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'We mean business': the best quotes of 2018

Editorial Staff

It's that refreshing time of year when we get to look back at all the things we loved in 2018 and re-listen, re-read and re-discuss what really stuck with us.

From our favourite albums to the best new artists, this year has been one of renaissance and resistance, fun and change, with artists continuing to use their platforms to speak out and create work that resonates across borders.

Whether it was Brampton's Alessia Cara winning her first Grammy, Donald Glover getting to the root of what drives him, Jessie Reyez warning everyone to stay humble or the members of feminist hip-hop group the Sorority explaining why they felt the need to rise up, we learned a lot about — and celebrated — the artists we follow.

Below, we've collected 41 of the year's best quotes in music. Relive 2018 — in chronological order — before saying goodbye to it.

Cadence Weapon

"When I was first starting, I wanted to push people away, I wanted to make the noisiest, craziest rap and be like, f--k you, man! That was my whole thing. And now I want to make a record you can put on in your house while you’re having a dinner party and turn it up after everyone’s had a bunch of wine."

CBC Music, Jan. 11

Alessia Cara

"I’ve been pretend winning Grammys since I was a kid in the shower."

The Grammy Awards, Jan. 28

Janelle Monae

"We come in peace, but we mean business."

The Grammy Awards, Jan. 28

Red1 (the Rascalz) on refusing the 1999 Juno for ‘Northern Touch’

"We felt like it was more important to just kind of show that we weren't here begging for nothing. We were here representing what was and still is the most popular form of music."

q, Jan. 31

Donald Glover

"Make the best sand castle."

The New Yorker, Feb. 26

SZA on dealing with online trolls

"I think certain things are outlets for people to lash out and be angry or whatever, so they don’t go in and cut bitches at work tomorrow. And honestly, if I’m that catalyst, go ‘head sis. Like, get your shit off. I don’t know. Don’t hurt nobody."

The Fader, Feb. 28

Violinist Benjamin Bowman on his appointment as concertmaster at the Metropolitan Opera

"This has been my dream job for as long as I can remember. I knew it was going to be special, but when I sat down for my first rehearsal, the sound of the group literally made the hair on my neck stand up."

CBC Music, March 6

Margo Price

"I just found that after years of not fitting in that the not fitting in was actually working in my favour."

CBC Music, March 7

Violinist Blake Pouliot on winning the $20,000 Career Development Award from the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto

"It's not like I'm making enough that I can just walk into Versace's office and say, 'Design me a suit!'"

CBC Music, March 11

Jessie Reyez

"Don’t ever think you’re greater than this because life will humble you real quick. Things can change real quick. Everything can end; all of this can go away."

The Junos Pre-Show with Tom Power, March 21

J.B. the First Lady

"I laugh at the colonizer! Buckle up!"

CBC Music, March 25

The Sorority

"I think that we, as females, struggle with enough things as is, and then as female rappers, we get put into an even smaller box, so it really meant the world for us to come together and say, 'Yeah, I’m sick of that, too,' and actually put action behind it. For so long hip hop has been a misogynistic, male-dominated, disrespecting females kind of realm, so we wanted to literally disrupt that."

CBC Music, May 4

Cœur de pirate

"If the world around you is tumbling down, the last thing you gotta do is close up."

CBC Music, May 31

Kathleen Hanna on switching music genres

"I would like to survive to keep performing, and if I keep screaming in the same way I’m not going to make it."

Rookie, June 6

John Prine

"If I go to heaven, I'm not gonna wear a white robe and sing mediocre Christian songs. If those people are there I’m gonna need a drink."

The Strombo Show, June 12

Florence Welch on her 2018 record, High as Hope

"I was embracing the femininity, embracing the things I really liked, embracing that you can still be powerful and strong and scary in a pink nightie."

— The New York Times, June 14

Mavis Staples

"I can't stop, I can't take a break, because I have work to do. I have to continue my journey."

q, June 22


"Every time someone on social media is like, ‘I can’t wait to cry to your new album,’ I’m like, ‘I don’t know if you’ll cry. I’m sorry.’"

Pitchfork, July 12


"It’s important to me that I help open doors for younger artists. There are so many cultural and societal barriers to entry that I like to do what I can to level the playing field, to present a different point of view for people who may feel like their voices don’t matter."

Vogue, Aug. 6

Vivek Shraya

"I’m afraid of men because it was men who taught me to fear the word girl by turning it into a weapon they used to hurt me. I’m afraid of men because it was men who taught me to hate and eventually destroy my femininity. I’m afraid of men because it was men who taught me to fear the extraordinary parts of myself."

I’m Afraid of Men, Penguin Canada, published Aug. 28

Terri Clark on her Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame induction

"I’m waiting for Ashton Kutcher to walk out and tell me I’ve been punked."

CBC Music, Sept. 5

Mac Miller

"You know what’s funny? I feel like the public perception of me varies on who you ask. But there’s a bit of a freedom in knowing that people are going to think all types of shit, no matter what. It actually makes me less stressed about how my actions are perceived. It’s out of my control."

— Vulture, Sept. 6

Judith Forst on her 1968 debut season with the Metropolitan Opera

"You were under contract 52 weeks of the year. You were theirs, they owned you for the season. You were given a list of repertoire — your performances, your first covers and second covers. I think in my first season I had 43 assignments."

CBC Music, Sept. 19

Jeremy Dutcher after winning the 2018 Polaris Music Prize

"I do this work to honour those who have gone before and I lay the footprints for those yet to come. This is all part of a continuum of Indigenous excellence and you are here to witness it. I welcome you."

CBC Music, Sept. 17

Hubert Lenoir

"F--k genders. F--k rules. F--k everything. F--k your American dream. I am your French-Canadian nightmare, yeah."

Polaris Music Prize gala, Sept. 17

Emily Haines (Metric)

"I feel like I’ve been through a lot and I’m not down for the count yet. I feel optimistic that, given the shot, I can defy time. I really do."

CBC Music, Sept. 21

Lido Pimienta

"I started, in 2010, performing in Colombia. I look back at the people that I started with and how most of those people went on to get Grammys. I was like, What happened? Then I realized, Oh yeah, their songs are about romantic love; my songs are about dismantling white supremacy. [Laughs] They did an English album and they are blond. Oh, I am not; I am actually onstage, pregnant, with pigtails. OK, all right. I just know one way to be. The more comfortable I am with this way of being, the more I see that people are comfortable in their own skin as well."

The Believer, Oct. 1

Kacey Musgraves at the New Yorker Festival

"What I think it is — someone told me this recently and it broke my heart — they said, 'I’ve grown up loving country music and I grew up gay in a small town, and country music has always felt like a big party that I wasn’t invited to.' Oh my god, you’re invited to my party. It’s crazy that a certain kind of a person could feel excluded from a genre that’s so real — or supposed to be so real. That has always really pissed me off. Because I love the genre so much, I felt, 'Well fine, maybe I’ll just have an all-gay audience.'”, Oct. 6

Carrie Underwood

"We are told time and time again that the women listeners who make up the majority of country music radio listeners don’t want to hear other women on the radio, which I think is not true. Growing up, it was incredibly important to hear strong, amazing, talented women on the radio. It let me know that I could do that, too."

Elle, Oct. 9

Gord Downie, in the posthumously released Secret Path documentary

"It’s sort of an emotional beginning, middle and end, and in the end, you feel pretty f--king spent, as I do right now."

CBC Music, Oct. 11

Neko Case

"Not being signed by a major label in the end was the greatest thing that ever happened to me."

The Strombo Show, Oct. 22

Rufus Wainwright on his debut, self-titled album

"When I started out, I was a skinny gay opera queen who played the piano and was drunk half the time and just wanted to be famous so badly that it was almost embarrassing. The fact that I actually pulled it off is something of a miracle. I'm impressed with my younger self, that little crazy guy."

CBC Music, Oct. 22

Ariana Grande

"thank u, next."

— “thank u, next,” Nov. 3

Roseanne Cash on her feelings after the 2016 U.S. election

"I felt like I didn’t matter, like women didn’t matter, and it’s gotten worse, not better. It’s like you can’t be trusted with your own memory. You can’t be trusted with your own body. It’s devastating. I have so much admiration for the women in the [#MeToo] movement who took the risk to speak out. I have my own stories, you know. I didn’t tell them publicly because I don’t think the specifics matter, but the story matters. We all carry those stories in our bodies."

— Vulture, Nov. 5

Steve Earle

"I’ve been really lucky with almost everything, except marriage, and everything else has gone pretty damn well."

The Strombo Show, Nov. 5

Jennifer Castle on what her son thinks of her music

"He wishes I was Cardi B."

The Strombo Show, Nov. 5

Buffy Sainte-Marie

"The basis of my music is having fun and entertaining myself. We know when we like it. We rely on somebody else to sell it. I don’t design dollar bills."

The Strombo Show, Nov. 11

Bill Sherman, the man behind the music on Sesame Street

"If Elmo is sad, you can’t write a heavy metal song."

q, Nov. 23

Shawn Mendes, after recovering from a panic attack and reading supportive fan comments about his music

"I started crying, and I was just like, ‘This is why you talk about shit that actually is real.’ I was like, ‘God, don’t ever fucking question the feeling of writing the truth again.’ ”

Rolling Stone, Nov. 26

Mariah Carey

"I wanted to be successful. I wanted to never have to worry about the rug being pulled out from under me."

Pitchfork, Nov. 28

John Legend

"Win small victories."

q, Nov. 29


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10 best Canadian francophone albums of 2018