Charlotte Cardin, The Weeknd, Justin Bieber lead 2022 Juno Award nominees

Montreal’s Charlotte Cardin leads the field of Junos nominees this year with six nods, ahead of Justin Bieber and the Weeknd, who each have five. The winners will be decided at the 51st Juno Awards, which will be held in Toronto at the first in-person ceremony since 2019.

Cardin set to perform alongside Arkells, Avril Lavigne, Mustafa at 1st in-person ceremony since pandemic began

Montreal artist Charlotte Cardin's CBC Music Festival performance quickly went from rainy to sunshine. (Vanessa Heins/CBC)

In an eclectic year that includes nominations for an indie band founded just after Facebook to a kid barely older than the pandemic, Charlotte Cardin topped the list of nominees for the 51st annual Juno Awards on Tuesday.

With six nods Cardin beat out even the Weeknd and Justin Bieber at what will be the first in-person Junos event since the awards were cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This feels unreal," Cardin said in an interview with CBC News. "I can't stop smiling. I'm getting so many messages from my mom and dad and friends. They're freaking out."

The Montreal singer's album Phoenix, released in April 2021, helped her become the first female artist to spend multiple weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard charts since Céline Dion in 2016. 

It also afforded her nominations for album of the year, artist of the year and single of the year (for Meaningless) only four years after her first Juno nomination for breakthrough artist of the year in 2018.

Cardin is also set to perform at the show and will take the stage alongside seven-time Juno winners Arkells, pop/punk icon Avril Lavigne and singer, songwriter and poet Mustafa. The awards will be hosted by Marvel star and Kim's Convenience actor Simu Liu

Justin Bieber's 6th studio album, Justice, was released on March 19, 2021. (Supplied by Universal Music Group)

Bieber, the Weeknd tie with 5 nominations

Meanwhile, superstars the Weeknd and Bieber aren't far behind Cardin in terms of honours.

Bieber, who is also one of the front-runners at the Grammy awards this year, has an impressive five nominations for single of the year (Peaches), album of the year, pop album of the year (both for Justice), artist of the year and fan choice. It's an identical showing to last year for the singer, though he ultimately only took home one award. 

Toronto singer the Weeknd (real name Abel Tesfaye) is up for the same number of nominations, despite the fact that he didn't release a full album in 2021. While he is only up for three Grammys this year — he launched a boycott after being snubbed by the awards entirely in 2021 — he was the big winner at last year's Junos when he took home five trophies out of six nominations. 

The Weeknd is now up for single of the year and contemporary recording of the year (both for Take My Breath), fan choice, artist of the year and songwriter of the year (for Hurricane, Moth To A Flame and Take My Breath).

Chart topper Shawn Mendes also continued his strong performance at the awards with four nominations, including for fan choice — the seventh straight year he's been nominated in the category, which he won last year. 

New faces dominate categories

But aside from those familiar faces the rest of the list is surprisingly varied, and Cardin is among a number of relative newcomers and first-time nominees. At this year's awards, 105 nominees — over 36 genre and five technical categories — have never been up for an award before. 

"I think the fact that half of our nominees are first-time nominees astounded me," said Junos president Allan Reid. "It's been amazing throughout this pandemic and over the last two years, we saw more submissions to the Junos [than] we've ever seen in the past."

That includes Pressa, a first-time nominee up for four awards. The platinum-certified Toronto artist is known for his collaborations with Drake, Migos and Coi Leray, and is nominated for fan choice, breakthrough artist, rap album of the year (Gardner Express) and rap single of the year (Attachments).

Because Juno organizers split the rap recording into two separate categories this year, Pressa could make history by winning in either. 

Vancouver singer/songwriter Jessia is also nominated for the first time, and is one of a growing list of Juno nominees in the spotlight because of success on TikTok.

A video of her singing an unfinished version of her song I'm Not Pretty found a huge audience on the app last year, which led to her inclusion on a Rolling Stone list of fastest up-and-coming artists and moved her to the top of Billboard's Canada Emerging Artist chart. 

Jessia's skyrocketing success was unexpected. She had dreamed of a Juno nomination but was surprised to learn she had so many nods in only her first year.

"I just threw [the song] up on TikTok and hoped for the best," said Jessia. "When things started blowing up, I was like 'Oh my goodness, it would be so cool if [I got nominated at the] Junos but maybe in a couple of years."

She is now also a platinum-certified artist and in the running for breakthrough artist of the year, fan choice, single of the year (I'm Not Pretty) and alternative album of the year (How Are You?). 

Singer Jessia is nominated for Junos in four categories. The Vancouver artist shot to fame in 2021 from success on TikTok. (Riley Stewart)

Nominees in key categories:

  • TikTok Juno fan choice: 347aidan, Bbno$, Charlotte Cardin, Forest Blakk, Jessia, Justin Bieber, Loud Luxury, Pressa, Shawn Mendes, The Weeknd

  • Artist of the year: Charlotte Cardin, JP Saxe, Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, The Weeknd

  • Album of the year: Phoenix, Charlotte Cardin; Dangerous Levels of Introspection, JP Saxe; Justice, Justin Bieber; Wonder, Shawn Mendes; Too Young To Be Sad, Tate McRae

  • Single: Make a Life, Not a Living, Brett Kissel; Meaningless, Charlotte Cardin; I'm Not Pretty, Jessia; Peaches, Justin Bieber ft. Daniel Caesar & Giveon; Take My Breath, The Weeknd

  • Group: Arkells, Loud Luxury, Mother Mother, The Reklaws, Valley

  • Breakthrough artist: 347aidan, Faouzia, Jessia, Pressa, Tesher

  • Breakthrough group: Black Pistol Fire, Cleopatrick, Monowhales, Ocie Elliott, Spiritbox

  • Songwriter: The Weeknd, Allison Russell, Charlotte Day Wilson, Mustafa Ahmed, Tobi 

Veterans go viral; 4-year-old is youngest nominee 

Other standout TikTok nominees include Saskatchewan's Tesher (who went viral with his Jalebi Baby and a remix of Lil Nas X's Old Town Road) Toronto rapper 347aidan who skyrocketed to fame with his track Dancing In My Room and, surprisingly, Vancouver mainstays Mother Mother. 

Mother Mother lead singer Ryan Guldemond, centre, is shown with his bandmates in this handout image. The Vancouver rock act recently saw a surge in the popularity of three of their songs, fuelled by TikTok. (James O'Mara/Watchdog Management/The Canadian Press)

Though they've been making music since 2005, they exploded in popularity after their first two albums went viral on TikTok in late 2020. It's part of a trend of older music and groups finding a second chance on the app, which has a growing influence over what music becomes popular.

Still, that's not to say the future of the Junos is in music's past, as two of this year's nominees are younger than most of their competitors' entire careers.

Toronto's Kairo McLean earned his first nomination for the reggae track Easy Now at 13, while Romeo Aniello is now the youngest ever nominee at just four years old. 

Aniello, son of Walk Off The Earth members Gianni Luminati and Sarah Blackwood and credited as Romeo Eats, is up for children's album of the year for Walk Off the Earth x Romeo Eats Vol. 1. The album is a companion to a web series hosted by Luminati and Aniello, which features the two discovering new food alongside musical accompaniment. 

The previous youngest nominees were the members of children's group Girl Pow-R, the youngest being 11 years old. They were also up for children's album of the year in 2020. 

The 51st Juno Awards are scheduled to take place in Toronto on May 15 at the open-air Budweiser Stage at Ontario Place. 

The show will be broadcast at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on CBC TV, CBC Gem, CBC Radio One, CBC Music and CBC Listen, and globally at CBCMusic.ca/junos and CBC Music's Facebook, YouTube and Twitter pages. Tickets go on sale March 4 at 10 a.m. ET.

Other nominees include:

  • Contemporary Indigenous artist or group of the year: When The Magic Hits, Adrian Sutherland; War Club, DJ Shub; Wild Whisper, Jayli Wolf; Shawnee Kish, Shawnee Kish; Life After, Snotty Nose Rez Kids

  • Traditional Indigenous artist or group: Kakike, Fawn Wood; Singing is Healing, Joel Wood; Manitou Mkwa Singers II, Manitou Mkwa Singers; Nang Giizhigoong, Nimkii & the Niniis; Angel Eagle — Cree Round Dance Songs, Young Spirit

  • Alternative album of the year: Hope For Sale, Chiiild; Death of an Optimist, Grandson; When Smoke Rises, Mustafa; If It Comes Down To It, Ruby Waters; The Fool, Sate

  • Pop album of the year: Phoenix, Charlotte Cardin; How Are You? Jessia; Justice, Justin Bieber; Wonder, Shawn Mendez; Too Young To Be Sad, Tate McRae

  • Country album: What Is Life? Brett Kissel; Boys, Dean Brody; Girl to Girl, Tenille Arts; Sophomore Slump, The Reklaws; Campfire Troubadour, Tim Hicks

  • Rock album: Blink Once, Arkells; Look Alive, Black Pistol Fire; Sisters Not Twins (The Professional Lovers Album), The Beaches; Hidden Gems, The Blue Stones; F–k Art, The Dirty Nil

  • Rap album/EP: See You Next Wednesday, Belly; Stock Exchange, Haviah Mighty; Emergency Tsunami, Nav; The Extravagant Collection, NorthSideBenji; Gardner Express (Deluxe), Pressa 

  • Rap single: What I Like, Anders ft. Frvrfriday, Edamame, Bbno$ ft. Rich Brian; Bold, Charmaine Warner; 30,000 ft, NorthSideBenji & DJ Charlie B; Attachments, Pressa ft. Taliban Glizzy

  • Album francophone de l'année: Impossible à aimer, Cœur de pirate; Grignotines de Luxe, Fouki; Le ciel est au plancher, Louis-Jean Cormier; Acrophobie; Roxane Bruneau; Toute beauté n'est pas perdue, Vincent Vallières

  • Contemporary roots album: Outside Child, Allison Russell; Without People, Donovan Woods; My Name Is Suzie Ungerleider, Suzie Ungerleider; Open House, The Fretless

  • Traditional roots album: Back to the Harbour, Alan Doyle; New Time & Old Acoustic, John Reischman; Joyful Banner Blazing; Maria Dunn; Chinook Waltz, Over The Moon; Trench Songs, The Fugitives

  • Blues album: Open Road, Colin James; Blow, Colin Linden; Live at the Isabel, Miss Emily; Hope Dies Last, Steve Marriner; Pinky's Blues; Sue Foley