Not even Toronto’s heaviest snowfall in 50 years could stop the JUNO Awards from announcing which Canadian artists will be up for crystal statuettes come March 17th in London, Ontario. Yes, that is St. Patrick’s Day as was repeated multiple times at the press conference officially kicking off the countdown to our country’s annual music industry throw down. Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences chairperson Mark Cohon sure wasn’t afraid to evoke the first-time host city’s reputation as a university party town on the CBC webcast.
The 2019 candidates for all 42 JUNO Award categories were revealed, which you can go through at your leisure here. Pickering native Shawn Mendes led the way with six nominations – Pop Album of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, Single of the Year, not to mention the JUNO Fan Choice. The latter honour as its name implies is determined by public voting, which CARAS President and CEO Allan Reid says will now incorporate streaming data, although only from the #JUNOS playlist on Apple Music (and not the one I’ll most likely cobble together for AJoMT).
Besides hearing London natives Loud Luxury’s “Body” a little too much for my liking, there were a few pleasant surprises like Toronto band Dizzy getting well-deserved nods for Breakthrough Group of the Year and Alternative Album of the Year for Baby Teeth. Sarah McLachlan will MC the broadcast in a little over six weeks from Budweiser Gardens, and made it through the storm via Vancouver to tell us how “excited and terrified” she is. And the words “Fucked Up” were lost not bleeped out, something you don’t get to hear every day.
While CARAS does do a great job promoting homegrown talent and are trying to come up with initiatives to further acknowledge individuals (like their new pin program), it’s come to the point where someone needs to address the elephant in the room known as Drake. This is the second year in a row Gordon Lightfoot’s neighbour has been completely snubbed, a fact which becomes a little more noticeable when his Scorpion is up for a GRAMMY but not a JUNO, you know?
Drake or no Drake, the JUNOs in London are sure to be a good time for any Canadian music appreciator. The JUNO Express is even coming back to whisk attendees by VIA Rail train from Union Station to the festivities In. Style!