Feist wins Juno for artist of the year

Feist emerged as a big winner at the 2012 Juno Awards, after taking artist of the year in last night's broadcast gala. Album of the year went to Michael Bublé and fan choice went to Justin Bieber.

Newcomers Sheepdogs, Dan Mangan win big

Feist  emerged as a big winner at the 2012 Juno Awards, after taking artist of the year in last night's broadcast gala.

The Toronto singer who spent much of her early career in Calgary was also a double winner Saturday, claiming awards for adult alternative album of the year for her contemplative fourth disc, Metals, and music DVD of the year for her intimate documentary Look at What the Light Did Now.

"I’m just in shock, " said Feist, resplendent in a red lace gown, as she accepted artist of the year.

"All I can do is express some genuine gratitude. The categories tonight are of a very international nature. I'm very proud and very grateful for my inner sanctum," she said, thanking each of her musicians.

The Arkells are seen backstage after winning a Juno for Group of the Year during the Juno gala dinner in Ottawa on Saturday. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Feist was a rare established artist at a Juno Awards ceremony that rewarded newcomers and unusual choices.

Newcomers rewarded

Vancouver's Dan Mangan was one of them. The folk-indie singer-songwriter took the trophy for new artist of the year on Sunday, adding it to his first Juno — alternative album of the year — for Oh Fortune.

Juno winners

  • Artist of the year: Feist
  • Album of the year: Michael Bublé, Christmas
  • Fan Choice: Justin Bieber
  • New artist: Dan Mangan
  • Single: Sheepdogs, I Don't Know
  • Dance recording: Martin Solveig & Dragonette, Hello
  • Songwriter: Dallas Green, City and Colour, Fragile Bird, Weightless, We Found Each Other
  • Group: Arkells
  • New Group: Sheepdogs
  • Rock Album: Sheepdogs, Learn & Burn
  • Pop Album: Hedley, Storms

"I feel like there's a certain amount of chatter around the best new artist award every year going to... artists on their second or maybe third albums," said Mangan.

"I would like to look at it like this... it takes time to do anything that's worthwhile."

The other newcomers who won big were Saskatoon's The Sheepdogs, who were triple winners, after taking single of the year for I Don’t Know.

The shaggy-haired band,  whose blend of boogie rock and barfly blues took hold with listeners after they won a prominent Rolling Stone magazine cover contest , were touring in Australia and weren’t present to claim their three Junos.

During the Saturday night gala, The Sheepdogs won trophies for new group of the year and rock album of the year.

Dance upset

There was a surprise upset in the dance category, which for the past three years has gone to Deadmau5. This year the winner was Hello, by Martin Solveig & Dragonette, a French electronic music DJ and producer.

Dallas Green, of City and Colour and Alexisonfire, was named  songwriter of the year in the ceremony at the Scotiabank Arena in Ottawa. Green is known for songs such as Fragile Bird, We Found Each Other and Weightless.

"Canada has some of the best songwriters in the world and I’m proud to be a part of it," he said in his acceptance speech. "I want to accept this on behalf of all the people in the world who believe it’s truly about the song, it’s not about the other stuff."

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At a Saturday night ceremony, where 34 of the 41 awards were presented, there were more unusual choices.

The Arkells took best group, Monkeyjunk won best blues album and Hedley won best pop album for Storms. Drake, who was overlooked completely last year when he hosted the awards, finally won a Juno — best rap recording for Take Care. Nickelback, who opened the gala event, won nothing.

There were wins for Canada's international superstars — Michael Bublé and Justin Bieber, both absent from the Junos. Buble took best album for Christmas.

Justin Bieber  won the Fan Choice Award, but the teen heartthrob was not present to accept his award. Instead he sent a pre-recorded message, acknowledging his millions of Twitter followers who voted for the award.

"Fan choice. As we all know I have the best fans in the world, so this award is basically for all my fans. This is just yours," he said.

The hockey arena venue used for Sunday's gala was a poor choice with the sound quality so low presenters were shouting to be heard. Only groups such as Hey Rosetta, Simple Plan and Nickelback had a big enough sound to overcome the poor acoustics.

Shatner a humourous host

Host William Shatner, known for his ill-advised rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody, poked fun at his lack of musical talent in the opening number.

"I love the music business. It was what I was born to do," Shatner said. "Tonight I want to rock. I want to be a rock star."

He then played air guitar and, mercifully, spoke the words to a rock medley that included Born To Be Wild, Bryan Adams' Summer of '69, BTO's Takin' Care of Business, Rush's Tom Sawyer and Trooper's Raise a Little Hell.

The rest of Shatner’s skits, involving him trying to pass a musician, were equally forgettable.

With files from The Canadian Press