Grammy nominees Boi-1da, Kai: the Canadians behind the hits you know well

Drake might be on tour in Europe during the Grammys and it's uncertain if Justin Bieber will attend Sunday's ceremony, but Canadian nominees Boi-1da and Kai are among those getting ready for the big night.

Hip hop producer Boi-1da worked with Drake, Rihanna; Kai did vocals, lyrics for dance track Never Be Like You

Canadian producer Boi-1da, whose work with Drake and Rihanna have earned him Grammy nominations this year, says the recognition is a "celebration of your music on the highest level." (Rich Polk/Getty Images)

Drake might be on tour in Europe during the Grammys and it's uncertain whether Justin Bieber will attend Sunday's ceremony but other Canadian nominees are getting ready for the big night.

Among them, Toronto hip hop producer Boi-1da, who's worked with some of music's biggest acts, including Drake, Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Jay Z and Nicki Minaj.

"I just love when people actually enjoy my music, so this is like a celebration of your music on the highest level," he told CBC News in Los Angeles.

Boi-1da, whose real name is Matthew Jehu Samuels, is nominated for major hardware, including record of the year for Rihanna's track Work and album of the year for Drake's Views.

Boi-1da is nominated for top awards, including record of the year for Rihanna's Work and album of the year for Toronto rapper Drake's Views. (Christopher Polk/Getty Images/Joel Ryan/Associated Press)

He says the Grammys can be "unpredictable," but the recognition pays off.

"More people are seeing you, reading about you, on a huge scale," he said.

"I've actually met a lot of people through just being recognized through Grammy nominations and award-winning songs, so as a brand too, whatever you're trying to do, it helps you out."

Attention and exposure

Some argue that the Grammys are no longer as relevant as they used to be, but musicians and executives say the award opens doors that are otherwise tightly shut, especially for newcomers to the business.

"There's a lot of great music going around and if you are able to be distinguished by your peers and the public, you get attention," said Eric Baptiste, head of SOCAN, Canada's copyright collective for music.

"And when you get attention, you get exposure. It really makes a difference between the minor leagues and the big leagues."

Canadian singer-songwriter Alessia De Gasperis Brigante, known by the stage name Kai, is making her way into the big leagues with Flume's Never Be Like You, nominated for best dance recording. 

Canadian musician Kai, whose real name is Alessia De Gasperis Brigante, is up for best dance recording for the Flume song Never Be Like You. (Alessia De Gasperis Brigante)

"There's an element of credibility that is added to it when you have that title," she said about the nomination. "It's so surreal that it doesn't fully register in the moment. I think it's going to register when I'm sitting there."

Kai, who wrote the lyrics and did vocals for the popular EDM track, would be the second Canadian in a row to win that category if she takes the award on Sunday. Bieber's Where Are U Now won last year, alongside electronic duo Diplo and Skrillex.

Warning: explicit language in song

A 'second home run' tougher than first

The exposure that comes with Grammy nominations has two sides, according to songwriter-producer Stephan Moccio, who was nominated last year for his work on The Weeknd's Beauty Behind The Madness.

Grammy and Oscar-nominated producer Stephan Moccio says post-nomination exposure is spectacular but can also be daunting. (StephanMoccio.com)

"You kind of go through the post-side of it where everyone wants a piece of you more than ever and you want to try and get your second home run," said Moccio, who has also worked with Cé​line Dion, Miley Cyrus, John Legend and Ne-Yo.

"That's more difficult than your first a lot of the time, because you literally have to remember you were doing everything for the right reasons to get to where you got to."

Paying it forward

Boi-1da keeps those reasons in mind as he paves the way for a new generation of talent bringing fresh sounds.

He says he didn't have a lot of mentorship growing up as a young producer in Toronto. But he wants to change that for up-and-coming Canadians trying to break into the industry.

I feel like it's an obligation for me to keep on pushing the envelope for my country- Boi-1da, Canadian hip hop producer

"I feel like it's an obligation for me to keep on pushing the envelope for my country, to build my country and to build people coming up from the same struggles, the same area that I'm from," he said.

"I try to mentor people and bond with a lot of the young guys and bring them up to the same level."