Canada Listens: Ria Mae

Canadian soccer star Stephanie Labbé champions Ria Mae's self-titled album.

Canadian soccer star Stephanie Labbé champions Ria Mae's self-titled album

Canadian soccer star Stephanie Labbé will be defending Ria Mae's self-titled album on Canada Listens 2022. (CBC / Dave Holland)

The smile. That's how we will likely always remember Canadian soccer goalie Stephanie Labbé, when she was being stared down by the Swedish penalty kickers, in arguably one of Canada's all-time greatest sporting events. A few moments later, Labbé emerged as a champion gold medallist with the rest of her teammates at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

But how many spectacular verbal saves can Labbé make in our country's great music debate? We shall see! Labbé has chosen a record by Halifax pop star Ria Mae, which clearly means a lot to the now retired professional athlete.

"For me, this album is the true representation of someone living their truth and following their passion," says Labbé. "Ria's music encourages inclusivity, which is exactly what this country needs right now."

Ria Mae first exploded out of Halifax and onto the international pop scene in 2015 with her surprise indie-gone-platinum hit "Clothes Off," which spent 20 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100. Mae's self-titled album, produced by frequent collaborator and co-writer Classified, followed a year later. The honest and original pop album packed in gold-selling followup hits such as "Ooh Love" and "Bend." Two Juno nominations followed, for single and pop album of the year.

Check out this year's album trailers, panelist pre-interviews and more here.

Canada Listens is hosted by CBC Music's Saroja Coelho. She will guide the panellists through four radio shows of passionate debate. Each day, starting Monday, April 11 on CBC Music (8 a.m. on Mornings, 5 p.m. repeat on Drive) the panellists will vote to remove one album from the group, leaving one album spinning on Thursday, April 14. 

A special two-hour version, highlighting the best of the 2022 Canada Listens debate, will air on CBC Radio One on Monday, April 18 at 4 p.m. (4:30 NT).

The Canada Listens winner becomes the one album Canada needs to hear.

  • Bruce Cockburn's Further Adventures Of, championed by "Survivorman" Les Stroud. 
  • Mustafa's When Smoke Rises, championed by comedian Dave Merheje.
  • Crown Land's Crown Lands, championed by poet Erica Violet Lee. 
  • Ria Mae's Ria Mae, championed by Olympic athlete Stephanie Labbé.
  • Jacksoul's Sleepless, championed by actor Kim Roberts.

Which Canadian album would you suggest? Tweet us @CBCMusic with #CanadaListens and let us know!

5 celebrity panelists will debate which album Canadians should mostly definitely hear in 2022. (CBC)