By Jesse Espana
Photos by CARAS
The youth movement is well underway in Canada as the 2015 Juno Awards marked a great weekend for up and coming artists, claiming their stake in music all across the world.
The night was kicked off by none other than veterans to the Juno Awards and Canadian sweethearts Hedley, with a performance of their song “Anything.” Jacob Hoggard, lead vocalist of Hedley and host of the 2015 Juno Awards, was in his natural element and was all energy from start to finish.
It was apparent from his first lines of the night that it would be a somewhat scandalous, yet laugh-filled night. With skits suggesting that Sam Roberts was a tad bit high for the occasion and poking fun at Ben Mulroney, it was a night that the younger generations would gravitate more towards.
Hoggard described his hosting experience as “a terrifying mushroom trip,” but it felt much like the Jacob Hoggard the country had come to love since his days on Canadian Idol.
Canada’s hero of the night was, without a doubt, 26-year-old Kiesza, who went home with three Junos including Breakthrough Artist of the Year, Dance Recording of the Year for Sound Of A Woman, and Video of the Year for “Hideaway.” The latter two came at the Gala dinner the night before.
It only made sense that she also performed her smash hit as she rocked Hamilton’s FirstOntario Centre in her best 90’s inspired getup. Backstage she seemed extremely grateful for her Breakthrough award and mentioned all those nominated deserved the award.
Beating out 16-year-old Shawn Mendes, who performed “Life of the Party”, she only had praise for the young artist. “I just think the world of him. He’s so talented. That kid did it all on his own,” she said.
Some other big winners of the night included Toronto reggae band Magic! who went home with Single of the Year for “Rude” and Breakthrough Group of the Year at the Gala. They too performed their hit song as well as “No Way No” and were very fortunate but grounded in their win backstage.
“We’re a new band. We’re not in any rush. It’s a very quick start and we know that. We’re just chillin’ and making the music we love,” said vocalist Nasri.
Hamilton’s own Arkells performed “Come To Light” with Boris Brott and the National Academy Orchestra of Canada. This was just the tip of the iceberg for the hometown boys as they took home Rock Album of the Year for High Noon and Group of the Year at the Gala dinner.
Backstage, the band seemingly didn’t want to leave. While suggesting they were overwhelmed, they kept things together quite nicely, joking around that “we’re actually gonna retire tonight. This is the press conference.” It only added to how comfortable they were with what they had accomplished. “It’s too much. It’s an embarrassment of riches,” said lead vocalist Max Kerman.
Also winning throughout Juno weekend was The Weeknd for the big ticket Artist of the Year and R&B/Soul Recording of the Year for Often. He was a man of very few words backstage, however. It was mentioned beforehand that there would no questions asked but Abel, The Weeknd’s real name, would say a few words. Those were limited to a quick thanks and mention of his next album.
As far as the greats went, Alanis Morissette was honoured as she was inducted into the Canadian Hall of Fame during the Juno Broadcast, and Rush was presented with the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award. Leonard Cohen was also awarded with Album of the Year. It was a nice throwback for the older viewers, but this was without a doubt an award show for much younger and newer talent.
What felt out of place was Deadmau5’s performance with vocalist Colleen D’Agostino. While he is very much a worldwide presence in electronic music, it seemed like he was thrown in because of his relevance in Canadian music. It felt out of place, for me.
Award winners from the Saturday night Gala dinner worth noting included pop star Lights, taking home Pop Album of the Year and performed a mashup with Sam Roberts Band for their respective hit songs. Bahamas won Adult Alternative Album of the Year and Songwriter of the Year and was appreciative that his music wasn’t falling on deaf ears.
Overall, the mood was kept light by Hoggard’s jokes and goofy personality, the performances were well spread out and added a much needed variety of sound, and Hamilton was able to celebrate their very own local boys Arkells. It was one for the books and the City of Hamilton.
The 2016 Juno Awards will be held in Calgary, Alberta at the Saddledome.
Visit junoawards.ca for a full list of winners.
ROCK ALBUM OF THE YEAR
High Noon, Arkells
SINGLE OF THE YEAR
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Popular Problems, Leonard Cohen
BREAKTHROUGH ARTIST OF THE YEAR
JUNO FAN CHOICE
ARTIST OF THE YEAR