Osheaga 2024: Why you should look out for these 5 Canadian artists performing at this year's festival

From Billianne to Wild Rivers, Canadian musicians are gearing up for electrifying performances in Montreal this August.

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JULY 30: General atmosphere at the Osheaga Music and Arts Festival at Parc Jean-Drapeau on July 30, 2022 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Mark Horton/Getty Images)
This year, the Osheaga Music and Arts Festival runs from Aug. 2 to 4 at Parc Jean-Drapeau in Montreal. (Photo by Mark Horton/Getty Images)

Osheaga 2024 might still be a few months away, but there's a range of talent you won't want to miss at this year's festival. Breakout artist Noah Kahan, punk-rock legends Green Day and R&B superstar SZA are set to headline the 17th edition of Canada's biggest music and arts festival — but there's still much more to get excited for.

Performers like alt-rock icons The Smashing Pumpkins, Grammy winner Tyla, "Mean Girls" star Reneé Rapp and indie sensation Hozier are filling up the Osheaga lineup this year. But on top of those big names, there are several Canadian artists rounding out a list that offers something for all music lovers.

Indie pop band Alvvays — which formed in Charlottetown back in 2011 — will likely draw a big crowd, especially as the only Canadian act that has top billing this year. But smaller artists also shouldn't be looked over, including Quebec City-born electronic musician CRi, Montreal soul-pop singer Léonie Gray and Edmonton-native rapper Cadence Weapon.

The Osheaga Music and Arts Festival runs from Aug. 2 to 4 this year in Montreal's Parc Jean-Drapeau. While some of music's fan-favourites will take over Canada's second-largest city later this summer, who are some of the other acts you should watch for? Here are five Canadian performers you might want to catch at Osheaga 2024.

Billianne of Milton, Ont. is ready to take on Osheaga 2024. (Photo by Gemma Warren)
Billianne of Milton, Ont. is ready to take on Osheaga 2024, where she'll perform on Aug. 2. (Photo by Gemma Warren)

For singer-songwriter Billianne, getting in front of a crowd of smiling fans as the warm sun beams down is what has her most excited about August. Those fresh rays of summer sunshine is exactly what the Milton, Ont. native's music sounds like, and her upcoming set will be the biggest of her career yet.

"It's actually going to be my first time at Osheaga, and I'm bringing my whole band," the 21-year-old rising star told Yahoo Canada. "I'm hoping to actually have, for the first time, four other members with me. So, it's going to be the biggest band that I've played with so far.

"I'm going to be playing some new music. A lot of the old music, but a lot of new stuff that I've been working on as I'm discovering my sound still."

While it's only been a couple of years since she began taking her music career more seriously, Billianne was lucky enough to get a massive jumpstart early on. In 2021, her acoustic cover of Tina Turner's classic hit "The Best" went viral on social media, garnering millions of views on TikTok. A lullaby-style cover of "Que Sera Sera" she shared on the platform the following year has also since gotten more than 18 million views.

While she noted being invited to perform at Osheaga was both a "big deal" and an "honour," there's a lot in store for Billianne. Last year, she took the stage at Ottawa Bluesfest and headlined her own show at Toronto's Axis Club, while also releasing her debut EP, "The Things We Talk About." But in 2024, she's prepping to tour North America as an opener for Australian band Hollow Coves in June, while also planning her own mini-tour in the U.K. and Europe later this fall.

As she explores her artistry beyond her folk-inspired tunes, she said she's aiming to release a new pop-led song ahead of her Osheaga set on Aug. 2. She also wants audiences to look out when she sings her song "No Wonder," a vocal-heavy tune reminiscent of an Adele ballad she said showcases her personal story best.

"I'm probably going to be sharing a few new genres of music on the stage for the first time that I've never really showed online yet," she added.

"Going forward, what I'm trying to do, is just have the most fun with my music I possibly can. I think you can still have fun while being emotional and telling your honest story, so I'm trying to bridge those gaps."

Wild Rivers consists of from left: Devan Glover, Andrew Oliver and Khalid Yassein. (Photo by Weird Candy/Alex Berger)
From left: Devan Glover, Andrew Oliver and Khalid Yassein of Wild Rivers will take the stage at Osheaga 2024 on Aug. 2. (Photo by Weird Candy/Alex Berger)

Listening to Wild Rivers' music might sound like something you want to throw on when you're trying to get cozy on a chilly mid-afternoon. But when the indie trio takes the stage, their goal is to give anything but a mellow, low key show.

"I feel like the fun part about festivals for us is we get to put on more of a rock show," Devan Glover, one of the group's vocalists, told Yahoo Canada. "A lot of our recorded music is very acoustic and chill, but for the live set — especially for festivals and outdoor venues — we love to bring up the energy a little bit."

Wild Rivers first began forming around 2013, when Glover connected with Khalid Yassein at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont. While initially beginning as an acoustic project, the duo added Andrew Oliver on guitar and synths to round out their sound.

Since then, the band has seen lots of success focusing on their sound as live performers, something Glover said they "pride ourselves on." They released their debut self-titled album in 2016, followed by two EPs and a sophomore album, "Sidelines," in 2022. In the past year, the group was nominated for Breakthrough Artist of the Year at the 2023 Junos, toured as support with The Chicks across North America and supported fellow Osheaga 2024 performer Noah Kahan on his tour in the U.K. and Ireland in February.

Now, Wild Rivers is focusing on even bigger moves in 2024. Earlier in May, they released their latest single, "Anyways, I Love You," which shows off their smooth harmonies against an acoustic, rich backdrop. On top of their Osheaga set on Aug. 2 and soon-to-come new music, they're set to perform at the Calgary Folk Music Festival in July, then Riverfest Elora in Ontario this August. Their headlining "Everywhere We Go" North American tour will follow starting in September, with stops in Vancouver on Oct. 6 and Toronto on Dec. 6.

"We're at a point in our lives where we're focused on being happy, or at least working hard towards being happy," Glover added. "So we wanted to have a little more positivity in the upcoming music. That's something that we're also really excited about to translate live."

Talk performs during the Juno awards, in Halifax on Sunday, March 24, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese
TALK will perform at Osheaga 2024 on Aug. 3. (The Canadian Press/Darren Calabrese)

One of the biggest rising artists in Canada's current music landscape, TALK, will also showcase his talents on stage at Osheaga this year on Aug. 3. Since breaking out with his 2021 hit "Run Away to Mars," the Ottawa-born singer-songwriter has seen a great deal of acclaim with his music.

The indie rock artist saw lots of success with that debut song in 2022, after it went viral on TikTok and skyrocketed on the charts. Last fall, he opened on Shania Twain's "Queen of Me" tour, where he played his first-ever arena show for one of his favourite artists: "Any time you're an opener, I feel like you just want to go in and win people over and have fun," he told CBC's "Q with Tom Power" podcast the day after the first show.

TALK also received several nominations for the 2024 Juno Awards, including Songwriter of the Year, Album of the Year, Alternative Album of the Year and Single of the Year. He also snagged a Breakthrough Artist of the Year nomination, which he ended up winning this past March in Halifax. Earlier this May, he wrapped his tour across the U.S. and Canada for his first album, "Lord of the Flies & Bees & Birds."

It's a chain of achievements the Canadian musician is seemingly getting in return as good karma. He told Rolling Stone magazine last year his artistry is all about connecting with others and spreading positive spirits.

"It's all about love and acceptance and happiness and positivity," he noted. "So that's one half of TALK, and then the other half is that I talk a lot. I never shut up."

Myst Milano. (Photo by Emily Guitar)
Toronto rapper, producer and singer Myst Milano is set to give her live show at Osheaga 2024 on Aug. 4. (Photo by Emily Guitar)

For anyone looking for a bit of high-energy fun at Osheaga, you won't want to miss Myst Milano's set. The Toronto rapper, producer and singer will perform a live show on Aug. 4 of their 2023 album, "Beyond the Uncanny Valley," a project encouraging listeners to let loose as it dives into the dance and electronic spheres.

They first premiered that live show last October at The Garrison in Toronto for the Project Nowhere festival. It's a "quite theatrical" show, Milano told Yahoo Canada, adding there's lots of choreography and eye-catching outfits in the production. While they said it may see a few changes once August rolls around, "you'll have to stay tuned for what we have in store."

For years, Milano has been a dynamic figure in Toronto's nightlife scene, playing dozens of shows, DJing numerous warehouse raves, partnering with Club Quarantine and being vital to the city's ballroom scene. Their 2021 debut album, "Shapeshyfter," pulls together elements of hip-hop, rap and electronic music, eventually being long-listed for the Polaris Music Prize the following year.

Currently, Milano is working on a side project where they're focusing more on production as opposed to rapping: "It's electronic music and I'm really excited to expand on this side of my creativity and this side of my personality to go more rave ready," they noted. But as they aim to release new music later this year and prepare for Osheaga this summer, Milano added they can't wait to share their art on a larger platform.

"I am most excited about doing this show on such a big stage," they shared. "I think you could easily say as far as live music goes that Osheaga is probably the biggest festival in Canada. So, it's a real honour to be able to play for that crowd and be invited to that stage.

"This show would be a great introduction to Myst Milano because it really does have everything that makes me who I am as an artist. It has dancing and it has a storyline, and it's engaging and fun and the music is there."

Justin Tessier (L) and Tarek Jafar of The Blue Stones perform at St Andrews Hall on May 26, 2023 in Detroit. (Photo by Scott Legato/Getty Images)
Justin Tessier (left) and Tarek Jafar of The Blue Stones will perform at Osheaga 2024 on Aug. 4. (Photo by Scott Legato/Getty Images)

Osheaga attendees who lean towards rock music might find solace in watching The Blue Stones play in Montreal this summer. Formed by Windsor, Ont.-natives Tarek Jafar and Justin Tessier, the duo will take the stage on Aug. 4 with their blues-rock sound that has captivated numerous fans since 2011.

The Juno award winners were recently openers for fellow Ontario band The Glorious Sons on "The Glory Tour," where they played shows across North America starting last fall into this past winter. Prior to that, The Blue Stones were touring their 2022 album, "Pretty Monster," across the United States and Europe last year.

According to The Gateway, the duo's sound — which features Jafar on vocals, guitar, bass and keys, with Tessier on drums and backing vocals — pulls from artists like hip-hop star J. Cole, alt-rock band Mutemath and rock duo The Black Keys.

"Pretty Monster," which was nominated for Rock Album of the Year at the 2024 Junos, was written and recorded over 35 straight days, MNRK Heavy noted last March. "Our mission with this album is to give rock 'n' roll a fresh coat of paint," Jafar shared. "Track after track features heavy hitting riffs over tight beats that are tough enough for the fighters, and sweet enough for the lovers. It's an album dedicated to controlled chaos. An untamed beast contained within a beautiful exterior."