Harmer gained acclaim fronting famed Canadian rock band Weeping Tile in the mid-’90s. While the group had moderate success with the single “Cold Snap” and maintained a dedicated following, they called it quits in 1998. Harmer, who had already released the solo record Songs for Clem, quickly rose from the band’s wreckage to produce You Were Here. The disc’s momentum quickly grew, gaining an audience from indie snobs to moms. This success was followed by 2004’s All of Our Names, which was recorded at her home studio with then-boyfriend Martin Kinack. The album opened up an even bigger audience to Harmer and led to a performance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show (with Halifax’s Mike O’Neill playing guitar). Harmer has made Halifax a regular tour stop and you’ve rewarded her with the nod for Best Canadian Female Artist.
Runners-up: Sarah McLachlan, Avril Lavigne