Get to know Juno breakthrough artist nominee Allan Rayman

The Toronto-based artist is considered a 'mystery,' and he's done almost no interviews since his debut.

The Toronto-based artist is considered a 'mystery,' and he's done almost no interviews since his debut

(Courtesy of the artist)

The Juno categories of breakthrough artist and group of the year have gone through a few different identities in their 44-year history, but what's never changed is the incredible pedigree of the categories' winners. A veritable who's who of now-established and future Canadian music industry icons have taken home these coveted Junos.

Breakthrough artist winners include Burton Cummings, k.d. lang, Colin James, Alanis Morissette, Jann Arden, Avril Lavigne, Michael Bublé, Feist, Drake, the Weeknd, and Alessia Cara. The list of breakthrough group winners is equally star-studded: Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Rush, Glass Tiger, the Tragically Hip, Nickelback, Alexisonfire, Said the Whale and A Tribe Called Red.

This year's crop of nominated artists and groups features an exciting and diverse array of musicians. From Toronto-based R&B singer-songwriter Jessie Reyez and Montreal-based electro-pop singer-songwriter Charlotte Cardin to the Iqaluit-based folk-rock act the Jerry Cans and the Regina-based bluegrass band the Dead South, almost every music fan will find something to love in the nominees.

Think of the Junos as an opportunity to survey just a little bit more of the country's music scene, its depth and breadth, and then keep checking back every Thursday and Friday as CBC Music posts its handy primers for each artist and group, as well as some context to help deepen your appreciation of these great musicians.

Who: Allan Rayman.

Where: Toronto (by way of Lost Springs, Wyo., allegedly).

Sound: alt-R&B with some hip-hop and rock influences.

Why he's nominated: His self-released debut, 2015's Hotel Allan, started to blow up — and then Universal Music came calling, re-releasing the record in 2016 as well as Rayman's followup, Roadhouse 01, via his new label, Communion Records (co-founded by Mumford & Sons keyboardist/vocalist, Ben Lovett). In just the last year, Rayman's music video/short films have garnered more than 1.5 million views on YouTube.   

Previous job: construction worker.

Fun fact: Rayman has received a lot of press for being a "mystery" — including here, here and here — but he's done almost no actual interviews since his 2015 debut, Hotel Allan. In 2017, Rayman released his followup album, Roadhouse 01 and an EP, Courtney.

Quote: "I haven't been doing many interviews and haven't been all over social media; at the end of the day, I think fans build up these crazy ideas of celebrities or musicians or the people they're listening to and watching and I think there's a really dark undertone to that fandom and celebrity-ness … I'm a pretty average dude with a pretty boring story, but I can write some songs and I'm very creative — but I'm not going to wow you with my background. I often, especially recently when I'm at home, am wondering, 'Why is this becoming so successful?' Because at the end of the day, I would say I'm just a regular dude, so why me? I still haven't really figured it out." — Billboard, 2017

Related: Watch Rayman perform more songs from his sophomore album in this First Play Live session

'Word of Mouth,' Courtney EP (2017)

'Repeat' feat. Jessie Reyez, Roadhouse 01 (2017)

'25.22,' Roadhouse 01 (2017)

'Go My Way,' Courtney EP (2017)


Allan Rayman's CBC Music First Play Live concert (2017)

Wherever you are in the world, you can watch the 2018 Juno Awards broadcast live from the Rogers Arena in Vancouver on March 25 at cbcmusic.ca/junos.


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