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Canadian Invasion

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Dubbed the "Canadian Invasion", the 2010s saw music of Canada reaching new heights in terms of international success while dominating the American market and music charts through the popularity of Drake, Justin Bieber and The Weeknd.[1] From 2015 to 2017, Drake, The Weeknd and Bieber generated a total of 20 billion streams. In a 2017 article by Forbes titled 'Canadian Invasion: Why Drake, The Weeknd And Justin Bieber Rule The Streaming World', the "Canadian Invasion" was compared to the "British Invasion": "The Beatles and the Rolling Stones spearheaded the British Invasion of the 1960s as rock infiltrated the global pop world--and now, a half-century later, one might call Drake, The Weeknd and Justin Bieber the Canadian Invasion."



Drake was the most dominant artist during the 2010s in terms of Billboard chart success[2] and was Spotify's most-streamed artist of the decade.[3] He initially gained recognition as an actor on the teen drama television series Degrassi: The Next Generation in the 2000s. Intent on pursuing a career in music, he left the series in 2007 after releasing his debut mixtape Room for Improvement before releasing two further independent projects, Comeback Season and So Far Gone. He was signed to rapper Lil Wayne's label Young Money Entertainment in 2009. His debut album Thank Me Later was released on June 15, 2010,[4] debuting at number one on the Billboard 200. It was the best-selling debut album for any artist in 2010.[5]

Justin Bieber[edit]

The biggest teen idol of the 2010s, Bieber was the first breakthrough artist of the Canadian Invasion.[2] Discovered at 13 years old by talent manager Scooter Braun after Braun had watched his YouTube cover song videos, Bieber was signed to RBMG Records in 2008. Released when he was 15 years old, Bieber's first single, "One Time", peaked at number 17 on the US Billboard Hot 100. His first record, an extended play titled My World, was released on November 17, 2009. It was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[6] Bieber's debut studio album, My World 2.0., debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, making Bieber the youngest solo male act to top the chart since Stevie Wonder in 1963.[7]

The Weeknd[edit]

Among the most prominent R&B artists of the 2010s, The Weeknd has been credited for advancing the genre through his dark wave style approach.[8] Released in 2011, his trilogy of mixtapes, House of Balloons, Thursday, and Echoes of Silence, quickly garnered him a following and critical recognition from several mainstream publications. In 2012, he signed with Republic Records. His debut studio album Kiss Land (2013) debuted at number two on the Billboard 200, while his second album, Beauty Behind the Madness (2015), debuted at number one and was among the best-selling albums of 2015. Containing the Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles "Can't Feel My Face" and "The Hills", Beauty Behind the Madness was awarded Best Urban Contemporary Album and was nominated for Album of the Year at the 2016 Grammy Awards.[9]

Simultaneous achievements[edit]

Shawn Mendes

In 2015, the American music market also saw the emergence of Shawn Mendes. During a period in 2015, Canadians occupied five of the top 10 positions of the Billboard Hot 100: The Weeknd's "The Hills" and "Can't Feel My Face", Bieber's "What Do You Mean?", Drake's "Hotline Bling" and Mendes' "Stitches".[10] At the 2016 MTV Europe Music Awards, Canadian artists dominated the ceremony, with big wins for Bieber, Mendes, Drake and The Weeknd. Mendes won the MTV Europe Music Award for Best Male, while Bieber won the MTV Europe Music Award for Best Song, Drake won the MTV Europe Music Award for Best Hip-Hop and The Weeknd won the MTV Europe Music Award for Best Video.[11]

According to Forbes, from 2016 to 2017 Drake earned $94 million (placing him at No. 4 on the Forbes Celebrity 100 2017 list), followed by The Weeknd with $92 million (placing him at No. 6 on the Forbes Celebrity 100 2017 list) and Bieber with $83.5 million (placing him at No. 13 on the Forbes Celebrity 100 2017 list); no country had more celebrities in the top six than Canada.[12]


Drake is the highest-certified digital singles artist ever in the United States.[13] He achieved several Billboard chart records; he has the most charted songs (209) of any artists in the history of the Billboard Hot 100,[2] the most simultaneously charted Hot 100 songs in a single week (27), the most time on the Hot 100 (431 weeks), and the most Hot 100 debuts in a week (22).[14] He also has the most number-one singles on the Hot Rap Songs, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay and Rhythmic Charts.[15][16] Bieber was included in the Forbes list of the top ten most powerful celebrities in the world, in 2011, 2012 and 2013,[17] and became the first artist to surpass 10 billion total video views on Vevo.[18] The Weeknd holds the record for being the first artist to simultaneously hold the top three positions on the Billboard Hot R&B Songs chart with "Can't Feel My Face", "Earned It", and "The Hills". Mendes' first three studio albums, Handwritten (2015), Illuminate (2016), and Shawn Mendes (2018), all debuted atop the Billboard 200; Handwritten made him one of five artists ever to debut at number one before the age of 18 and Shawn Mendes made him the third-youngest artist to achieve three number one albums in the US.[19]

Other Canadian artists who achieved success in the American market during the 2010s included Carly Rae Jepsen and Alessia Cara. Jepsen's 2011 single "Call Me Maybe" was the best-selling single worldwide in 2012, and reached number one in the US.[20] Cara won Best New Artist at the 2018 Grammy Awards.[21]


  1. Ben Kaplan (2011). "The Canadian Invasion: Musicians from the Great White North dominate U.S. charts". National Post. Archived from the original on 2011-12-10. Retrieved 2013-05-28. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Drake Breaks Record for Most Billboard Hot 100 Entries Ever". Billboard. 2020-03-16. Retrieved 2020-03-16.
  3. M, Travis; M, rews closeTravis; music, rewsPop culture reporter covering; movies; TV; comedy; cultureEmailEmailBioBioFollowFollow, celebrity. "Analysis | Drake was Spotify's most-streamed artist of the decade. What does that mean?". Washington Post. Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  4. Lilah, Rose (April 29, 2010). "Drake Finishes 'Thank Me Later,' Reveals Next Single". Hotnewhiphop.com. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
  5. "Drake Storms the Chart With 'Thank Me Later'". Rolling Stone. June 23, 2010. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  6. "Justin Bieber Chart History". Billboard. e5 Global Media. Retrieved March 11, 2010.
  7. "Justin Bieber Tops Billboard 200 With 'My World 2.0'". Billboard. e5 Global Media. March 31, 2010.
  8. "How House of Balloons Changed R&B". The FADER. Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  9. "59th Annual GRAMMY Awards". GRAMMY.com. November 28, 2017. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  10. "The Weeknd No. 1 on Hot 100 Again, Shawn Mendes Earns First Top 10". Billboard. 2015-10-05. Retrieved 2020-05-03.
  11. "MTV EMAs: Drake, Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, The Weeknd Win Big". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2020-05-03.
  12. Greenburg, Zack O'Malley. "Canadian Invasion: Why Drake, The Weeknd And Justin Bieber Rule The Streaming World". Forbes. Retrieved 2020-05-03.
  13. Mitchell, Gail. "Drake Certified as RIAA's New Top Digital Singles Artist". Billboard. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  14. Trust, Gary (March 27, 2017). "Drake Breaks Hot 100 Records: Most Hits Among Solo Artists & Most Simultaneously Charted Songs". Billboard. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
  15. Trust, Gary (October 14, 2013). "Chart Highlights: Katy Perry, Drake, Bastille Score New No. 1s". Billboard. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  16. "The Weeknd No. 1 on Hot 100, Drake's 'Hotline Bling' Bounds to No. 2". Billboard.
  17. Forbes 100:
  18. "Justin Bieber Is the First Artist to Crack 10 Billion Views on Vevo". Billboard. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  19. "Shawn Mendes Scores No. 1 Album on Billboard 200 Chart". Billboard. 2018-06-03. Retrieved 2020-05-04.
  20. Serwer, Jesse. "A Complete History of Canada's Pop-Music Takeover". Thrillist. Retrieved 2020-05-07.
  21. Monroe, Jazz. "Grammys 2018: Alessia Cara Wins Best New Artist". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2020-05-07.

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