O Canada! 7 Artists You May Not Know Are Canadian


As Canadians celebrate the nation’s 152nd birthday, iHeartRadio celebrates musical talent that you may not have known came from Canada.

Did you know the lead singers of Chicago and Styx come from Canada? Or that there are members of Bon Jovi and Smash Mouth who hail from the North? Or that a pair of siblings from Canada are pop stars across the pond?

Here are a few homegrown artists doing their thing on the world stage:


If you’re familiar with Bonnie Tyler’s 1983 hit “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” you’re also familiar with the voice of Rory Dodd – who sings “turn around bright eyes.” A native of Port Dover, Ont., Dodd also did backing vocals on all but one track on Meat Loaf’s 1977 album Bat Out of Hell.

Both songs were penned by Jim Steinman, who told iHeartRadio.ca in 2017: “Rory has an absolutely beautiful voice. He gets the songs too, and that's important to me.”

Dodd’s voice also graces Air Supply’s “Making Love Out of Nothing At All” and on albums by the likes of Billy Joel, James Taylor, Barry Manilow and Céline Dion.


A veteran session musician, Neil Donell became the new lead vocalist of classic rock band Chicago in 2018. Originally from Montreal, he went to university in Fredericton and now calls Toronto home.

Donell’s voice has reportedly backed artists like Willie Nelson, Michael Bolton and Shania Twain.

“To make a good living in this business you have to be adaptable and be versatile,” he told the Cape Breton Post in 2018. “I’ve dabbled in everything from hard rock to jazz to country so it’s makes for an interesting career.”


Born Theofilos Xenidis in Toronto, Phil X officially replaced Richie Sambora as lead guitarist in Bon Jovi in 2016 – after five years of stepping in for him from time to time.

He previously played with Canada’s Aldo Nova and Triumph and appeared on tracks by acts like Avril Lavigne, Tommy Lee, Chris Cornell, Kelly Clarkson and Adam Lambert.

Phil X also taught the stars of 2001’s made-in-Vancouver movie Josie and the Pussycats how to look they were actually playing their instruments.


California band Smash Mouth was co-founded in 1994 by bassist Paul De Lisle, who hails from Exeter, Ont. and once went to hockey school in St. Catharines.

He and Steve Harwell are the only original members still in the band, which had hits like “All Star” and “Walkin’ on the Sun.”

Bonus: Smash Mouth’s current drummer is veteran Canadian session musician Randy Cooke, who was born in Toronto.


Natalie Appleton and her younger sister Nicole Appleton are bigger stars in the UK than they are in their native Canada.

Both were born in Ontario (Mississauga and Hamilton respectively) to a British mom and Canadian dad and spent some time living in Toronto.

The sisters joined All Saints, an all-female pop group that has had a string of No. 1 hits in the UK, including “Never Ever,” “Bootie Call,” “Black Coffee” and “Pure Shores.” They have won BRIT Awards and MTV Europe Music Awards.

Natalie married Liam Howlett of The Prodigy in 2002 and Nicole married Liam Gallagher of Oasis in 2008 (and divorced in 2014).


Although he was born in Scotland, Lawrence Gowan came to Canada as a youth and studied at Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music.

As Gowan, he had a successful career in Canada in the ‘80s with hits like “A Criminal Mind,” “(You’re A) Strange Animal” and “Moonlight Desires.” He racked up a dozen Juno nominations.

Gowan replaced Dennis DeYoung as lead singer of Styx in 1999 and has been with the band ever since.