Bublé top contender for Juno Awards

Michael Bublé is the one to beat at the upcoming Juno Awards, after the West Coast crooner nabbed a leading six nominations for Canada's most prominent celebration of popular music.

Billy Talent, Drake, Johnny Reid follow with 4 nods each

Michael Bublé, seen in 2009, is the lead contender for this spring's Juno Awards, with his latest album Crazy Love sparking a host of nominations for the Canadian music honour. ((Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press))
Michael Bublé is the one to beat at the upcoming Juno Awards, after the West Coast crooner nabbed a leading six nominations for Canada's most prominent celebration of popular music.

The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences announced on Tuesday the nominees for this year's gala, set to descend on St. John's, N.L., this spring.

Burnaby, B.C.-born Bublé, whose latest album Crazy Love was an international hit, will compete in a host of categories, including best album, best pop album, best artist, best single for Haven't Met You Yet and the Juno fan choice award. Bublé's competition for the fan choice award, which is voted on by the public, includes Ginette Reno, Maxime Landry, Johhny Reid and Nickelback.

Bublé and his co-writers will also vie for the best songwriter trophy for the tracks Haven't Met You Yet and Hold On, while two of his acclaimed producers — David Foster and Bob Rock — go head-to-head in the best producer category for their work on the album.

Selected genre nominees

Pop: The Show Must Go, Hedley; My World, Justin Bieber; The Listening, LIGHTS; Crazy Love, Michael Bublé; Stereos, Stereos.

Rap: Still Fly, Big Page, Drake & U.G.O. Crew; Self Explanatory, Classified; So Far Gone, Drake; Yes, k-os; Troubadour, K'Naan.

Vocal jazz: I Like Men, Carol Welsman; Quiet Nights, Diana Krall; Haven't We Met, Emilie-Claire Barlow; Lovelight, Michael Kaeshammer; Ranee Lee Lives Upstairs, Ranee Lee.

Contemporary jazz: The Happiness Project, Charles Spearin; Infernal Machines, Darcy James Argue's Secret Society New; Motion, Hilario Duran; Silverbirch, John Roney; Songbook Vol. 1, Kirk MacDonald Quartet.

Traditional jazz: Regeneration, Al Henderson Septet; Bluesy Lunedi, Alain Bédard; Strands II, Darren Sigesmund; Pleased To Meet You, Oliver Jones and Hank Jones; It's About Time, Terry Clarke.

Classical, solo or chamber: Philip Glass: Portrait, Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà; El Dorado, Caroline Léonardelli Tchaikovsky: Souvenir de Florence, Quartet No. 1, I Musici de Montréal; James Ehnes plays Paganini 24 Caprices, James Ehnes; Joel Quarrington: Garden Scene, Joel Quarrington;

Classical, large ensemble: Mathieu, Shostakovich, Mendelssohn: Concertino & Concertos, Alain Lefèvre & London Mozart Players; Bartók, Les Violons du Roy; Mendelssohn - Piano Concertos 1 & 2 - Symphony No. 5, Louis Lortie and Orchestre symphonique de Québec; Selections From the 2009 National Tour, National Youth Orchestra of Canada; Bruckner 8, Yannick Nézet-Séguin & Orchestre Métropolitain.

Classical, vocal or choral: Adrianne Pieczonka sings Puccini, Adrianne Pieczonka; Songs By Ravel, Gerald Finley; Gomidas Songs, Isabel Bayrakdarian; Porpora Arias, Karina Gauvin; Melodiya: Glinka, Mussorgsky, Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky, Marianne Fiset, Orchestre Radio-Canada Musique, Jean-Philippe Tremblay, conductor.

R&B/soul: INTRO, Danny Fernandes; Lonesome Highway, jacksoul; The Long Way Home, Jarvis Church; The Black Book, Jully Black; The Bridge, Melanie Fiona.

Aboriginal: Distant Morning Star, Digawolf; We Are, Digging Roots; Sing Soul Girl, Inez; Swagger, Lucie Idlout; Trail of Tears, Wayne Lavallee.

World: Alex Cuba, Alex Cuba; Comfortably Mine, Domenic Mancuso; Slide to Freedom 2: Make a Better World, Doug Cox & Salil Bhatt; Sunplace, Jaffa Road; La danse de l'exilé, Karim Saada. 

Joining Bublé among the multiple category nominees is an eclectic group of mostly male acts from Ontario. Rockers Billy Talent, Scottish-born country star Johnny Reid and Toronto rap sensation Drake picked up four nods each, while teen pop newcomer Justin Bieber of Stratford, Ont., indie rockers Metric and hip hop artist K'Naan — both based in Toronto — followed with three nominations a piece.

Selected general nominees include:

  • Artist of the year: Diana Krall; Jann Arden; Johnny Reid; K'Naan; Michael Bublé.
  • Album: Quiet Nights, Diana Krall; III, Billy Talent; Dance with Me, Johnny Reid; My World, Justin Bieber; Crazy Love, Michael Bublé.
  • Group: Billy Talent; Blue Rodeo; Hedley; Metric; The Tragically Hip.
  • Single: Rusted From the Rain, Billy Talent; Anybody Listening, Classified; Best I Ever Had, Drake; Haven't Met You Yet, Michael Bublé; Love Is A First, The Tragically Hip.
  • New artist: Carley Rae Jepsen; Danny Fernandes; Drake; Justin Bieber; Shiloh.
  • New group: Arkells; Down With Webster; Stereos; Ten Second Epic; The New Cities.

More diversity in genre nominees

Familiar names abound in many of the main general categories because those nominees are determined by a combination of sales and academy members' votes. A wider range of artists is typically reflected in the nominees for the genre-specific categories, which are largely selected by academy voting.

Country star Reid — who is now based in Nashville — swept last fall's Canadian Country Music Association Awards. Known for his romantic songs, he is the genre's top contender at the Junos, where his album Dance With Me goes up against Go by Doc Walker, Believe by Emerson Drive, The Long Way Home by Terri Clark and The Road Hammers II by The Road Hammers for the best country album prize.

Indie favourites like Joel Plaskett, Amy Millan and Julie Doiron are among the finalists in the realm of alternative albums.

Plaskett's acclaimed Three vies against Millan's Masters of the Burial for best adult alternative album, with Nineteen Seventy-Seven (by 1977), Way Down Here (by Cuff The Duke) and How To Fall Down in Public (by Howie Beck) rounding out the nominees.

Doiron's I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day faces stiff competition for the alternative album trophy, facing Metric's Fantasies, Tegan & Sara's Sainthood, Face Control by Handsome Furs and Post-Nothing by Japandroids.

Can-rock veterans The Tragically Hip must contend with a host of younger contenders for the best rock album title. The Hip's latest album, We Are The Same will face Alexisonfire's Old Crows/Young Cardinals, Billy Talent's III, Nickelback's Dark Horse and Life Starts Now by Three Days Grace.

In the classical music categories, prominent nominees include international opera stars Isabel Bayrakdarian, Adrianne Pieczonka and Gerald Finley, rising conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin & Orchestre Metropolitain, acclaimed violinist James Ehnes and the National Youth Orchestra of Canada.

International artists recognized with Juno nominations (best international album) include Grammy winners Taylor Swift (Fearless), The Black Eyed Peas (The E.N.D.) and Kings of Leon (Only By The Night), as well as pop performer Britney Spears (Circus) and reality show sensation Susan Boyle (I Dreamed a Dream).

Organizers will also present several special awards, including honouring singer Bryan Adams for his humanitarian work and inducting April Wine into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

Many of the top nominees are expected to take the stage, including Bublé, Bieber, Billy Talent, Reid, Drake and veteran band Blue Rodeo.

The Juno Awards will take place in St. John's on April 18.