Everyone can be a Shirley! This isn’t a personal opinion; it comes straight from the mouth of trio Les Shirley, who’ve been together for nearly five years. Raphaëlle Chouinard (voice, guitar), Sarah Dion (bass), and Lisandre Bourdages (drums) are a band we’d all love to be in. The condition to be admitted? “Be a good friend.” Following Forever is Now (2021), their current LP More is More (released in October2022) shows a deep desire to give more. Good thing is, we always want more.

Les Shirley, Nothing Compares

Click on the image to play the Les Shirley video “Nothing Compares”

“We wrote ‘Nothing Compares’ on our first day in the studio. The song is three minutes long and it took us nine minutes to record it,” says Chouinard. At the time, Les Shirley had just returned from a major European tour during which Agathe Dupéré (pataugeoire) had replaced Sarah Dion on bass. Dion had to let her “baby” go without her, because she was also required to go on tour with NOBRO in Western Canada to support Billy Talent. Bourdages also had to find a replacement in NOBRO, of which she’s also a member.

“Everybody had just returned from two to three very intense weeks. A lot of stuff happened, and we had to cross a few T’s and dot a few I’s. We talked about it all, and the song was created in a river of tears,” Dion recalls, laughing wholeheartedly alongside her two accomplices. “It felt good!”

As the band’s lyricist, Chouinard feels like she’s experiencing a paradigm shift that’s taking her back to her first song lyrics with the band Syzzors.

“Back then, it was ultra-personal,” she says. “I wrote about relationships, and certain types of addiction. So, when we started playing with Les Shirley, I felt like writing about futile stuff. And then the pandemic brought about a lot of introspection for everyone. I needed that deepness to re-surface, so I wrote about solitude and emotional rollercoasters.”

Les Shirley first thought of Marie-Pierre Arthur to co-produce More is More with them. Then they ghosted her, as they remember while giggling, to try their luck with an American producer. Then they did an about-face, and begged Arthur – “the ultimate Shirley” – to get on board. “We love her to death. We’re fans,” says Dion. “We knew that she was good, but her music expertise is really hard to explain, she’s just incredible.”

As for Chouinard, she admires Arthur’s skills as a teacher. “Our demos were very finished, and her fresh ears helped us change the structures since she wasn’t attached to those songs yet,” she says. “The vocal sessions were quite esoteric. Ryan Battistuzzi [their sound engineer] would tweak my accent, while Marie-Pierre asked me to change the intent. She’d give me instructions like, ‘you have to dig,’ or ‘this song passage has to be a cone.’ But even though it looked off-the-wall, she made me understand stuff. I would come out of those sessions completely dishevelled.”

Les Shirley, It's Time

Click on the image to play the Les Shirley video “It’s Time”

“Seriously, it looked like she’d been in a tsunami,” Dion adds. In the end, working with an authority on music such as Arthur “was the best decision we could make,” Bourdages says unequivocally. “And whether or not that makes our album a women power project, we picked her because she’s the best, not because she’s a woman.”

This feminine power is hard to ignore, and frankly, it’s simply power. Montréal’s Fairmount Theatre shook during their release party. There were wooden flames framing the trio, accompanied by four other musicians for the occasion, including Arthur. “When one of us tries to do one of Marie-Pierre’s parts during a show, we take the full measure of how much we’ve been coached by someone who’s talented, because it’s always difficult,” laughs Bourdages. “It’s direct, it’s straightforward, and it’s always on point.”

You’ll definitely feel better if you sing along to the entire album, no matter what your troubles are. The voices of the three Shirleys – which blend together several times to generate a power harmony both on the recording and onstage – is a breath of life, a necessary energy.

“Maybe it’s the energy of despair, Chouinard suggests, “a way to scream out that the pandemic was quite rocky, but we got through it.” “We’ve played a lot of shows since the first album and it gave us the confidence to allow ourselves to sing together in harmony,” adds Dion. “We know nothing is easy,” Bourdages jumps in, “and maybe it’s by screaming it all together that we’ll finally jump to the other side of the tough part.” See you on the other side!

As we look forward to 2023, Words & Music and Paroles & Musique also remember and celebrate 2022, with Top 10 Lists of SOCAN members’ songs from some of our regular contributors. Happy Holidays!


Eric ParazelliEric Parazelli
Eric Parazelli is the Editor of SOCAN’s online magazine Paroles & Musique and Manager of Francophone Communications for SOCAN.


1. Lydia Képinski – “Depuis”
2. Vulgaires Machins – “Aisle”
3. P’tit Belliveau – “Demain”
4. Les Louanges – “Facile”
5. Les Trois Accords – “Pâté chinois”
6. Ariane Roy et Lou-Adriane Cassidy – “Fille à porter”
7. Marilyne Léonard – “Dans la foule”
8. Lisa LeBlanc – “Gossip”
9. Rymz – “Hédoniste”
10. Gab Bouchard – “Trou d’eau”


Howard DruckmanHoward Druckman
Howard Druckman is the Editor of SOCAN’s Words &  Music online magazine.



1. Julian Taylor – “Wide Awake”
2. Jessie Reyez – “Only One”
3. TOBi – “Flowers”
4. Fortunate Ones – “Day to Day”
5. Beaches – “I’ll Grow Up Tomorrow”
6. Lisa LeBlanc – “Gossip”
7. Daniel Caesar featuring BADBADNOTGOOD – “Please Do Not Lean”
8. Bros. Landreth – “Shame”
9. Snotty Nose Rez Kids – “I’m Good”
10. Moonfruits – “Brittle Earth”


Olivier Boisvert MagnenOlivier Boisvert-Magnen
Contributor to Paroles & Musique Olivier Boisvert-Magnen is a journalist, researcher, columnist, host, curator of music lists, and on-air director for ICI Musique/Première, QUB Musique, Stingray, and CISM.



1. Loud – “Peinture à l’huile”
2. Thierry Larose – “Des noeuds dans les doigts”
3. 1969 Collective et Safia Nolin – “Tu danses, condessa”
4. gabwan – “L’école Sacré-Coeur”
5. Shreez – “Tout c’que j’connais”
6. Raccoon – “C00N”
7. Ariane Roy et Lou-Adriane Cassidy – “Fille à porter”
8. Julie Aubé – “Changer le mal de place”
9. SeinsSucrer et Figure8 – “Un thousand pounds de pression par slap”
10. Bkay – “Post Mortem”


DDel Cowieel Cowie
Words & Music contributor Del Cowie has worked as a writer, producer, and researcher for the Peabody and International Emmy Award-winning Netflix documentary series Hip Hop Evolution. He’s also worked as a producer for CBC Music and was hip-hop editor at Exclaim! magazine for more than a decade.


1. Kaytranada feat. Anderson .Paak – “Twin Flame”
2. Planet Giza – “While You On Road”
3. Faiza – “Benchmark”
4. Tanika Charles featuring DijahSB – “Different Morning”
5. Pierre Kwenders – “No No No”
6. Dylan Sinclair – “Open”
7. Drake – “Massive”
8. allie – “Soundboi”
9. Jully Black – “Half Empty”
10. Savannah Ré – “About U”


Phil RenaudPhilippe Renaud
Paroles & Musique contributor Philippe Renaud has been a music journalist, columnist, and critic for some 20 years, during which time he has been read, seen, and heard at La Presse, Radio-Canada (ICI Première, ICI Télé), L’Actualité, and Le Devoir.


1. Jonathan Personne – “Un homme sans visage
2. Pierre Kwenders (featuring Anais) – “Heartbeat”
3. Modlee – “Grass in Blue”
4. Les Trois Accords – “Pâté chinois”
5. Lash – “Maldita”
6. Sophia Bel – “You’re Not Real You’re Just a Ghost”
7. Vulgaires Machins – “OK”
8. Bayta – “Princesse de Laval”
9. Poirier & Ms. Bella – “Shake Mama”
10. Salimo “Porte”


Nancy DutraNancy Dutra
Words & Music contributor Nancy Dutra is a writer and editor who loves to read, write, and sing about the human condition.



1. William Prince and Serena Ryder – “Sing Me a Song”
2. Scott Nolan – “Candy”
3. Lynn Hanson – “Hundred Mile Wind”
4. Allison Russell, Brandi Carlile – “You’re Not Alone”
5. The Sadies – “More Alone”
6. Les Cooper – “Keep It Down”
7. Lydia Persaud – “Good for Us”
8. Ron Sexsmith – “What I Had in Mind”
9. Shawnee Kish – “Mr. Tie”
10. Tanya Tagaq – “I Forgive Me”


Elise JetteÉlise Jetté
A contributor to Paroles & Musique for the past five years, Élise Jetté heads the musical web magazine Feu à volonté, and has hosted the show Les Charlottes on CISM for the past 12 years. She also writes articles for many print magazines such as Cool! and Clin d’oeil.


1. Pataugeoire – “Emoji fraise”
2. Vulgaires Machins – “Aisle”
3. Bolduc Tout Croche – “D’où c’que j’viens”
4.  Larynx (feat. Helena Deland) – “Beau beam”
5. Les Shirley – “It’s Time”
6. Les Louanges – “Facile”
7. Lucill – “Et tout s’effondre”
8. Lydia Képinski – “Vaslaw”
9. Ariane Roy – “Le paradis de l’amour”
10. Mon Doux Saigneur – “Jojo”


Errol NazarethErrol Nazareth
Words & Music contributor Errol Nazareth is the host of Frequencies, a global music show that airs every Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. ET on CBC Music.



(In no particular order)
Pierre Kwenders – “Coupé”
Wesli – “Rara Mawoule”
Balaklava Blues – “Shelter Our Sky”
Kobo Town – “Shades of the Living”
Empanadas Illegales – “Batidora 3 In 1”
Bruno Capinan – “Tara Rara”
Daniela Gesundheit –  “The Great Confession”
Tanya Tagaq – “Tongues”
Joy Lapps –  “Lulu’s Dream”
Tallies – “Special”
Waahli & Poirier – “Teke Fren”


Claude CoteClaude Côté
Paroles & Musique contributor Claude Côté is a columnist, host, and freelance writer for La Presse, ICI RDI, ICI Première, and Ted Magazine, in addition to working on several industry juries, including that of ADISQ. A journalist for Voir from 1993 to 2003, host and programming director at CIBL in 1994, he’s been active in the field for 40 years.


1. Steve Hill – “Don’t Let The Truth Get In The Way (Of A Good Story)”
2. Navet Confit – “Prétentieux d’être en vie”
3. Durham County Poets – “Back at The Groove Shack”
4. P’tit Belliveau – “Depuis que la neige a fondu”
5. Shane Murphy – “Going Back to Brownsburg”
6. Les Shirley – “It’s Time”
7. Paulo Ramos – “Lua Vermelha”
8. Justin Saladino – “Sink or Swim”
9. Scott-Pien Picard – “Nipa minuenten”
10. Luc De Larochellière – “Le Pont Viau”

From Nov. 12 -15, 2022, the Association des professionnels de l’édition musicale (APEM), in collaboration with the Chambre Syndicale De l’Édition Musicale (CSDEM), hosted six songwriters from Canada and six from France for a songwriting camp at Planet Studio in Montréal. Groups of three were created each morning, and each group created one song every day. The camp concluded with a listening session of all the songs that were created during this collaborative effort. Meetings between music publishers also took place on the sidelines of the camp, just before the 2022 M for Montréal Festival kicked off. The SOCAN Foundation, as well as SODEC, Musicaction, and the Consulate General of France in Québec, participated financially to support the camp, which focused on pop and urban music. 

The participants from Québec were:
– Vanessa Roque (Bloc-Notes Music)
– Urhiel Madran-Cyr (Outloud)
– Shawn Jobin (1 2 3 Productions)
– Miro Belzil (Rosemarie Records)
– Étienne Dupuis-Cloutier (Bloc Notes Music)
– Antoine Poireau (Coop Faux-Monnayeurs) 

The participants from France were:
– Marion Aldebert (Essembe)
– Rémy Béesau (Balandras Éditions)
– Lister Haussman (Melmax Music)
– Yacine Mdarhri Alaoui (Musigamy)
– Sébastien Victoire (Sakifo Production)
– Louis Dureau (Universal Music Publishing France)