Juno Awards 2019: the most memorable moments
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It's a big week for Canadian music, with plenty of events, concerts, showcases, parties and award nights during the 2019 Junos. It's impossible to attend everything — particularly if you can't make it to London, Ont. — but we'll be there for you.
From q Live to Junofest to the Juno gala dinner and awards broadcast, we'll be at every event, catching all the best — and behind-the-scenes — moments.
Scroll down for the highlights so far, and check back daily for updates. And head to cbc.ca/junos for full coverage of the weekend, and to find out what you can watch and when.
Juno week kicked off with q Live at the Junos at the London Music Hall. The live taping of the Tom Power-hosted show was a fun, energetic, sold-out event that featured performances from Juno-nominated acts Bahamas, Kaia Kater, Donovan Woods and comedian Chanty Marostica.
A popular topic of the evening was Juno-nominated pop star, Shawn Mendes. Afie Jurvanen, better known as Bahamas, is one of many artists up against Mendes this year. When Power brought that up, Jurvanen responded: "Shawn Mendes ain't coming to London, Ontario, is he?" (Mendes will not be attending this year's Juno Awards.)
Woods later compared his own level of fame to that of superstar Mendes': "Once you get to the Juno Awards you feel like you're famous; you get there and there's a whole other red carpet for Shawn Mendes."
Author Emma Donoghue, who moved to London, Ont., from Ireland two decades ago, showed some hometown love by sporting a red London T-shirt. Donoghue said London is a great city for writers: "I've had 21 years here and I've written quite a lot because there's not much getting in the way," she joked.
Later on, Donoghue opened up about her successful novel Room — which was adapted into an Oscar-nominated film in 2015 — and noted that she wrote "one of the saddest scenes in Room in the YMCA while stashing my kids in the free childcare."
Ahead of this year's Juno Cup, Blue Rodeo's Jim Cuddy and Toronto Furies player Natalie Spooner talked to Power about hockey, music and the big game ahead. "She's going to Worlds in five minutes, so she's in game shape," Cuddy said, just before Spooner predicted that her team would beat out Cuddy's with a score of 15-9.
Marostica was another highlight of the evening. As the first out trans person to be nominated for a comedy Juno, the comedian's short but hilarious set focused on their appearance ("I'm either gay or I'm Justin Bieber's twin aunt") and the differences between a girls' and guys' night out. When they sat down with Power, though, they took a moment to sincerely reflect on this historic moment. "Coming out as trans and being able to feel like myself for the first time ever was the biggest thing," they said.
Earlier in the day, Cuddy, Spooner and all other Juno Cup participants hit the ice to practice for the big game. The Reklaws' Jenna and Stuart Walker took us behind the scenes at the Western Fair District Sports Centre, taking over CBC Music's Instagram stories. Re-watch their stories in @CBC_Music's highlights.
One of Friday night's big events was the jazz showcase at McManus Stage. Hosted by CBC Music's Laila Biali, the event featured six of this year's Juno-nominated jazz acts: Allison Au, Alison Young, Larnell Lewis, Robi Botos and Quinsin Nachoff, all headed by musical director — and 2018 Juno winner — Mike Downes. Biali herself is nominated twice this year in the vocal jazz album of the year category, to which Downes said: "Nothing like going up against yourself in the same category."
Each musician shared stories behind the songs they performed, and inspirations ranged from New Orleans' signature food, beignets (Lewis' "Beignets") to memories of emigrating from Hungary to Canada (Botos' standout performance of "Budapest").
Biali did double duties, both hosting and performing an amazing three-song set in a beautiful outfit that she admitted she "didn't test drive."
Elsewhere, Junofest kicked off with a number of showcases across London. Over at Rum Runners, Juno Master Class winner Haviah Mighty performed a commanding set. The Toronto artist, who's also a member of the rap group the Sorority, previewed a few new songs from her upcoming solo album.
Between energetic anthems, she shouted out fellow artists Snotty Nose Rez Kids and aquakultre, who were in attendance and were happily dancing along to Mighty's performance. She was also "basking in the glory" of being uncensored after she paid a visit to Fanshawe College and spoke to students earlier that day. Her full, uncensored self was unapologetic, outspoken and the exact reason why we can't wait to hear more from this rising hip hop star.
Over at Aeolian Hall, composer/songwriter/pianist Stephan Moccio performed an evening with friends who included The Launch winner Saveria, songwriter/singer Marc Jordan and the El Sistema choir, whose members are between the ages of six and 16.
Moccio, who wrote Celine Dion's "A New Day Has Come" and Miley Cyrus's "Wrecking Ball," performed many of his songs, including the 2010 Olympics theme song he co-wrote, "I Believe."
Another song on the playlist was titled "Carrie," from his 2006 album Exposure, and Moccio elaborated on its origins: "I was a huge Sex and the City fan. The show. With Sarah Jessica Parker. She's so pretty. And my wife knows about my crush on Carrie Bradshaw [laughs]." He continued to explain that he's watched every episode, and the episode "The Domino Effect" from season 6 inspired him to write a song for Carrie.
"Big was just being a man at his worst .... this song is my attempt to help Carrie," he explained.
Gryphon Trio, nominated for two Juno Awards this year, was the house band for CBC Music's Junofest classical showcase held at Aeolian Hall. They began the concert with a fierce reading of the third movement of Rebecca Clarke's Piano Trio. Speaking with host Julie Nesrallah, Gryphon Trio's cellist Roman Borys reflected on the group's 25-year milestone: "Commissioning, keeping the art form alive has been a really huge thing for us."
The audience was also treated to selections from Osvaldo Golijov's Ayre, whose Arabic, Hebrew, Sardinian and Sephardic songs were sung by Lebanese–Canadian soprano Miriam Khalil. "I can be everything that I am in this one piece," she said following the performance, with emotion in her voice.
Ravel's flamboyant Tzigane got the biggest ovation from the audience at Aeolian Hall. Before Blake Pouliot played it on his 1729 Guarneri del Gesù violin, he had the audience in stitches, recalling the time he performed on the same bill as Diana Ross. "She smells amazing," he pointed out. "I got to have a meet-and-greet with her, and I told her, 'I was trying to compete with you tonight, to see who would have the tallest hair.' But she still won."
Fans got up close to their favourite artists at CF Masonville Place for this year's Juno Fan Fare. Johnny Orlando, Brett Kissel, Tyler Shaw, the Reklaws, Meghan Patrick and more posed for pictures at the meet-and-greet, and Orlando performed a short set.
In between photos, dance duo Loud Luxury was spotted chatting with the members of the Washboard Union. Orlando, who mentioned to CBC Music that he'll be seated near Jessie Reyez, Nav and Killy at Sunday's broadcast, said he got to meet Killy for the first time in the green room at Fan Fare.
Thirty-six awards were later given out at the Juno gala event at the London Convention Center. Shawn Mendes was the big winner of the night, taking home four awards: single of the year, artist of the year, songwriter of the year and pop album of the year. Unfortunately, he is not in London this weekend as he is in the middle of his European tour.
Michael Bublé, who took home the award for adult contemporary album of the year, was in the room though, to present David Foster with the Humanitarian Award. "When it comes to generosity, there's generosity, and then there's David," he said. When Foster got up onstage, he took the time to promote his philanthropic work and even though he admitted that his speech was running long, Foster pointed out: "When am I going to get another Humanitarian Award? It's like my funeral when I'm alive."
The evening also included performances by Port Cities, Donovan Woods, Exco Levi and Hubert Lenoir, who kicked off the evening with a bombastic rendition of "Ton hôtel" where Lenoir gave everyone the middle finger and then kissed his guitarist.
The final award, rock album of the year, went to Arkells, who brought a surprise guest up onstage. Indigenous music album of the year winner Jeremy Dutcher was cut off during his acceptance speech earlier in the evening, so the Hamilton rockers invited him back onstage to finish in a touching finale to the evening. "This is what giving space looks like," Dutcher said.
Backstage, in the media room, Arkells frontman Max Kerman explained that he was moved by Dutcher's speech and when the two ran into each other in the bathroom, Kerman asked Dutcher where he was sitting so that Kerman could grab Dutcher if Arkells won.
At the 2019 Juno Songwriters' Circle, co-hosted by Alan Doyle and Tom Power, composer and songwriter David Foster performed the first few verses of some of his biggest hits. One of those songs was "I Have Nothing," which he co-wrote with Linda Thompson and Whitney Houston performed for the soundtrack to The Bodyguard.
When Foster returned to his stool for singer Elisapie to follow with her song, Foster turned to her and said, "Can you sing the chorus to that song?"
Elisapie graciously took to the mic — without any lyrics in front of her — and belted out the chorus to the Houston classic.
Elisapie's own performances were also stirring: she opened with a cover of Willie Thrasher's "Wolves Don't Live by the Rules," and asked everyone to stand for her performance of "Arnaq" ("Woman" in Inuktitut), an ode to women and femininity sung in Inuktitut, English and French.
London, Ont. dance duo Loud Luxury kicked off the Juno broadcast with their smash hit, "Body." The best dance recording award winners rounded out their explosive opening performance with the help of the song's singer, Brando, as well as the Western University Mustang Marching Band and Western Mustang cheerleaders. (Loud Luxury's Andrew Fedyk and Joe Depace attended Western University.)
That was followed up immediately by Sarah McLachlan, who made her hosting debut with an opening monologue that mixed comedy with politics. McLachlan, who has been attending the Junos for the past 25 years, wondered why she was never asked to host util now.
"I think, maybe, people have the impression that I spend all my time sitting in the dark, watching Handmaid's Tale, reading Sylvia Plath, thinking up new ways to make people cry, or saving stray dogs and cats," she concluded. "OK, maybe I do do some of those things but I'm a very happy person!"
Talk then turned political when McLachlan mentioned her "potty mouth" and how U.S. president Donald Trump is one of many things that may bring her to her boiling point. "Oh, he does make me want to swear," she added.
Corey Hart was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and in his emotional acceptance speech, he said, "I believe that music and love are the most enduring and powerful forces of good in the world." He also thanked music, and the Junos, for bringing him and his wife, Julie, together. He continued, "And without love, I would've never experienced the miracle of cradling in my arms my four precious babies."
Later in the show, rock superstar Sting made a surprise appearance, joining Humanitarian Award recipient David Foster to present the R&B/soul recording award to Jessie Reyez. Just like the year before, Reyez, now a two-time Juno winner, delivered a powerful and moving speech that encouraged others to go after their dreams.
Shawn Mendes, who is currently on tour, wasn't able to make it to London, but the Junos aired a special filming of his Juno-winning hit "In my Blood," performed all the way from Europe.
Polaris and Juno Award winner Jeremy Dutcher teamed up with classical musician Blake Pouliot for a stunning performance of "Sakomawit." As noted later on in the media room, Pouliot is the first classical musician in over two decades to play on the stage.
And to cap off the evening, Hart took to the stage to perform his hits "Never Surrender" and "Sunglasses at Night."