Alessia Cara emerged the prime winner at this yr’s Juno Awards, scooping up three trophies in a pre-recorded ceremony that paired celebration with acknowledgment that extra must be accomplished to signify the various voices of Canadian artists.
While the Junos often mark the largest night time for the nation’s music business, the Monday occasion, which streamed on-line, took on a noticeably completely different tone in isolation. Missing had been these euphoric acceptance speeches in a large venue full of adoring followers, changed with a handful of intimate performances and a few severe reflection on the future.
Running a bit over 90 minutes, the Junos had been handed out at historic pace, with 42 classes introduced by presenters that included “Stranger Things” actor Finn Wolfhard and singer Jessie Reyez, who additionally pocketed her third profession Juno throughout the occasion.
But it was the 23-year-old Cara who shone brightest as her deeply private 2018 “The Pains of Growing” picked up each album and pop album of the yr, whereas she additionally received songwriter of the yr for her work on a number of of its tracks.
It was an uplifting end for the Brampton, Ont.-raised pop singer after her goals of internet hosting the awards present had been dashed in the wake of COVID-19. She was initially lined as much as be MC for the televised occasion in Saskatoon final March earlier than organizers pulled the plug in response to the pandemic.
Cara was fast to leap onto Twitter after she got here out on prime, posting a characteristically humble “um whaaaaaaat” earlier than retweeting congratulatory messages from a couple of her followers.
Aside from the big wins, Monday’s ceremony took on a sense of social urgency as higher consciousness surrounding illustration of Black, Indigenous and different artists of color turned a matter a few of the presenters addressed.
CBC Radio host Odario Williams, who’s additionally a member of hip-hop collective Grand Analog, opened the present with a candid acknowledgment of the many shortfalls of Juno Awards previous.
He famous that it took 15 years after the first ceremony in 1970 earlier than soul and reggae artists had been included in the listing of classes, whereas it wasn’t till 1991 when the first rap recording award was given to Maestro Fresh Wes.
“I’ve bought to offer a shout out to the Black and Indigenous Canadian artists of the ’70s, the ’80s, the ’90s which can be true pioneers in the progress of our musical panorama,” he mentioned, pointing to Liberty Silver, who was the first Black lady to win a Juno in 1985.
While Juno organizers have made efforts to enhance variety amongst its nominees in recent times, president Allan Reid acknowledged that a lot work nonetheless must be accomplished.
“We are dedicated to the long-term inclusion and amplification of Black voices and a extra equitable business for all,” he mentioned at the outset of the present.
“We are engaged on an motion plan with particular commitments that we are going to reveal this July. We should do higher for our BIPOC members of the music neighborhood, and we welcome you to carry us accountable.”
Quite a few the night time’s music performances additionally put the topic of racism in Canada at the forefront.
Halifax alt-pop duo Neon Dreams, who had been chosen as breakthrough group this yr, gave a sombre efficiency of their single “We Were Kings.” The deeply private coming-of-age reflection was co-written by lead singer Frank Kadillac about his personal experiences rising above stereotypes, racism and highschool bullying.
Indigenous singer Iskwe went outside to play “Little Star,” a tune paying tribute to Colten Boushie, Tina Fontaine and the lives of lacking and murdered Indigenous girls and ladies, filmed inside the Mississaugas Of Scugog Island First Nation territory.
Other highlights included two-time winner Shawn Mendes, who was chosen as artist of the yr. “Senorita,” his duet with girlfriend Camila Cabello, received single of the yr, making him the first artist to select up that award for 3 consecutive years.
Breakthrough artist went to Oshawa, Ont.-born pop singer Lennon Stella, who’s already established herself as an actress on the primetime musical-drama sequence “Nashville.”
Pop singer Avril Lavigne pocketed the fan selection award, which is voted on by viewers, for the second yr in a row, and the third time in her profession.
Among this yr’s most shocking winners is Governor General Julie Payette, who’s a member of the Ottawa Bach Choir that received greatest classical album, vocal or choral.
Bryan Adams’ “Shine a Light” received grownup up to date album, giving the musician his 17th Juno win and placing him behind solely Celine Dion and Anne Murray as the artist with the most Junos.