The Weeknd via Instagram.
The Weeknd via Instagram.

CARAS Tips Its List In Front Of March 13 Juno Show

After a triumphant return to an in-person outdoor event last summer at Toronto’s Budweiser Stage, the 52nd annual Juno Awards will return to an arena on March 13, at Rogers Place in Edmonton––the first time Canada’s biggest awards show has been in the city in 19 years––and an event that has The Weeknd leading the nominations pack with six, followed by Avril Lavigne and Tate McRae with five apiece.

The full nominee list was rolled out Tuesday (Jan. 31) over several announcement videos from the Toronto headquarters of CBC, in between brief addresses to the breakfast gathering by Allan Reid, president & CEO, CARAS/The Juno Awards; Barb Williams, executive vice-president of CBC; Julia Adam, chair of CARAS and MusiCounts; and Kristy Fletcher, president, MusiCounts. It was the first in-person Juno press conference since 2020 and was well attended by industry, media and artists.

“We all know there are some challenges out there for artists, but our industry continues to demonstrate just how resilient, robust and flat-out creative the Canadian music industry is,” said Reid. “In fact, this year, we received the highest number of submissions in our Juno history.”

The CARAS head then proceeded to thanks its premiere sponsor, TD Bank Group, which among other Juno-related events, underwrites the much-needed TD Juno submission access program, now in its second year, covering the submission fee in up to five categories for independent artists from underrepresented communities. The move has certainly helped to diversify the results and bring attention to other Canadian talent.

“We saw some incredible growth through this program this year, and that’s going to distribute close to $60,000 into the hands of underrepresented independent artists all across Canada…. There are 13 nominees out of the program this year,” Reid said.

Of the nominees this year, there are also 81 first-timers.

On the other end of the spectrum is Nickelback — their rock album nomination brings their lifetime Juno nom total to 38; they have won 12. The (mostly) Alberta natives are also this year’s inductees into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame (they will also have an entire exhibit at the National Music Centre celebrating their career and this major achievement, which will be on display until the following year).

Nickelback will also be performing on the broadcast, in addition to Jessie Reyez, Banx & Ranx with Pablo and Rêve, Alexisonfire, Tate McRae, Tenille Townes, and Aysanabee.

Alberta-based promoter and manager Ron Sakamoto is to receive the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award, and Broken Social Scene founder Kevin Drew is acknowledged with The MusiCounts ‘Inspired Minds’ Ambassador Award for his push to get CARAS’ charity arm to expand its musical instrument program from just schools to community groups.

As previously announced, Canadian-born actor Simu Liu (Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings) will return to host the televised Monday awards show. He was a big hit last year, especially his I Am Canadian rallying bit and his parody on guitar of Avril Lavigne’s Complicated. There are hints of a Nickelback homage this time.

The Juno Awards, as most people in the industry are aware, takes place over two nights. The majority of the trophies are presented at a gala dinner, usually the previous day, but this year two days in front (Saturday, March 11), which will be live-streamed by CBC. The big night is televised on CBC (and all its platforms) and packs in performances between the awards. Tickets are already on sale on Ticketmaster, and $1 from each ticket sold will go to MusiCounts.

CARAS moved the broadcast to the Monday because the Academy Awards are on the 12th.

As noted, The Weeknd tops them all with nominations for TikTok Juno Fan Choice prize (the only category voted on by the public), single, album, artist, songwriter and pop album. Avril Lavigne and Alberta’s Tate McRae both landed five nods each, Lavigne for TikTok Juno Fan Choice, Single, Album, Artist and Pop Album and McRae up for the same four, except adding Songwriter, instead of Lavigne’s Artist of the Year nod. NAV, Preston Pablo, Rêve and The Reklaws are all up for three.

In a moment that received a little chuckle from the audience, the always record-smashing Taylor Swift is up for two of the five spots in the International Album category for Midnights and Red (Taylor’s Version), alongside Ed Sheeran’s =, Harry Styles’ Harry’s House, and Lil Nas X’ Montero. However, Swift has yet to win a Juno, even though she has been nominated in the past.

The Fan Choice appears a toughie; the 10 nominees are Lavigne, The Weeknd, Shawn Mendes, Lauren Spencer-Smith, MacKenzie Porter, Pablo, Rêve, McRae, The Reklaws, and Tyler Shaw.

In the album of the year category is Ali Gatie’s Who Hurt You?, Lavigne’s Love Sux, NAV’s Demons Protected by Angels, McRae’s I Used To Think I Could Fly, and The Weeknd’s Dawn FM.

Artist of the year is between Michael Bublé, Lavigne, Mendes, The Weeknd, and Spencer-Smith, while Group of the Year have Arcade Fire, Billy Talent, Metric, Arkells, and The Reklaws vying for the trophy. And recognizing rising stars, Breakthrough Artist is between Dax, Devon Cole, Pablo, Rêve, and RealestK, while Breakthrough Group is Banx & Ranx, Harm & Ease, Rarer Americans, Wild Rivers, and Tommy Lefroy.

Juno Week, which begins March 9, will also include all the familiar auxiliary events, such as Songwriters Circle, Juno Fan Fare, Juno Comedy Show, and Juno Cup hockey game. “These are going to bring fans together and will give them unparalleled access to some of the most exciting names in Canadian music, said Reid.

For the complete list, visit the Juno Awards website.

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