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Tanya Tagaq, the Dears and more Canadian artists pay tribute to David Bowie

Melody Lau

The music world was struck with some devastating news this morning as it was confirmed that David Bowie died on Jan. 10 from an 18-month battle with cancer. An announcement was made on Bowie’s official Facebook page and later confirmed by his son Duncan Jones on Twitter.

This day has been filled with tributes, illustrations and heartfelt posts about the iconic artist. Bowie has touched many music fans around the world and even had some ties to Canadian artists such as Arcade Fire and Emm Gryner. CBC Music reached out to a number of Canadian artists who wanted to share their love and respect for Bowie today. Here is what they have to say.

“I loved David Bowie. He was fearless, smart, sexy and innovative. He made me less afraid to shine. R.I.P. Star Man.”
— Tanya Tagaq

“Although David Bowie has passed, to me it will never feel like he's gone. His work is an ongoing inspiration and influence in our musical journey. In everything we've ever made, at some point, his name and his music comes up. That is not an exaggeration; if anything, it's an understatement. Just last night, I was thinking of some new music and how some Bowie-esque inflections would work within ...quite possibly that was happening just as he was passing. And so it will go on and on, not just for me but countless others. While David Bowie is truly a devastating loss, the unique colour he has given us on the musical pallet is forever. He is and always will be way, way more than just iconic.”
— Murray Lightburn, the Dears

“I saw him live when I was 10 years old, and it was one of the most impressive things I've seen to date. But my definitive memory of him was from his role in the Labyrinth, which was a big part of my childhood. He was so influential, and he will be missed.”
— Nick Vallee, Folly and the Hunter

“I was in the Hidden Cameras, we were touring with Arcade Fire when they blew up. We were supposed to headline but the venue told us they had to flip the bill because we weren't as popular. And suddenly all these musicians I admired were coming to the venue to see our friends play, I don't know if they caught our set or cared or didn't. David Byrne was there too. And I found myself standing behind David Bowie on the balcony, which I found funny. I didn't know I was standing behind him. My friend and I were looking down at the crowd from the balcony to see which of our friends were in the audience, and then a man turned around to say "Shhh" because Arcade Fire were performing. I haven't been shhh'd at a concert before, but then we realized it was a member of Bowie's entourage. Normally being shushed would make me angry, but Bowie was an eminence grise so he had the right to enjoy Arcade Fire in peace. I loved Ziggy Stardust and Space Oddity, and his capacity to reinvent himself. He was a great singer and performer."
— Maggie McDonald, the Hidden Cameras

“Bowie has always been in my life, and one of the most touching parts of last night and today was seeing his passing affect so many people, both musicians, politicians, comedians, CEO's, students, weirdo outsiders, and everyone in between. He was that good. His music was as complex and moving as it was popular. I've played his songs on more road trips, after more breakups, and stolen more things from him than any other artist. I cried when I heard the news because I'll never get to see one of my biggest heroes perform my favourite songs. But lucky for me and everyone, he left them here with us. I'll be listening today, tomorrow, and always.”
— Aidan Knight

“How amazing is it that he made it to 69 and how amazing is it that we’ve had that man guide us through our lives and show us what risk-taking is about and show us what being strange is all about. One of my first sort-of dates was with this girl in grade eight and we went to see the Sound+Vision tour at the Skydome. I was going unaccompanied and we had these side seats and they were quite low. I just remember he would always go to that side when there were musical interludes and he’d smoke cigarettes and wave at all of us and just make it feel even more intimate. I was listening to “Changes” every day at that point in time and that will be my favourite memory. I don’t have a favourite song but when I heard ‘Heroes’ I wanted to be in love more than ever and I wanted to know what it felt like.”
— Kevin Drew

"He knew who his equals and contemporaries were but he was also a gentleman and he was very gracious and he was always interested in what I was doing. I remember back in August, when [Destroyer frontman Dan Bejar’s] single “Times Square” came out, I was like, “You’ve got to check this out,” and he was like, “Blimey, I just bought that yesterday!” And he said, I still buy music believe it or not, that’s who he was. He was always so inspired and not jaded by all the things he could’ve been."
— Emm Gryner on q (listen to the full interview here)