Give us your feedback

What's new at SOCAN
and in the music industry

SOCAN Interactive


Hip-hop singer-songwriter

Song – "Fatima" - Now playing...

Born in Somalia, K'naan spent his childhood in Mogadishu during the Somali Civil War, which began in 1991. His name, Keinan, means "traveler" in the Somali language. His father left when K'naan was an infant, and at the age of 13, K'naan, his mother, and three siblings joined relatives briefly in New York, then moved to Toronto. K'naan learned English partly by listening to hip-hop albums, and taught himself to rap by copying the lyrics phonetically. Since then, music critic Jim Welte has said K'naan has "a sound that fuses Bob Marley, conscious American hip-hop, and brilliant protest poetry." Also since then, K'naan has collaborated with artists like Nelly Furtado, the British pop band Keane, Adam Levine of Maroon 5, Mos Def, The Roots, Damian Marley and of Black Eyed Peas.

K'naan's debut album The Dusty Foot Philosopher was released in 2005 to critical acclaim. In 2006, it won the Juno Award for Rap Recording of the Year, and was nominated for the 2006 Polaris Music Prize. The album was re-released in 2008 as a "deluxe edition" featuring new mixes and a bonus DVD in the U.S.

His second album, Troubadour, was released in 2009, earning K'naan a spot on the short list for the 2009 Polaris Music Prize, and winning him two Juno Awards in 2010, for both Artist and Songwriter of the Year. It spawned such CBC Radio 2 staples as "Fire in Freetown," "Fatima" "Take a Minute" and "Wavin' Flag," the last of which charted within the Top Five in the U.K., Netherlands, Norway, Italy, Ireland, France, Canada, Scotland and Spain.

Since re-produced in various versions, "Wavin' Flag" has catapulted K'naan to huge worldwide acclaim. First, at the behest of renowned Canadian producer Bob Ezrin, K'naan re-wrote, re-recorded and re-released the inspirational anthem online as a benefit single for Haiti, featuring the vocal performances of a huge cross-section of more than 50 Canadian music stars, including Justin Bieber, Blue Rodeo's Jim Cuddy, Drake, Kardinal Offishall, Avril Lavigne, Sam Roberts, Serena Ryder, Hawksley Workman and Nikki Yanofsky. Then, a re-written version the song was chosen as Coca-Cola's anthem for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, held in South Africa. Starting In December 2009, K'naan performed the song live during the sponsor's FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour, which took him to 86 countries around the world.

Performances/news this month
Sept. 21 - Burnaby, BC, Simon Fraser University,
"1 Vision One World" Peace Day Concert
Sept. 23 - Victoria, BC, Rifflandia Music Festival
Sept. 25 - Vancouver, Stanley Park
Sept. 27 - Calgary, MacEwan Hall
Sept. 27 - Edmonton, Edmonton Event Centre
Sept. 29 - Winnipeg, Burton Cummings Theatre
Oct. 1 - Toronto, Kool Haus
Oct. 3 - Guelph, University of Guelph
Oct. 4 - Kitchener, Elements Nite Club
Oct. 5 - Sault Ste. Marie, Kiwanis Community Theatre Centre
Oct. 6 - Parry Sound, Stockey Centre
Oct. 8 - Philadelphia, Theatre of the Living Arts
Oct. 9 - New York, Webster Hall
Oct. 10 - Washington, DC, 9:30 Club
Oct. 12 - Towson, Maryland, Recher Theatre
Oct. 13 - Boston, House of Blues


"Wavin' Flag" (w. Young Artists for Haiti, 2010)
Troubadour (2009)
The Dusty Foot Philosopher (2005)
My Life Is a Movie (2004)

SOCAN Connection
Member since 2004