MuchMusic VJs played a huge role in cultivating Canadian music. Many of us grew up watching MuchMusic, whether it be the MuchMusic Countdown with Rick Campanelli, The Wedge with Sook-Yin Lee, or even MuchOnDemand.
We watched many of our favourite VJs come and go, some moving onto careers in the same industry and others forging a new path.
Check out our list below to find out where some of your favourite MuchMusic VJs have gone.
Following his almost decade-long career as a MuchMusc VJ, Steve Anthony worked a series of morning show host gigs at 102.1 CFNY, Q107 in Toronto, and CHOM 97.7 in Montreal. A self-described, “top notch Voice Guy,” he now does professional voice overs, marketing himself as a “voice talent” and brand ambassador. Steve was the television co-host of CP24 Breakfast from September 2009 to March 2018. He occasionally posts his art to Instagram.
Matte Babel, best known for hosting Fuse News on MuchMusic, has continued to work in front of the camera working as a remote host for CP24 before occupying his position as an LA correspondent and contributor for Entertainment Tonight Canada. He’s now the CEO of Ransom Music Group, an LA based music management group. The Toronto native also happens to be friends with Drake, attending his birthday with girlfriend and Canadian actress Shay Mitchell.
After her impressive 27 year run as the host of Fashion Television, Jeanne Beker went on to have a successful career as a journalist. She served as the editor-in-chief of FQ Magazine and SIR, has authored five books, and has created multiple fashion lines. Beker was designated a member of the Order of Canada in December 2013, which recognizes outstanding achievements and contributions to the nation. Beker was also a columnist for The Globe and Mail.
The 1994 MuchTemp contest launched Rick Campanelli into the spotlight at MuchMusic, where he would later become a fan favourite VJ and host of the popular MuchMusic Countdown. After his time at MuchMusic, Rick “The Temp” Campanelli hosted ET Canada for over a decade, leaving the position in 2017. He currently lives in Toronto with his wife and three kids. This year, it was announced that Campanellie would join Monika Deol to co-host 90’s Nostalgia, a Canadian concert tour with artists like Aqua and Eiffel 65.
Hailed in the Toronto Star for being “as electric as you remember her,” Monika Deol has excelled in her personal life and career as an entrepreneur, a mother, a television anchor, and an author. Since leaving MuchMusic, she has been an entertainment anchor for CityPulse at Six, co-host of Citytv’s style show Ooh La La, and anchor at CTV Vancouver. Deol has also created a line of beauty products called Stellar, made for “medium/dark skin tones that were not represented within major brands,” sold across Canada and the US.
Erica Ehm (Miechowsky)
Though she left her role as a MuchMusic VJ to focus on her songwriting career, Erica Ehm has thrived as an author and entrepreneur in the years following her departure from the network. She has since written three stage musicals, two books, and created the Yummy Mummy Club, a blog about motherhood and family life. She’s also the CEO of her independently owned Ehm & Co, “a digital marketing company specializing in creating mom engagement with a focus on social media marketing and partnerships with agencies and brand.”
Denise Donlon has been called a “local hero,” and rightfully so. Her time at MuchMusic was only the beginning of a long and successful career in the music industry, where she experienced the polarizing changes in entertainment firsthand. At the turn of the century, Donlon was President of Sony Music Canada, later becoming the executive director of (English language) CBC Radio. Her impressive collection of accolades include being named a member of the Canadian Broadcasters Hall of Fame, the Canadian Music Week’s Broadcast Executive of the Year (three times), and one of Canada’s Top 100 Powerful Women. Her memoir As Fearless as Possible (Under the Circumstances) chronicles her path to success from her humble beginnings as a Much VJ.
Rainbow Sun Francks
Following his time at MuchMusic, Francks pursued his acting career. He starred in Season 1 and 2 of Stargate Atlantis, among other roles in Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, Eyewitness, Murdoch Mysteries, The Listener, and The Strain on FX. He also worked in the music industry producing a hip hop group called The Oddities. Over the last few years, he’s appeared in shows like Imposters, The Umbrella Academy, and the High Fidelity reboot.
— StargateDaily (@StargateDaily) June 25, 2020
You may know Jennifer Hollett as the 2015 NDP candidate in University-Rosedale, but before she was a Canadian political figure, Hollett was a MuchMusic VJ. After her time at Much, Hollett received her Masters in Public Administration from Harvard, subsequently immersing herself in Canadian politics as a member of the NDP party. She has worked for Sony Music Canada, Plan Canada, CTV, and CARE Canada, among other notable professional organizations. She also headed the News and Government sector at Twitter Canada. Currently, she’s the Executive Director at The Walrus.
Kiwanuka left Electric Circus and the life of a MuchMusic VJ behind to pursue aspects of the film and television industry she had yet to discover. Kiwanuka hosted NBA XL and CFL Crunch on Sportsnet, worked as an editor for the African Business Journal, columnist at the BBC (Focus on Africa Magazine), and contributor to the Toronto Star & Globe and Mail. She’s currently a reporter and substitute anchor on TVOntario’s newmagazine series The Agenda.
Avi Lewis has been working to engage viewers with world politics since his earliest appearances as a MuchMusic VJ. His emphasis on politics has translated into a career in journalism, leading him around the world to address some of the most pressing issues of our time. From Al Jazeera English to CBC, Lewis has written, reported, and produced hard hitting stories on everything from the 1995 Quebec referendum to women in Afghanistan. He is also the co-founder of The Leap, an organization dedicated to “confronting the intersecting crises of our time: climate change, racism and inequality through storytelling and public interventions, local organizing around climate and social justice solutions, silo-busting movement gatherings.” The Leap Manifesto has since been signed by prominent Canadian figures including Leonard Cohen, Elliot Page, and Arcade Fire. Currently, Lewis is an NDP candidate for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky.
— Avi Lewis (@avilewis) August 17, 2021
During her time at MuchMusic, Sook-Yin Lee was best known for hosting alternative music show, The Wedge. From there she went on to host CBC Radio’s pop culture program Definitely Not the Opera, until the program ended in 2016. The film work that she has pursued in the post-MuchMusic years showed recurring themes of race and feminism. Though her work has been met with controversy due to the explicit nature of it, Lee has stood by her beliefs and has been an advocate for diverse and authentic representation in film. In 2020, Lee hosted Landscape Artist of the Year Canada for Makeful.
Naurdwuar the Human Serviette
Naurduar (aka John Ruskin) is still up to his old antics and his signature, “guerilla journalism” style interviews. He is now regarded as a pioneering music reporter for his unique tactics that characterized his appearances in MuchMusic. He has since taken his “lovably eccentric persona” to the west coast where he is now the television and online video host for CiTR 101.9 FM in Vancouver. He also performs as the frontman for The Evaporators, a Vancouver punk rock group. He still wears that plaid beret.
Teresa was hailed as a “pioneering MuchMusic VJ” for her early contributions to the program. Since then she has gone on to have a successful career contributing to CTV Toronto and Discovery Channel Canada. She currently resides in Toronto with her family. She was recently working as the public relations manager for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, but now she’s the Sr. Public Relations manager at Teladoc Health.
In 2008 Hannah Simone left her role as a MuchMusic VJ and moved to LA to pursue a career in acting. Although she has been in several films in the post-MuchMusic years, Simone is best known for her role as Cece in ABC’s New Girl, alongside Zooey Deschanel. She is also a Me to We ambassador, and helped build a school in tribal Rajasthan, India. Simone has an Instagram account dedicated to her cats.
The 2004 MuchMusic VJ Search launched Devon Soltendieck into the spotlight and, coincidentally, introduced him to his future wife. Soltendieck ended up marrying his former publicist from MuchMusic Ashley Applebaum, and the two have been inseparable ever since. After MuchMusic, Soltendieck became an anchor and remote host at CP24 in 2010, and soon after moved to the E! Canada entertainment network where hosted the show Pop Quiz, and worked as a Senior Correspondent for Etalk. After leaving Etalk, Soltendieck became a Managing Partner at Terms & Conditions Creative. Now, he works as the Managing Director at Salt XC, an Experiential Commerce agency.
George Stroumboulopoulos is one of the most well-known Canadian TV personalities to this day, a consistent fixture in national entertainment and news media. His Sunday night talk radio show, The Strombo Show, solidified him as one of Canada’s foremost media commentators. The Gemini Award-winning show, George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight, ran for 10 years until its conclusion in 2014. For a brief time Strombo served as the main host of Hockey Night in Canada before the return of Ron McLean in 2016. George’s project over the past few years goes back to his musical roots with House Of Strombo, in which he invites musicians to perform in his house. Most recently, Stroumboulopoulos has joined Apple Music Radio as host of a Monday to Thursday live show.
After an emergency brain surgery towards the end of Sarah Taylor’s MuchMusic VJ career, her personal and professional life were dramatically altered for the years to come. A hole in her skull and the two subsequent surgeries that followed affected Taylor’s ability to speak, proving difficult, but not impossible to return to her role under a year later. Since then Taylor has returned to school at OCAD in Toronto, and is a passionate activist and photographer.
After leaving her role as MuchMusic’s youngest VJ in 2004, Amanda Walsh pursued a career in acting. She has appeared in various films such as Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and Beauty & the Briefcase, as well as single episode appearances on Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and NCIS.
Bill Welychka holds the record for the longest running VJ at MuchMusic for over 10 years of on-air video hosting. His departure led him to Edmonton, where he contributed to Breakfast Television. He now resides in Kingston, where he hosts and produces the show CKWS Daily for Global News.
Known for being one of the original MuchMusic VJs, Michael Williams has all but disappeared from the spotlight since his days on camera. He has worked for multiple radio stations in Montreal and Toronto while continuing his career as a DJ. Williams also owns Toronto-based Black Rose Recording Studios.
Tony “Master T” Young
Former cameraman turned VJ, Tony Young (a.k.a. “Master T”) was MuchMusic’s top promoter of hip hop music in the late 90s. Shortly after the turn of the century, Young left MuchMusic and went on to host radio program, Wall of Sound. He continued to produce his own “Master T’s series of hip hop and reggae compilations” in the following years.
Matt Wells might have left much music in 2010, but he remained onscreen for many years to follow as a television actor. He has appeared in tv series Rogue, Air Emergency, Bitten and many others. He has also released two studio albums as frontman for Lazybones, a folk rock group. In 2020, Wells made an appearance on Schitt’s Creek as Tripp Campbell. Most recently, he’s starred in TV movies like Bury the Past, A Date with Danger, and Daddy’s Perfect Little Girl.
One of MuchMusic’s most beloved VJs, Bradford How bid audiences farewell in 2003 to pursue other ambitions. Over 10 years later he could be found hosting Nick at Nite’s “Bet The House,” among a string of commercial work for Papa John’s, Geico, Club Med, and Walt Disney World. He’s the official spokesperson for Nationwide Insurance. Now, How works at LIT Entertainment News.
Rachel Perry went on to host VH1 Radio Network’s Weekly Rewind radio program, while also appearing in various commercials. Her most notable post-MuchMusic role was as the host of Playboy’s “The Stash,” a program that “comments on video clips and photos from adult media.” She now lives in LA with her husband and son. Currently, Perry is the host of VH1’s All Access and the narrator for Web Junk 20.
Feature photo courtesy EMILIE RHAUPP via Flickr.