Most people will agree that 2016 was a big year for pop music. Not only did Justin Bieber set social media on fire with his never-ending stream of exciting content, but the standard for pop music also changed dramatically. While traditionalists mourned the passing of the old guard, younger fans celebrate the new wave of pop singers who made it all the way to the top.

One of the best examples of this shift in the industry is Céline Dion. The Canadian singer has been performing for well over two decades, and though she’s never quite reached the level of commercial success enjoyed by her peers, she’s always maintained a strong following. In 2016, Dion accomplished something no other artist has in years: she sold out shows across Canada and amassed a whopping 1.7 million YouTube views in one week.

The year before, Dion had 1.3 million views on her channel and was still performing to sold-out crowds. It was the most-viewed week of any album in Canada this year, and it wouldn’t be surprising if Dion breaks the record in 2017.

Dion is just one of the many stars who helped put 2016 on a pop music map, but there was another Canadian who had a banner year too. After years in the industry, Cedric The Entertainer finally broke out in a big way, landing several hit singles, becoming one of the most-followed creators on TikTok, and performing at major music festivals.

The 49-year-old actor and comedian grew up in Toronto, and though he’s had some minor acting roles in films such as 2015’s Love and Robots and television shows like Black-ish and Difficult People, it wasn’t until 2016 that his passion for comedy finally paid off. The long hours of rehearsal and performance must have been worth it, because in just a few months, Cedric was already selling out shows across North America.

From Neighbors to Stars

You’d think that after nearly 40 years of singing in the local choir, Dion would know how to carry a tune but she somehow managed to surprise us all with her powerful rendition of “Imagine” by John Mayer. Most people are familiar with Bieber’s “Baby” but few would have predicted that the Canadian singer would be the one to bring “Imagine” to life like that. Still, when the song was released in 2015, it reached number two on the Billboard Top 100, and the video for it even earned him a Grammy.

Dion, who has six Grammy nominations, isn’t a stranger to success. In fact, her fifth studio album, Duet, was released only last year but managed to debut at number three on the Billboard Top 200.

As for Cedric, he finally got the break that he’s been working hard for. 2016 was a breakout year for the comedian, best known for his role as Mr. Simmons on the comedy series Black-ish. Last year saw the launch of Cedric’s own podcast, the Comedy Insider, and a trip to Donald Trump’s inauguration was something he’ll never forget.

Cedric has hosted Comedy Central’s annual roast, and in 2016 he was roasted by some of the most popular comedians in the industry. With a career spanning over 20 years, it would be an understatement to say that Cedric has experienced a lot of success. If you want to learn more, just visit his official website.

Shifting Gears

Another surprise hit last year was Post Malone’s “Rockstar,” a song that managed to find its way to the top of the charts and stay there for several weeks. As a rapper, producer, and songwriter, Malone has the musical talent to back up all those chart-topping singles, so it’s no wonder he’s been able to maintain a loyal following. He also has over a million followers on TikTok, where he often challenges artists to send him their best work for free, in exchange for featuring their song on his channel.

Scary Monsters and Prophecies of Doom

One of the major cultural differences between 2016 and 2014 is that horror movies have begun to shine as a genre once again. It wasn’t that long ago that studios stopped making them completely, so it’s nice to see that they’re receiving a second chance at glory. Even Netflix got in on the action, producing several scary movies and adapting several bestselling novels into TV shows.

One of the best examples of this boom in the horror genre is Netflix’s Stranger Things. Despite the fact that it was originally released in the summer of 2015 and has only gotten better with age, the series never really took off in the United States. That is, until this year, when it became a #1 show on the platform and inspired a Halloween clothing line and even a deck of cards.

If you’ve never been attracted to the horror genre, now might be the right time to give it a try. Stranger Things takes place in the ‘80s, a time marked by economic anxieties and an obsession with technology. It explores the ways in which modern life affects our behavior and our perceptions, and how easy it is for people to be lured into online communities and be influenced by trolls and scammers.

The same goes for the other Netflix shows that you might want to check out. For example, House of Gucci is a comedy series that debuted last year and uses humor to explore racism, homophobia, and other social taboos. Or, if you’re looking for something a little more mainstream, you could watch The Exorcist or Crimson Peak, which both came out this year.

The Influencer Revival

In the past few years, TikTok has exploded in popularity, largely due to its freewheeling attitude and focus on quick-hit entertainment. Its celebrity-driven content led to it being called “the next big thing” by Time magazine in 2015, and it wasn’t long before people started taking it somewhat seriously as a vehicle for social change. In June of that year, TikTok launched a $500 million venture capital fund to invest in and support female creators. Just a few weeks later, the platform had 130 million active users.

A lot has happened in the five months since then. In September of last year, TikTok was valued at $15 billion and in November it became the most-downloaded app on Apple’s App Store. A year after that initial fund-raising drive, TikTok’s head of content, Dawn Chmielewski, told the Toronto Star that the platform had raised over $500 million for female entrepreneurs and developers.

For those looking for some good old-fashioned celebrity gossip, TikTok’s biggest names continue to amaze. In June, fans learned that Kim Kardashian had created her very own fragrance, thanks to her partnership with French perfumery, Dior. The line, entitled “Kimono,” features flower and citrus notes and is inspired by the Asian designs sported by the Kardashian-Jenner clan. It will reportedly be available in stores in April of this year. Not one to be outdone, Megan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, recently unveiled her very own fragrance, called “Suits Me.” It features citrus as the main ingredient and was inspired by her time living in New York City. The line will reportedly be available in stores this summer too.

Record-Breaking Views

For those seeking more detail on the above topics, you can visit the articles listed below. They’ll give you more information on the people and events that made headlines in 2016.

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