Music

'I feel proud': k.d. lang looks back at her iconic 1985 Juno win

Accepting the award for most promising female vocalist in a wedding dress was a 'very big moment' for the singer.

Accepting the award for most promising female vocalist in a wedding dress was a 'very big moment'

My Junos Moment: k.d. lang

8 months ago
2:41
k.d. lang looks back at her iconic Junos win for most promising female. 2:41

In 1985, k.d. lang was performing her brand of cowboy punk at country and western bars across the country. Her biggest moments were ahead of her, and she seemed to know it better than anyone. 

When the Junos gave lang the award for most promising female vocalist in 1985 — her first of eight Juno Awards — she was determined to leave her mark.

In a now iconic acceptance speech, lang danced onto the stage in a wedding dress, and vowed always to sing "for the right reasons."

Looking back on it now, lang displays a mix of emotions. "It feels sentimental, it feels funny, it feels embarrassing," she says. "I feel proud. I had so much energy and so much creativity that I just went for the things that I thought of."

I took the pledge not to commercialize my music or not to capitalize in the wrong way on my career.- k.d. lang

In the lead up to the Junos' 50th anniversary, we're looking back at some of the most iconic moments in the award show's history by inviting artists to reflect on their Junos moments. You can watch lang's full My Junos Moment above.  

lang says it was important for her to "inject a lot of humour into it, but I was very, very moved and it was a very big moment for me. Back in those days, I really thought of myself as a performance artist, and so, you know, the name of the category was most promising female."

To play off that idea of being "promising," she came up with the idea of a bride. "Now, I was living with a gay boy and he had a wedding dress in his closet, so I thought, OK," she says.

"I was making a statement on my commitment to the music and to the duty of being an artist," she adds. "I took the pledge not to commercialize my music or not to capitalize in the wrong way on my career. I think for the most part I've kept my motivation pure, so I'm pretty happy about that."

Wherever you are in the world, you can watch the 2021 Juno Awards on Sunday, June 6. You can watch live on CBC TV and CBC Gem, listen on CBC Radio One and CBC Music and stream globally at CBCMusic.ca/junos.

(CBC Music)

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