Who is this Canadian singer/what was this TV show
September 11, 2022 6:26 PM   Subscribe

I saw a documentary on CBC or CTV in the early 2000s about a young female singer and I can't figure out who it was.

I live in Buffalo, and at the time, we could get Canadian stations on cable. I happened to come across this TV show or documentary and watched it because it was interesting and also kind of ridiculous, as the singer didn't seem to be anything special. This singer was in her early 20s at the time. She was working with a team of much older producers/songwriters who were touting her as the next big thing. Someone referred to the music as "groundbreaking" but it was all very average, banal pop music. I've looked through lists of female Canadian singers and no one matches (and to my knowledge, she never had any kind of big hit, so it's not Chantel Kreviasuk, Avril Lavigne, Nelly Furtado, or Carly Rae Jepsen)
posted by jonathanhughes to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Just double-checking the obvious - are you certain that this singer was Canadian herself?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:52 PM on September 11, 2022

Emily Haines isn't a super well known name solo, but she fronts the well-known band Metric

Feist was sometimes being called Leslie Feist back then, long before she broke out big

Maybe Régine Chassagne from Arcade Fire, another person whose name is less famous than her band (or the name of her husband the creepy frontman who's embroiled in sexual misconduct yuck right now)

Alexz Johnson - star of a TV show about pop stardom called Instant Star

Lights was my first guess on reading your question

Roberta Carter-Harrison of Wild Strawberries

Jane Siberry

Sarah Slean

Meryn Cadell, known for the song "The Sweater"

Sarah McLachlan had lots of hits but I'll mention her just in case
posted by nouvelle-personne at 6:53 PM on September 11, 2022 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: The singer was definitely Canadian (she had a very obvious Ontario accent).

nouvelle-personne, all good guesses, but she was definitely none of these.
posted by jonathanhughes at 6:57 PM on September 11, 2022

Melanie Doane?

Kim Stockwood?
posted by saturdaymornings at 7:04 PM on September 11, 2022

Beth Torbert, better known as Bif Naked?
posted by mhoye at 7:05 PM on September 11, 2022

Holly McNarland put out her second album in '02 but she would have been in her late '20s around then.

I happened across a series of articles doing a "where are they now?" on the "Best New Artist" winners at the Junos (the Canadian Grammys, basically): 1986–1999 and 2000–2014. The only name in there that fits the description and the timeline and hasn't been brought up yet is (I think) Serena Ryder, who didn't really get big until '07 but was active as early as '99.
posted by Johnny Assay at 7:30 PM on September 11, 2022

A couple more:
  • Sarah Harmer started a solo career in the early '00s; but she had previously been the lead of another band, and she was older than you're remembering by that time.
  • Christine Fellows started her solo career around that time but would also have been older than you remember.

posted by Johnny Assay at 7:47 PM on September 11, 2022

The timing is off, and she'd have been younger than 20s, but the combination of 'working with older producers/songwriters, touted as the next big thing and banal pop' made me think of the first incarnation of Alanis Morissette, here.
posted by kate4914 at 7:54 PM on September 11, 2022 [1 favorite]

Fefe Dobson? She’s from Ontario. Her “big” hit Stuttering was in 2010, but she could have been getting Canadian airtime before that.
posted by cgg at 8:38 PM on September 11, 2022

Fefe Dobson was one of my first guesses - her debut album in the early '00s got a lot of airplay north of the border.
posted by blerghamot at 8:44 PM on September 11, 2022

Jill Barber?
posted by Juniper Toast at 10:06 PM on September 11, 2022

I think it’s Tara MacLean.
posted by miles1972 at 12:29 AM on September 12, 2022

The timing might not be right, but my money's on Robin Daggers.
posted by adekllny at 8:23 AM on September 12, 2022

I think Lights is a good guess. She was managed by Jian Ghomesi (yup THAT Jian Ghomeshi), who at the time was a significant CBC personality and I remember always being super confused about the buzz around her. I can't find any evidence of a specific special on her but I would imagine there would be some kind of one-off thing.
posted by urbanlenny at 10:10 AM on September 12, 2022 [1 favorite]

Ooh, I just looked through Lights's IMDB and there was actually a 2009 mini-series called On Tour with Lights. The series is on her YouTube - here is episode 1. Seems it's maybe too late for the period you remember seeing it, though.
posted by urbanlenny at 10:13 AM on September 12, 2022

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