Beverly Glenn-Copeland's love letter to his West African roots, and 6 more songs you need to hear this week
Listen to fresh Canadian tracks from Preston Pablo, Katie Tupper, Duncan Hopkins Quartet and more
Here at CBC Music, we're always on high alert for new songs by Canadian artists.
This week, we're listening to new tracks from:
- Beverly Glenn-Copeland.
- Katie Tupper.
- Duncan Hopkins Quartet.
- Preston Pablo.
- Emotional Oranges, Nonso Amadi.
- Quintana Mills featuring FrvrFriday
Scroll down to find out why you need to listen, too.
What new Canadian tunes are you currently obsessed with? Share them with us on Instagram @cbc_music.
To hear more about these standout songs, tune in to CBC Music Mornings every Thursday (Canada-wide) with producer Ryan Chung and host Saroja Coelho, and Here and Now with Gill Deacon every Wednesday afternoon (in Toronto). Both are available via CBC Listen.
'She Said,' Katie Tupper
Katie Tupper has been dropping delicious bread-crumb singles the last few months, and with her latest offering, "She Said," the Saskatoon-based neo-soul singer (finally) announced it would all culminate in a June 23 EP titled Where to Find Me. "Each song I write and work on brings me one step closer to what I want my music to sound like," she said via press release. "This EP is the closest I've felt yet." On "She Said," Tupper lets us in on some what-if daydreaming, kicking off the song with an under-her-breath mantra — "Maybe in some other life" — before weaving her vocals around the instruments, playing with the horns and quiet spaces to press on the things that could've been. Tupper's voice is assured and vibrant, as she steps closer to the artist she wants to become. As a beautiful bonus, the video for "She Said" is horse-filled and filmed in Saskatchewan — another ode to the singer's home province. — Holly Gordon
'Foxy Trot,' Duncan Hopkins Quartet
In September, it will be nine years since Canadian trumpeter and composer Kenny Wheeler died, marking the end of his six-decade career, primarily in jazz. But for bassist Duncan Hopkins, the loss of Wheeler also represents something new: Who Are You?, a tribute album due out May 26. Hopkins's quartet includes former Wheeler collaborators like himself: Ted Quinlan and Reg Schwager (guitar) and Michel Lambert (drums). Lead single "Foxy Trot" is classic Wheeler — a sly exploration of its quasi-titular dance's 4/4 rhythm, with off-kilter metric accents that keep you on your toes. Hopkins takes the first solo, spritely but understated with a plush tone. Schwager and Quinlan follow in turn, each gracing the tune with his own unique lyricism while Lambert responds to every nuance with mesmerizing detail. Not only a loving tribute, but also a thoroughly exciting session from some of Canada's jazz greats. — Robert Rowat
'For Keeps,' Preston Pablo
Hot off the heels of his breakthrough artist-of-the-year win at the 2023 Juno Awards, Preston Pablo is gearing up for a busy summer of festival performances. To mark that, Pablo has released "For Keeps," perhaps his most upbeat single yet — and a strong contender for song of the summer. Produced by frequent collaborator Banx & Ranx, the track's handclap-led rhythm section and shimmering rhythm guitar give the track a bright and fun sheen as Pablo sings about "shooting your shot" with someone who is playing hard to get, as he says in a press statement: "It's a very lighthearted and playful take on a classic love story." While Pablo's output up to this point has primarily highlighted his skills as a rising R&B act, "For Keeps" also proves that the Timmons, Ont., singer has the ambition and talent to be a chart-topping pop star. — Melody Lau
'Not Worthy,' Emotional Oranges, Nonso Amadi
It's only been a few weeks since Nonso Amadi's last release, "Danger," and he's back again with another track. The Nigerian-Canadian artist has had a busy 2023 so far, and things are really heating up ahead of the release of his debut album, When It Blooms, out May 26. Amadi hooked up with Los Angeles R&B duo Emotional Oranges on "Not Worthy," a meditative, slow burn of a song about feeling like you're not measuring up to the person your lover thinks you are. In the second verse he sings, "Girl, I'm not worthy/ to receive this loving," over amapiano drums and gentle guitar, the beautiful production contrasting the heartbreaking sentiment of the lyrics. In the seven years he's been releasing music, Amadi has cemented his position as a leader in the Afrobeats scene in Canada — and with his upcoming album he'll definitely maintain his reign. — Kelsey Adams
'Africa Calling,' Beverly Glenn-Copeland
Beverly Glenn-Copeland's voice is all gold-dusk shimmer and lush sunsets. It is impossible to listen to him sing and not be held by the immersive warmth of his tone, to lose yourself in the rich hues and textures of the wondrous landscapes he creates between notes. On his irresistible love letter to his roots, "Africa Calling," Glenn-Copeland pairs his magic-hour vocals with polyrhythmic beats that honour his West African heritage.
"In the '80s I had the honour of performing with an incredible artist named Dido, a master of the drums indigenous to West Africa," Glenn-Copeland said via press release. "Over the years, in many conversations, I have come to understand that I share an undefinable, unnamed feeling — a calling — with many other members of the African diaspora, a bone-deep need to explore and express our heritage. Alongside the grief, there is a longing to know our roots, hidden from us as family lines were torn apart in the terrible days of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. In a world still caught in the ties of colonialism, I know I am not alone in needing to heed the call of this generations-old longing."
"Africa Calling" manages to make space for that grief, longing and injustice while also celebrating the beauty of Glenn-Copeland's ancestral drumming traditions. As the debut single, it's also a powerful preview of Glenn-Copeland's forthcoming album, The Ones Ahead, which will be his first new record in almost 20 years. — Andrea Warner
'Intense City,' Skiifall
Skiifall's knack for blending diasporic African sounds is on full display on his latest mixtape, Woiiyoie Tapes Vol. 2 - Intense City. From hip-hop to U.K. drill to reggae, the Montreal MC moves effortlessly between genres, creating his own hybrid-like sound. "Intense City," the thesis statement of the project, starts with a breezy, old-school reggae riddim that gets a modern touch from glitchy synths. The mixtape revolves around the contentious relationship between Black communities and militant law enforcement around the world; an early single, "Yuteman Denis," is about a friend of Skiifall's who died in custody after being illegally detained and restrained by guards. In a defiant moment in the first verse of "Intense City" he says, "This is my freedom song," insisting that he will not be kept down by the systemic forces that work to push Black people to the margins of society. CBC Music called Skiifall a breakout artist of 2022, and his new music proves that he's still making all the right moves. — KA
'High Hopes,' Quintana Mills, FrvrFriday
Over the past few years, Quintana Mills has been behind the scenes engineering some of your favourite underground artists from the West Coast and Toronto, including 312Keelo, ParisPlayedYou, NorthSideBenji and more. Through his expertise in mixing, mastering and production, Mills found himself inspired by the people he was lucky enough to work with. He began releasing singles himself in 2020, followed by his debut EP in 2021. Mills then took a step back from releasing music — presumably preparing for this year's impressive rollout. The new single "High Hopes'' is one of the artist's strongest efforts to date, and also features his biggest collaborator yet: Juno-nominated FrvrFriday. The two go back and forth over a hard-hitting but spacious beat that features just as much melodic detail as it does unique drum patterns. Seamlessly exchanging verses and hooks, they match each other's energy and tone. The song is as aspirational as it is catchy, setting the scene for what we hope is a big summer for Quintana Mills. — Bhaven Moorthy