London, ON: While Pickering, Ontario, pop sensation Shawn Mendes was entertaining a Saturday night concert crowd in Denmark, he was piling up the Juno Awards on the opposite side of the Atlantic at the annual Gala Dinner & Awards at the London Convention Centre.
The 20-year-old Mendes won all four trophies he was nominated for - including Artist of the Year. His other wins were in the categories of Pop Album, for his eponymous long player; Single, for "In My Blood"; and Songwriter of the Year for his co-writes "In My Blood," "Youth" and "Lost in Japan".
The three-and-a-half hour ceremony counted a surprise appearance by Michael Bublé, who presented David Foster with the Humanitarian Award, and the arrival of the first Juno for Jonquiére, Québec metal legends Voivod in its 36-year history.
Other highlights included Hard Rock Album Juno winners Arkells (Rally Cry) giving their acceptance speech time to Indigenous Album of the Year winner Jeremy Dutcher (Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa), who was cut off at the podium before he had the chance to discuss his views on Reconciliation. And, of course, celebrating the 63-year-and-counting career of music and radio giant Duff Roman, recipient of the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award.
Perennially held the night before the nationally broadcast Junos - hailing from London's Budweiser Gardens on St. Patrick's Day - the Gala Dinner Awards hands out the majority of the hardware and some well-deserved "special tributes" in between great musical performances, and this year was no exception.
As guests supped on a main course of Bruce County Filet Mignon, washed it down with Jackson-Triggs Reserve Sauvignon VQA Blanc and Cabernet, and enjoyed performances by Hubert Lenoir, Port Cities, Donovan Woods, Dizzy and five-time Reggae Album Juno winner Exco Levi, hosts Ben Kowalewicz - whose night gig is as Billy Talent frontman - and Julie Nesrallah, a mezzo-soprano who doubles as the emcee of CBC Music's Tempo - kept the proceedings moving along smartly through all 36 categories.
Kowalewicz immediately endeared himself to the crowd by announcing that he would be our "Sarah McLachlan for the evening," and that any acceptance speeches running longer than 60 seconds would result in the winners forfeiting their Juno, which would then be "added to the Shawn Mendes tally." While most kept their thank-yous to within the desired timeframe, Mendes probably would have ended up with 12 more had the rule been strictly enforced.
After a passionate performance from Montreal's Hubert Lenoir - whose guitar player made out both with Lenoir and his backing singer - it only seemed fitting that the first award would go to London's Loud Luxury, who won Dance Recording of the Year for "Body."
Apparently, en route to a concert performance in Chicago on St. Patrick's Day, Burnaby superstar crooner Michael Bublé surprised everyone by accepting Adult Contemporary Album of the Year Juno for Love.
"It means a lot," said Bublé. "Every time I get to come and be around you beautiful souls, I can't tell you how much it means to me. It means everything to me."
A few minutes later, Bublé got a little choked up when praising his producer pal David Foster before presenting him with his Humanitarian Award.
"His own Foundation (The David Foster Foundation) alone has helped over 3000 families in Canada to receive help they need when one of their own needs an organ transplant and in my own family, I know, there is no end to additional pain, and expenses the families have to go through, and the support that is required to keep those families together is crucial to the healing process. Because of David's commitment to helping them, that child's recovery is easier, and that means something."
"He always comes through, and whenever he's asked to help, the word 'no' does not exist in his vocabulary," Bublé praised.
In his acceptance speech, Foster - who lamented that only 14% of Canadians are organ donors - said his only hope is that in 30 years, "some child says, 'I have no clue who David Foster is, but because of his Foundation, we got to keep our house, our car, my Dad's job, our dignity and my sister now has a new heart and is living a normal and healthy life."
Touching moments like these were peppered throughout the Juno acceptance speeches, whether it was Video of the Year director Ali Eisner (Bahamas, "No Depression") reassuring that life "gets better;" Electronic Album of the Year winners Milk And Bone (Deception Bay) praising the number of women nominated in their category, or Mr. Kowalweicz urgently pleading for the music community to stand united in "these divisive times."
The messages were strong, clear and needed, and helped give a grounding perspective to those who wanted a little something more than entertainment.
On a less serious note, here were the most memorable quotes of the evening:
"I should retract something. I said Jim Cuddy was the most handsome man in music. I'm going to give it to him (Michael Bublé) as well - I'm going to give it to Bubbles." - Ben Kowalweicz.
."When I arrived here in the '70s from Argentina, I learned both English and French by listening to Canadian music." - Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism.
"This is our first Juno in 36 years," Michael Langevin, Voivod, winner of Heavy Metal/Hard Music Album of the Year (The Wake.)
"I grew up on a chicken farm 20 minutes from here," Nick Adams, Splash and Boots, Children's Album of the Year (You, Me and the Sea.)
"To my manager - I'm sorry, I've joined the Arkells. They have a better rider." Jeremy Dutcher
Here's the list of winners:
SINGLE OF THE YEAR
In My Blood Shawn Mendes Universal
INTERNATIONAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR
beerbongs & bentleys Post Malone Universal
ARTIST OF THE YEAR (PRESENTED WITH APPLE MUSIC)
Shawn Mendes Universal
BREAKTHROUGH GROUP OF THE YEAR (SPONSORED BY FACTOR, THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA, AND CANADA’S PRIVATE RADIO BROADCASTERS)
The Washboard Union Warner
SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR (PRESENTED BY SOCAN)
“Lost In Japan” – co-songwriters Nate Mercereau, Scott Harris, Teddy Geiger, “Youth” – co-songwriters Geoff Warburton, Khalid Robinson, Scott Harris, Teddy Geiger, “In My Blood” – co-songwriters Geoff Warburton, Scott Harris, Teddy Geiger SHAWN MENDES – Shawn Mendes Universal
Publisher Universal Music Publishing
ADULT ALTERNATIVE ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Earthtones Bahamas Universal
ALTERNATIVE ALBUM OF THE YEAR (SPONSORED BY LONG & MCQUADE)
Baby Teeth Dizzy Royal Mountain*Universal
POP ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Shawn Mendes Shawn Mendes Universal
ROCK ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Rally Cry Arkells Arkells*Universal
VOCAL JAZZ ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Laila Biali Laila Biali Chronograph*Fontana North/Universal
JAZZ ALBUM OF THE YEAR: SOLO
Old Soul Robi Botos A440*Universal
JAZZ ALBUM OF THE YEAR: GROUP
The Seasons of Being Andy Milne & Dapp Theory Sunnyside*AMPED/AEC/eOne
INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR
China Cloud Gordon Grdina madic*Independent/Universal
FRANCOPHONE ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Une année record Loud Joy Ride*Universal
CHILDREN’S ALBUM OF THE YEAR
You, Me and the Sea Splash’N Boots Independent*Fontana North/Universal
CLASSICAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR: SOLO OR CHAMBER
The End of Flowers: Works by Clarke & RavelGryphon Trio Analekta*Select/The Orchard
CLASSICAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR: LARGE ENSEMBLE
Vaughan Williams Toronto Symphony Orchestra conducted by Peter Oundjian featuring Louis Lortie, Sarah Jeffrey, & Teng Li Chandos* Naxos
CLASSICAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR: VOCAL OR CHORAL
Vienna: Fin de siècle Barbara Hannigan with Reinbert De Leeuw Alpha*Naxos
CLASSICAL COMPOSITION OF THE YEAR
Golden Slumbers Kiss your Eyes Ana Sokolović Analekta*Select/The Orchard
RAP RECORDING OF THE YEAR
LoVE me NOw Tory Lanez Interscope*Universal
DANCE RECORDING OF THE YEAR
Body Loud Luxury Armada Music B.V*Sony
REGGAE RECORDING OF THE YEAR
Sly & Robbie meet Dubmatix – OverdubbedDubmatix Echo Beach*Fontana North/Universal/The Orchard
INDIGENOUS MUSIC ALBUM OF THE YEAR (PRESENTED BY APTN)
Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa Jeremy Dutcher Independent*Fontana North/Universal
CONTEMPORARY ROOTS ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Both Ways Donovan Woods Meant Well*Fontana North/Universal
TRADITIONAL ROOTS ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Sweet Old Religion Pharis and Jason Romero Borealis*Fontana North/Universal/Free Dirt
BLUES ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Miles To Go Colin James True North*IDLA/Universal
CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN/GOSPEL ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Tired Of Basic LOVECOLLIDE ABS Entertainment*The Fuel Music
WORLD MUSIC ALBUM OF THE YEAR (PRESENTED BY AEROMEXICO)
Rapadou Kreyol Wesli WUP*Select
JACK RICHARDSON PRODUCER OF THE YEAR
Eric Ratz “People’s Champ”, “Relentless” RALLY CRY – Arkells Arkells*Universal
RECORDING ENGINEER OF THE YEAR (SPONSORED BY 3M)
Shawn Everett “Slow Burn”, “Space Cowboy”GOLDEN HOUR – Kacey Musgraves Universal
ALBUM ARTWORK OF THE YEAR
Mike Milosh (Art Director, Designer, Illustrator, & Photographer) BLOOD – Rhye Last Gang*eOne
VIDEO OF THE YEAR (PRESENTED BY STINGRAY)
No Depression Ali Eisner Bahamas Universal
Director of Photography: Peter John Schnobb
ELECTRONIC ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Deception Bay Milk & Bone Bonsound*Sony
METAL/HARD MUSIC ALBUM OF THE YEAR
The Wake Voivod Century Media*Sony
ADULT CONTEMPORARY ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Love Michael Bublé Warner
COMEDY ALBUM OF THE YEAR (SPONSORED BY SIRIUSXM CANADA)
Good Friend Bad Grammar Dave Merheje Macaw*Independent
HUMANITARIAN AWARD (PRESENTED BY MUSIC CANADA)
WALT GREALIS SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD