When it comes looking to the past, a “wise” man once said, “Let us be rid of it, once and for all. Come on, Mr. Frodo.” But then I remember Dave Chappelle once telling me that sometimes you have to race. What do either of those things really mean? Essentially, nothing other than this time we’re breaking the rules. Let’s travel back in time and take a look at the big winners of 2015.
So what was the biggest win of 2015? Was it Holly Holm’s knockout of the previously unstoppable force known as Ronda Rousey? How about the Golden State Warriors dominating Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals? Or maybe you’re thinking it was the trouncing of the New York Mets by the Kansas City Royals in the World Series. All fine answers, but still wrong. The biggest win of 2015? That’s easy. It was Canadian music artists versus everyone else.
Canada completely owned the music scene in 2015. If they were a sports team, they would be the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, if that Bulls team had three Michael Jordans. Canada is home to not only three of the biggest music artists of last year, but arguably three of the biggest popular culture icons as well.
Let’s start with the artist formerly known as Wheelchair Jimmy. Drake basically broke the internet on October 19 when he released the video for Hotline Bling. What Drake did in his Hotline Bling video would have probably ruined the career of almost any other hip-hop artist. The turtleneck sweater, the minimal look of the video, and of course the dancing. It was a parody waiting to be made. But somehow, as he always seems to do, Drake came out on top.
The video now has around 400 million views, and the song held a spot in top five on the Billboard Hot 100 for 16 weeks. You can hear it playing in essentially any club from Oshawa to Toronto, and see professional athletes like Mark Ingram and Justin Tucker celebrate touchdowns and field goals with those infamous dance moves.
Don’t expect Drake’s momentum to slow down any time soon either. He’s set to coach Team Canada in the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game in Toronto on February 12, and rumours are his highly anticipated album Views From the 6 won’t be too far behind.
So, after all of that, who could have been bigger than Drake? Well, Sorry if you still haven’t realized this kid is a star, but it is of course Justin Bieber.
He had a massive 2015, capped off by the release of his fourth studio album Purpose. He went head-to-head with pop powerhouses One Direction, and smashed them on the Billboard 200 in the first week of their same-week releases. Purpose debuted at number one with 649-thousand equivalent album units, while Made in the A.M. by One Direction could only muster 459-thousand units at the two spot.
2015 saw Bieber pull a complete 180 after multiple years defined by controversy and bad press. It’s fair to say that he’s back in a big way, and isn’t slowing down. Bieber finally dethroned the queen of the Billboard charts on January 23, as a song not named Hello is number one for the first time in over two months. The only people Bieber needs to say sorry to is his competition.
So you’re probably sitting there and wondering who could have had a bigger year than those two popular culture giants? Well, in 2015, everyone was living for The Weeknd. He had two number one hits on the Billboard Hot 100, with Can’t Feel My Face and The Hills. Those songs were first and second on the Billboard charts for the week of September 26. He then became the 12th artist or band in history to replace his own song as number one on the charts.
His song Earned It for the movie Fifty Shades of Grey peaked at number three, and is nominated for an Oscar. He headline the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, performed at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in June, and unofficially had the best hair of 2015. The Weeknd has gone from releasing free mixtapes and featuring on Drake’s albums to running the charts, selling out stadiums and becoming a star in his own right.
This doesn’t even begin to describe how Canada dominated the music scene in 2015. Shawn Mendes had a massive year with his multiple chart–topping hits and Alessia Cara showed us she’s Here to stay. During the final week of 2015, the Boxing Day edition of the Billboard Hot 100 saw Canadian artists occupying positions two through eight.
The Canadian music scene took over last year, and their momentum is sure to carry into the future. As of the week of February 6, they hold eight of the top 15 spots on the Billboard charts and show no signs of slowing down. The combination of youth and diversity in genres is sure to guarantee you hear about these artists for many years to come. And if you’ve made it this far and are still wondering why “wise” was in quotations at the top, it’s because the real name of Sam from The Lord of the Rings was Samwise Gamgee.