A wide field of talent is in contention for Canada's Juno Awards, with City & Colour, Dan Mangan, Drake, Feist, Hedley and Nickelback earning a leading four nods apiece.
The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which administers the annual honour, unveiled the nominees for Canada's highest-profile music award in Toronto on Tuesday morning. Nominees in 41 categories were announced, including the inaugural candidates for the first-ever metal/hard music album of the year.
Drake, who hosted the 2011 Junos gala in Toronto, picked up a quartet of nominations for his well-received release Take Care, which will contend for best album and rap recording of the year. He is also vying for the fan-chosen award and artist of the year.
A trio of singer-songwriters are also in the running for four Junos each: City and Colour (the performing alias of rocker Dallas Green); celebrated artist Feist (for her album Metals); and folk-rocker Dan Mangan, who is the relative newcomer among the top contenders. Though Oh Fortune is Mangan's third full-length album, he is among the up-and-coming musicians nominated for best new artist. He is also nominated for his songwriting, for his video Rows of Houses and best alternative album.
"It's bizarre," Mangan told The Canadian Press from Vancouver.
"I've never been nominated [at the Junos] before at all, so there were some hopes that maybe we'd have a pretty good chance of maybe having one nomination … I've since seen the press release that the Junos sent out and my name is mentioned in the big subject line, alongside those big, huge superstar bands. It's a weird thing."
West Coast rockers Hedley and Nickelback also picked up four nominations apiece. They will face off against each other in the categories best group, Juno fan choice and best single (for Invincible and When We Stand Together, respectively).
Right behind the leaders are multiple nominees Avril Lavigne, Michael Bublé, Deadmau5, Justin Bieber, Arkells, Braids and Jim Cuddy.
"Obviously we love the status [Blue Rodeo has] as a band that's been around for a long time, but you do want your newest work to be acknowledged. So I'm very, very pleased," Cuddy said of his nominations for songwriting and adult alternative album for his solo release Skyscraper Soul.
Select nominees include:
- Artist of the year: Drake, Feist, Michael Bublé, City and Colour, Deadmau5.
- Album: Goodbye Lullabye, Avril Lavigne; Take Care, Drake; Under the Mistletoe, Justin Bieber; Christmas, Michael Bublé; Here and Now, Nickleback.
- Single: Fragile Bird, City and Colour; Invincible, Hedley; Let's Go Higher, Johnny Reid; When We Stand Together, Nickelback; I Don't Know, the Sheepdogs.
- Group: The Arkells, Down With Webster, Hedley, Nickelback, Sam Roberts Band.
- International album: 21, Adele; Mylo Xyloto, Coldplay; Born This Way, Lady Gaga; Sorry for Party Rocking, LMFAO; Loud, Rihanna.
- New artist: Alyssa Reid, Dan Mangan, Diamond Rings, JRDN and Lindi Ortega.
- New group: Braids, Hey Rosetta, Mother Mother, the Rural Alberta Advantage, the Sheepdogs.
- Juno fan choice: Arcade Fire, Avril Lavigne, City and Colour, Deadmau5, Drake, Ginette Reno, Hedley, Justin Bieber, Michael Bublé, Nickelback.
- Songwriter: Dallas Green, Dan Mangan, Feist, Jim Cuddy, Ron Sexsmith.
The 41st annual Juno Awards will take place in Ottawa on April 1, with William Shatner as host of the gala. Performers will include many of the night's top nominees, including City and Colour, Deadmau5, Feist, Blue Rodeo and Sarah McLachlan, Hedley and Nickelback.
The ceremony will include a tribute to radio broadcasting mogul Gary Slaight, who will receive the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award in recognition of his contributions to the Canadian music industry. Blue Rodeo will also be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.