Books

14 books by and about Juno Award winners that hit the right note

The 2022 Juno Awards take place May 15! Let the Junos inspire your reading and check out one of these 14 books written about or by past winners. 

The annual Juno Awards celebrate outstanding achievements in Canadian music. Hosted by Canadian actor Simu Liu, the 2022 Juno Awards will air live from Toronto on May 15, 2022 on CBC-TV, CBC GemCBC Radio OneCBC Music and CBC Listen.

Let the Junos inspire your reading and check out one of these 14 books written about or written by past Juno winners. 

Far from Over by Dalton Higgins

Far From Over is a book by Dalton Higgins. (ECW Press, Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

Juno Award wins: 7

Far from Over is an "unofficial" biography by writer and hip hop expert Dalton Higgins. The nonfiction work looks at the early life and career of Aubrey Drake Graham, otherwise known as Drake. Far from Over tracks Drake's life from growing up in Toronto's upscale Forest Hill neighbourhood, his acting stint as Jimmy Brooks in the teen drama Degrassi: The Next Generation and his journey to becoming one of the world's biggest hip hop stars.

Higgins is a Canadian author, publicist, professor and expert on hip hop culture. Two of his four pop culture books, Hip Hop and Hip Hop World, are used in classrooms across North America. His interviews, features and reviews have appeared in most major American rap publications. 

Ryerson professor Dalton Higgins explains what students can learn from the chart-topping Toronto artists.

If I Knew Then by Jann Arden

If I Knew Then is a book by Jann Arden. (Random House Canada)

Juno Award wins: 9

Jann Arden is one of Canada's best known singer-songwriters. But when she reached her 50s, her life changed in unexpected ways: she became the caregiver for her mother, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, she became the star of the sitcom Jann and she realized that getting older doesn't mean she can't grow, change and celebrate. If I Knew Then is Arden's memoir looking back on this journey, and how she learned to free herself from expectations and not only live her life, but revel in it.

Arden is a multi-platinum recording artist, actor and author. She recently starred in the fictional television series Jann on CTV. She is also the author of Feeding My Mothera memoir of caring for her mother after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

Canadian singer-songwriter Jann Arden joined Tom Power live on the air to introduce us to a track off her brand new album, Descendant.

Music Lessons by Bob Wiseman

Music Lessons is a memoir by Bob Wiseman. (David Ridgen, ECW Press)

Juno Award wins: 5, as a founding member of Blue Rodeo

In Music Lessons, musician Bob Wiseman writes about finding the link between music and daily life. Each entry in the book explores improvisational music, life lessons and conflict.

Wiseman is a Canadian film composer, songwriter and music teacher. He is one of the founding members of Juno Award-winning band Blue Rodeo. Music Lessons is Wiseman's first book.

Bob Wiseman is one of the most intriguing characters in the Canadian music scene. He’s worked as a musician, producer, and collaborator with bands like Blue Rodeo and the Barenaked Ladies… he’s also worked with incredible Canadian artists like Mary Margaret O’Hara and Sarah Harmer. Now, Bob's latest project brings him to the page – it's a book of thoughts, memories, and musings called Music Lessons. He joined Tom Power to dive into the stories within his book.

Celine Dion's Let's Talk About Love by Carl Wilson

Céline Dion is an award-winning singer from Montreal. (Getty Images, Bloombury)

Juno Award wins: 20

With more than 250 million albums sold, Céline Dion is a music superstar and singing legend. Celine Dion's Let's Talk About Love, written by Canadian music critic and journalist Carl Wilson, takes a look at the singer's career and her standing in pop culture. The book delves into her impoverished childhood, her husband's struggle with cancer and why her music connects with so many people.

Carl Wilson is a Canadian journalist and music critic who has written for Slate, The Globe and Mail, Hazlitt,The New York Times Magazine and many other online and print publications. 

'I was so nervous': Céline Dion remembers her first Junos performance in 1988 | Juno Awards 2021

12 months ago
Duration 0:41
For the Juno Awards 50th anniversary, Céline Dion looks back at her first performance at the Juno Awards in 1988 and how it opened doors for her.

The Never-Ending Present by Michael Barclay

The Never-Ending Present looks at the career of Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip. (ECW Press, Junos)

Juno Award wins: The Tragically Hip (17), Gord Downie (6)

The Tragically Hip, fronted by the late Gord Downie, sold more than eight million albums and won 16 Juno Awards over their career. In The Never-Ending Present, music writer Michael Barclay chronicles how five high school students from Kingston, Ont., became Canadian music legends.

Barclay is a Canadian journalist, editor and music critic. He is also a co-author of Have Not Been the Same: The CanRock Renaissance 1985–95 and Hearts on Fire.

On Aug. 20, 2016, The Tragically Hip bid farewell with a nationally broadcast concert on CBC, live from their hometown of Kingston, Ont. For fans, it was a chance to say goodbye, but for The Hip, it was the end of their journey as a five-piece band. The following year, frontman Gord Downie succumbed to cancer and the four remaining band members were left to pick up the pieces. They've never really talked about it all together — until now. The Hip’s Gord Sinclair, Johnny Fay, Paul Langlois and Rob Baker joined Tom Power onstage at Toronto’s Glenn Gould Studio for an exclusive interview about the loss of Downie, their three decades of brotherhood and their much-anticipated performance at this year’s Juno Awards.

Lightfoot by Nicholas Jennings

Gordon Lightfoot is an iconic Canadian singer-songwriter. (Penguin Canada, Canadian Press/Chad Hipolito)

Juno Award wins: 13, inducted into JUNO Hall of Fame/Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1986

Gordon Lightfoot has been called Canada's greatest songwriter. Known for classic songs like The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald and If You Could Read My Mind, Lightfoot helped define the folk-pop sound of the 1960s. Journalist and biographer Nicholas Jennings had total access to the legendary troubadour in order to document his long career in Lightfoot.

Jennings is an author and one of Canada's most respected music journalists. He was the music critic and feature writer for Maclean's magazine from 1980 to 2000.

Re-examining Gordon Lightfoot's Canadian Railroad Trilogy

11 months ago
Duration 18:43
The Canadian Railroad Trilogy was commissioned by the CBC in 1967 to mark the country's centennial and has become one of Gordon Lightfoot's signature songs. But there's more to the story than that, as a new video essay from Polyphonic's Noah Lefevre explains.

The Flame by Leonard Cohen

The Flame is the final poetry collection by Leonard Cohen. (Canadian Press/DAPD/Kai-'Uwe Knoth, McClelland & Stewart)

Juno Award wins: 9, inducted into JUNO Hall of Fame/Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1991

In the final days of his life, singer-songwriter, poet and novelist Leonard Cohen completed The Flame, a collection of unpublished poetry, selections from his notebooks and lyrics from his albums. Cohen curated the book's selections, which include his insights as an artist and thinker.

Cohen is a Canadian writer, singer-songwriter and poet.

As part of Montreal's celebrations to honour the life of Leonard Cohen in 2017, Eleanor spoke to Sylvie Simmons about her biography I'm Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen. Cohen's posthumous album, Thanks for the Dance, is nominated for a 2021 Juno Award.

Buffy Sainte-Marie ​by Andrea Warner

Music critic Andrea Warner wrote the biography of acclaimed singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie. (Greystone, Getty Images)

Juno Award wins: 7, inducted into JUNO Hall of Fame/Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1995

Buffy Sainte-Marie is an iconic Cree singer-songwriter. Music critic and CBC Music producer Andrea Warner drew from over 60 hours of interviews with Sainte-Marie for this authorized biography. The book goes deep into Sainte-Marie's childhood and through her career as a groundbreaking artist and tireless activist who won an Oscar and was blacklisted by two U.S. presidents.

Andrea Warner is a writer, critic and music journalist for CBC Music.

As an artist and an activist, Buffy Sainte-Marie has always been ahead of her time – whether it comes to messages about the Vietnam War, residential schools or the environment. Now, at 80-years-old, it seems the world may have finally caught up to her. From new albums and tours to being embraced by a new generation of Indigenous artists, the Saskatchewan First Nation-born musician has been experiencing something of a renaissance in recent years. Piya Chattopadhyay spoke with Sainte-Marie on the weekend marking her 80th birthday, about what has made her the inspirational figure she is today.

Reckless Daughter by David Yaffe

Reckless Daughter, written by music critic David Yaffe, is a biography of folk icon Joni Mitchell. (Nick Procaylo/Canadian Press)

Juno Award wins: 4, inducted into JUNO Hall of Fame/Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1981

Joni Mitchell is considered one of the most distinctive voices in Canadian music. Rolling Stone called her "one of the greatest songwriters ever." With Reckless Daughtermusic critic and professor David Yaffe spent nearly 10 years interviewing Mitchell, along with more than 60 people who knew her, to produce this definitive biography.

Yaffe is an American author and professor of English at Syracuse University.

What makes Joni Mitchell so unique and timeless

2 months ago
Duration 6:41
Canadian musicians Sarah Harmer, Laila Biali, Jason Fowler and Andrew Craig discuss what makes legendary singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell so special and why her music remains relevant. Mitchell was recently awarded the MusiCares Person of the Year, a career achievement award honouring her creative accomplishments and philanthropy.

When I Get Older by K'naan

​​
K'naan is a Toronto-based recording artist, poet and activist. (Getty Images, Tundra Books)

Juno Award wins: 3

 K'naan's song Wavin' Flag was an international hit and this children's book looks at the success of both the song and the artist. Born in Mogadishu, Warsame moved to North America with his family and settled in Toronto. When I Get Older is a universal story about immigration and hope and the struggle to succeed in a new land.

Keinan Abdi Warsame, a.ka. K'naan, is a Somali Canadian poet, rapper, singer, songwriter and activist.

K'Naan Doesn't Endorse This Message

10 years ago
Duration 0:49
Mitt Romney marked his Florida primary win with K’Naan’s Waving Flag, but the Canadian singer was not amused.

Something Is Always On Fire by Measha Brueggergosman

​​
Opera star Measha Brueggergosman has documented her life story in Something Is Always On Fire. (Craig Cooper/CBC/HarperCollins)

Juno Award wins: 2

Opera singer and concert artist Measha Brueggergosman has led a remarkable life. Her Grammy-nominated voice was heard by more than three billion viewers at the opening of the Olympic Games in 2010 and she has sang in prestigious concert halls all over the world. Her memoir, Something Is Always On Fire, gives a candid account of the former Canada Reads panellist's highs and lows of her life and career.

Brueggergosman is a Canadian opera singer, Juno award–winning recording artist, personality and television host. Brueggergosman defended Company Town by Madeline Ashby on Canada Reads 2017. 

​Measha Brueggergosman-Lee​ is returning to her roots. She'll be on stage​ in Fredericton ​at Wilmot United Church.

Oscar by Mauricio Segura, translated by Donald Winkler

Mauricio Segura's book is inspired by the life of the late jazz pianist Oscar Peterson. (Biblioasis, Getty Images)

Juno Award wins: 2, inducted into JUNO Hall of Fame/Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1978

Mauricio Segura's book, translated from French by Donald Winkler, revolves around the life of legendary Canadian jazz pianist Oscar Peterson. The book takes a fictional look back at a Depression-era Montreal neighbourhood and explores how race, class and money shaped the world of the jazz legend.

Segura is a Canadian writer, screenwriter and author.

Oscar Peterson: Black + White is a new documentary about Canadian jazz pianist Oscar Peterson. His widow, Kelly Peterson, joined Tom Power to talk about the film and share some stories about her late husband.

Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq

Split Tooth is Polaris Prize-winning artist Tanya Tagaq's first book. (Penguin Random House, Peter Power/Canadian Press)

Juno Award wins: 1

Tanya Tagaq is an Inuk throat singer, composer and visual artist. Combining memoir with fiction, Tagaq writes about a young girl's coming of age in 1970s Nunavut. She is a witness to the mythic wonders of the Arctic world, which are juxtaposed harshly against the violence and alcoholism in her community. Split Tooth is the first book by Tagaq, a Polaris Prize and Juno-winning Inuk singer.

Split Tooth is the first book by Tagaq, a Polaris Prize and Juno-winning Inuk singer. It was shortlisted for the Amazon Canada First Novel Award and was on the longlist for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Inuk singer Tanya Tagaq has been busy making music during the pandemic — music that expresses her fierce desire to protect her children from harm. It's something many parents can relate to right now. She spoke with Tom Power about her new song, Teeth Agape.

Coke Machine Glow by Gord Downie

Tragically Hip front man Gord Downie released Coke Machine Glow to accompany his first solo album in 2001. (Chris Wattie/Reuters/Knopf Canada)

Juno Award wins: The Tragically Hip (17), Gord Downie (6)

The poetry book Coke Machine Glow by the late Canadian musician and author Gord Downie was first jointly released in 2001 with a solo music album of the same name. Coke Machine Glow features images, song lyrics and original poetry. In 2021, Coke Machine Glow was reissued with an accompanying audiobook version read by Canadian figures such as singer-songwriter Sarah Harmer and actors Dan Aykroyd and Bruce McCulloch.

Downie was the lead singer of the Canadian rock band The Tragically Hip. He was a singer-songwriter, poet, actor, philanthropist and activist. He died at age 53 in 2017. Downie's music album Coke Machine Glow was originally released in 2001, in between the ninth and 10th albums by his band The Tragically Hip. The album was released with an accompanying book of poetry of the same name that featured poems about his work, life and music. The reissue marks the record's 20th anniversary.

In this special excerpt from the CBC archives we go back to Shelagh Rogers 2001 interview with Gord Downie on the release of his book of poetry Coke Machine Glow.

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