Best of Ottawa 2020: Local bands and musicians
?After over 20-years writing about life in Ottawa, we think we have a pretty good idea of the best of what this city has to offer. In this weekly series, we share our picks with you — our top hotels, live music venues, local brews, bands and more. Check, share and discuss #OLMBest every week!
Night Lovell went viral in 2014 at just 17 years old with his track “Dark Light” and is now recognized as one of the biggest artists in Canada’s underground hip-hop scene. The triple threat rapper, songwriter and producer has released three self-produced albums to critical acclaim. Lovell’s latest single, “I Heard You Were Looking For Me,” is haunting and electrifying with his laidback flow and the dark, deep beat.
Photo: Night Lovell Instagram
Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine
This duo met in Ottawa back in 2014 and have been making music together ever since. They got their big break in 2017 after competing in the reality show The Launch, through which they released their chart-topping single “Ain’t Easy.” Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine are on their way to international fame, but still maintain a strong presence locally with performances at events like Canada Day and Capital Pride.
Photo: Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine Facebook
DJ Prosper has been active in the music scene for over 20 years as a live DJ, rapper, producer and radio host. If you're a Sens fan, you probably recognize him. Prosper is the current official DJ for the team, pumping up the crowd before the games and during intermissions at the Canadian Tire Centre. Give his latest track “Mental Motivation” a listen, it has the perfect summer vibes to put you in a good mood!
Amos the Transparent
Amos the Transparent is a musical septet that has been rising in the indie rock scene for over a decade to critical acclaim. They’ve released three studio albums, as well as various EPs, and have toured with tons of fellow Canadian acts like Tokyo Police Club and Mother Mother. Their latest album Anniversaries, released in 2018, is a beautiful ode to the band’s time together and the growth of their sound.
Photo: B Fleming Photography
Silla and Rise
Frontwomen Cynthia Pitsiulak and Charlotte Qamaniq are originally from Nunavut, but came together as a band here in Ottawa. The JUNO-nominated Silla and Rise are one of the most unique groups in the Canadian music scene right now, merging traditional Inuit throat singing with modern electronic beats to form a sound that is mesmerizing and uniquely their own.
Photo: Silla + Rise Facebook
Valois describe themselves as “glam rock,” mixing dark synths with loud guitars and sweet harmonies, and we are so here for it. Their unique visuals and sounds are fun, captivating and a breath of fresh air among the more punk/grunge bands on the scene. Their latest EP Where All in This Together But You is a great option to add to your quarantine playlist.
Photo: Valois Facebook
At just 26 years old, country songstress Kira Isabella has already released three studio albums, charted on the Canadian Hot 100, won two CCMA awards and has toured with Carrie Underwood. This Ottawa gal hasn’t forgotten her roots though and can often be found playing local venues in the city. With influences ranging from Sheryl Crow to Taylor Swift, her sound is country with a modern, pop twist.
Photo: Oliver Ward
If you have a varied music palette, BLAKDENIM should be on your radar. This talented eight-piece band merges soul, R&B, hip-hop and rock to create a sound that is both modern and classic. Their punchy vocals and melodies are sure to have you on your feet! Stay tuned for their new album coming out later this summer featuring a collaboration with the legendary DMC of RUN DMC!
Photo: BLAKDENIM Instagram
Ottawa songstress Renée Landry knows how to bring the soul. Highly active in the local music scene, you’re likely to find her performing at many of the city’s popular festivals, bars, cafes and even the prestigious NAC. When she’s not busy playing shows with her band “The Cool,” she spends her time sharing her passion and talents with others as a vocal coach.
Photo: Kamara Morozuk
Consisting of married couple Jaaji and Chelsea June, Twin Flames is a band who’s synergy and heart is as real as it gets.The pair draw from the traditional music of their respective First Nations and Inuit backgrounds and blend it with folk-rock to create a sound that is experimental and inspiring. They have a new album on the way that is sure to further expand on their already unique and dreamy sound.
Photo: Travis Ross