Being a successful musician requires a host of skills and abilities that can take you from dreaming of music success to making it a reality. For some iconic Canadian musicians, their skill set hasn’t stopped at creating chart-topping, award-winning tracks; it’s also encompassed an ability to successfully dive into business ventures of all shapes and sizes.
Who are these talented Canadian musicians and business-savvy people? Let’s take a look.
This Canadian icon hails from London, Ontario, and has become a global pop sensation. It turns out that his talents don’t just lie in music; they extend to a knack for business as well. In 2019, Bieber partnered with Ryan Good to create a streetwear clothing brand dubbed Drew House.
The clothing brand first launched with various corduroy items embroidered with the word ‘Drew.’ Today, you can find a wide range of t-shirts, jeans, sweatpants, sweaters, hats, socks, and even stickers.
On top of creating this successful clothing business, he’s also used his business savvy to invest in start-ups that we all now know and love, Spotify and Beats Audio.
Drake, the Toronto-born and raised rapper who has risen to icon status, not only acts and records music but also dabbles in business ventures—and does so successfully. His ventures vary from creating his own record label to a fashion label and whiskey brand. He also earns $100 million annually, endorsing Stake.com, a major online casino brand similar to JackpotCity Canada.
His record label, OVO Sound, has signed a handful of artists and had an estimated worth of $50 million in 2018. Meanwhile, his clothing line, named OVO, aka October’s Very Own, has created high-profile partnerships with designers, teams (like his beloved Toronto Raptors), and sports agencies (like the NHL and NBA).
As if these two ventures and making his music weren’t keeping him busy enough, Drake also has his own brand of whiskey, Virginia Black.
Avril Lavigne, from Belleville, Ontario, rose to fame in the early 2000s with her pop meets rock album featuring songs like “Sk8er Boi” and “Complicated.” She’s still making music, and just like Drake and Bieber, she’s also shown off her business savvy.
In 2008, this rock’n’roll Canadian launched a rock’n’roll-inspired clothing line called Abbey Dawn during New York Fashion Week. According to MTV, the new clothing line was even modeled by Kylie Jenner during the show. The line featured various looks inspired by Avril’s punk-rock style. The brand still exists today, though with fewer options, but has hoodies, t-shirts, hats, and even socks in her signature all-black style.
The “I Just Haven’t Met You Yet” singer from Burnaby, British Columbia, is a Grammy award winner known worldwide for his vocal talent and songwriting abilities. (Plus, he’s also done some entertaining work starring in Bubly—or should we say Bublé?—sparkling water ads.) However, you may not know that Bublé is also a savvy business owner, making his mark in the realm of liquor and spirits with his own brand of whiskey.
Earlier this year, Bublé launched the Fraser & Thompson whiskey brand with Paul Cirka. The two worked together to create a union of Canadian whisky and Kentucky bourbon that’s said to deliver notes of blood orange and fig.
Céline Dion grew up in Charlemagne, Quebec, and is known for her powerful vocals and the iconic Titanic song everyone knows. Alongside her award-winning vocal talent, Dion also brings a powerful presence to the business world through successful ventures ranging from the music and food industries to the perfume industry.
She’s the president of a Canadian talent agency, co-founder of Nickles Bar & Grill, and co-owner of a Pure restaurant. She has her own perfume brand called Céline Dion Parfum. With a list of successful ventures like that, it’s safe to say this Canadian icon is definitely a savvy businessperson.
The Canadian Music Hall of Fame rock star singer-songwriter Bryan Adams hails from Kingston, Ontario. He is a Canadian icon known globally for his chart-topping hits like “Cuts Like a Knife” and “Summer of ’69.” But music isn’t the only thing Adams is known for. Through his life and career, he’s also become widely recognized for his photography and social activism.
Of course, being a successful photographer requires some business savvy, but it’s his social activism that really shows off his business capabilities.
His interest in promoting a plant-based diet and positively altering the food landscape has led him to become a founding member of Bettermoo(d). It embodies his desire to protect animal rights and the planet. Bettermoo(d) offers dairy-free alternatives for foods like butter, yogurt, and cheese.
Neil Young, born in Toronto, Ontario, and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, is known and loved for his singing-songwriting abilities. He has even been dubbed the “Grandfather of Grunge.” His business prowess has shown throughout his career with ideas from train controls that helped form Liontech to a high-resolution music system called PonoMusic.
Young launched PonoMusic in 2012 to bring his dream of high-quality music streaming and players to life. Though the business was short-lived, Quartz points out that this business idea can be credited for helping the music industry as a whole. Young’s drive to create a high-quality streaming platform helped push competitors (like Apple and Spotify) to create even better-quality music platforms for their users.
On top of this, the superstar has also founded and planned charitable initiatives that align with his values and personal life. His son’s experience with cerebral palsy drove Young and his wife to develop Bridge School, where children with disabilities receive specialized education. And he’s had a leading hand in creating Farm Aid benefit concerts.
While the failure of his music business may make you question his business savvy, his ideas, drive, passion, and successful foundations paint another picture entirely.
Business Sav Comes in All Shapes and Genres
For the Canadian musicians moving into business ventures, it seems there are no bounds on the size or type of business they can dream up. Just as the genre of music varies from artist to artist, so do the kinds of businesses they offer the world.