and so today may I present you with this list of amazing queer Canadian musicians (who aren’t just Tegan and Sara)!
If you’re Canadian (or maybe even if you aren’t), there are likely at least a few musicians you already know on this list. Maybe you didn’t realize they were Canadian! But I hope there are lots of unfamiliar voices to discover. My idea for this playlist is a starting off point to find new favorites. I hope if a song captures your ear and/or heart, then you’ll check out the whole album! I have done my best to include all sorts of different genres and also music in languages other than English.
Most of these songs speak for themselves and I don’t necessarily have anything enlightening to say about them. But I do have a few notes on a couple of the songs:
“Every Song (Neela Devaki)” by Vivek Shraya: You might be wondering why there’s another woman’s name in parentheses in this song title. That’s because it’s part of a very cool multi-disciplinary project of Shraya’s that ties in with her recent novel, The Subtweet. Neela Devaki is a musician character in the novel. This song is beautiful on its own, but if you read the book, you’ll see it in a whole other light! (See Drew’s lovely review of the book on Autostraddle here).
“Comme des enfants” by Coeur de Pirate: Some may remember when Coeur de Pirate, aka Béatrice Martin, came out as bi in 2016 and then had a very adorable albeit not long lasting public romance with Laura Jane Grace. She’s Québecoise and has songs in both English and French.
“Brother” by the Organ: If this song sounds familiar, that’s because it and the band were on The L Word, in that episode where Shane shows up at Carmen’s work and they make out in the bathroom while a band plays on the balcony. That’s the Organ!
“Boys Want to Be Her” by Peaches: Did you know queer feminist music icon Peaches is Canadian? (She’s from Toronto). She was also on The L Word, as you might recall.
“Constant Craving” by k.d. Lang: You didn’t think I could leave this classic off the list, did you??
“Yes, I Know” by The Pack a.d.: This song was also on The L Word (well — Generation Q), which I swear I didn’t realize until I put it on this list. It’s playing in the first episode as Shane is descending the steps from her private jet like a boss. The Pack a.d are incredible live; if you ever have a chance to see them I highly recommend! It’s the only mosh pit I’ve ever been in that felt queer and safe (not that I’ve been in many, ha).
“Canadian Classic” by Mulligrub: Just for some cultural context: Canadian Classics are a Canadian cigarette brand.
“Lucky” by Bif Naked: Another artist you might not know is Canadian! Remember when she was on The L Word and also Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Buffy danced with and then had sex with terrible Parker while this song played?
“Ain’t Life a Brook” by Ferron: Ferron is a legendary and ground-breaking lesbian folk singer and Canadian treasure who has been making music since the 70s. She is not nearly as well known as she should be!
“Part-Time Woman” by Vivek Shraya and Queer Songbook Orchestra: I broke my own rule for this playlist by including two songs by the same artist but I couldn’t not share this amazing song and collaboration! You can read a review of the full album by Kai Cheng Thom on Autostraddle.
Do you have any favorites from my playlist? Can you believe how many of these artists have been featured on The L Word? Any other queer Canadian musicians you want to share? Let me know in the comments!
I love this playlist! I would also add in REENIE. She’s a singer/songwriter from Toronto and half the folk-pop duo Citizen Jane. Her new single “Listening to Robyn” is sweet but also heartbreaking in that post-breakup haze kind of way.
I’m here to add POESY to the list! Toronto musician, queer and I dig her track “Any Human.”
No Kinnie Starr or Ember Swift? Carole Pope is half-Canadian and deserves to be on here for “All Touch No Contact” alone.
you know i always thought kinnie starr was queer but couldn’t confirm anywhere! obviously her music was on the l word as well ha!
As soon as I read the blurb for this article, the name “ORGAN” came screaming back to the front of my mind 😅
“If this song sounds familiar, that’s because it and the band were on The L Word, in that episode where Shane shows up at Carmen’s work and they make out in the bathroom while a band plays on the balcony.”
Who could forget !
Irish Mythen is my favorite – you should check her out!
I’d add Rae Spoon, a Canadian nonbinary musician and author whose songs feature such chilling lyrics as “my prairie home fits like a Sunday dress.” I really admire their work and have been lucky enough to meet them as well.
Just scrolled all the way down and noticed Rae Spoon is in fact included on the playlist! The pandemic’s impact on my reading comprehension has not been good, I can tell you that.
EXCELLENT start. Ruby Water is missing. Get it on it immediately (gonna change your life). Start with Supernatural and go from there.
Very here for all CanCon!!!
Ruby Waters* my enthusiasm precludes my ability to spell
Kimmortal is performing as part of transform cabaret (transformcabaret.com) a really fantastic IBPOC centered fest happening online from September 24th!
Lesbians on Ecstasy!