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For the first time since 2009, Canadian musicians and fans trekked to Vancouver to attend the JUNO Awards—and it was undoubtedly a night to remember. Prizes were won. Tears were shed. Arcade Fire won the JUNO International Achievement Award and Canadian hip hop legends reunited to deliver an impromptu rendition 20-year-old hit.
If you missed the broadcast or just want a brief recap, here are some 2018 JUNO highlights we think deserve some attention.
Bublé (who won the Adult Contemporary Album of the Year award for 2016’s Nobody But Me) unfortunately had to step down from his JUNO hosting duties last year after his son was diagnosed with cancer. But he returned to the JUNO stage in full force last night, keeping the ceremony fun and light while allowing other presenters and performers to assume the spotlight when appropriate. He also joined forces with jazz singer Diana Krall to perform an adorable rendition of Nat King Cole’s “L-O-V-E.”
Reyez not only won Breakthrough Artist of the Year but also invited Toronto soul sensation Daniel Caesar to the stage to help her perform a goose bump-inducing rendition of her 2016 single “Figures.” And after the show, Reyez revealed that she’ll be releasing a new, Caesar-accompanied version of “Figures” in the very near future. She already previewed the new version on Twitter, but we need to hear the entire thing ASAP.
We can always rely on Lights to give it her all, but last night she went above and beyond by using her comic book-inspired Skin & Earth aesthetic to celebrate her fellow female musicians during a rousing performance of 2017’s “Giants.” If you fast forward to the three-minute mark and look closely at Lights’ backdrop, you’ll see Alessia Cara, Ruth B, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Shania Twain, and Arcade Fire’s Régine Chassagne all cartooned-up and ready to kick some superhero butt. How cool is that?
Before last night, it had sadly been much longer than one week since the Barenaked Ladies performed with ex-bandmate Steven Page (it had been nearly 10 years, actually). But the long wait made BNL’s reunion that much sweeter—especially considering that the group chose to perform both “One Week” and “If I Had $1000000” in front of thousands of cheering Canadians. BNL also took the stage to celebrate their induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, a moment so moving that it even made Ryan Reynolds tear up.
In an emotional moment for both JUNOs attendees and Canadians watching from home, Patrick and Mike Downie took the stage to accept the Artist of the Year award on behalf of their late brother. They also took a few moments to stress the importance of Indigenous and non-Indigenous reconciliation, something Downie fought for in the months and years leading up to his death.
Earlier in the evening, singer-songwriter Sarah Harmer, City and Colour, and Barenaked Ladies keyboardist Kevin Hearn paid tribute to Downie with touching performances of “Introduce Yerself” and “Bobcaygeon.” And Downie, fittingly, became the most awarded male artist in JUNO history last night with a whopping 21 total wins. Downie’s brothers said it best—Gord wasn’t just our Artist of the Year, but rather our Man of a Lifetime.
See a condensed winners list below, for the entire list in full, head here.
Juno Fan Choice Award:
Walk Off the Earth
Single of the Year:
Alessia Cara, “How Far I’ll Go”
Arcade Fire, “Everything Now”
Arkells, “Knocking at the Door”
The Weeknd, “I Feel it Coming”
Shawn Mendes, “There’s Nothing Holdin’ me Back”—WINNER
International Album of the Year:
Bruno Mars, 24K Magic
Ed Sheeran, Divide
Kendrick Lamar, DAMN.—WINNER
Post Malone, Stoney
Taylor Swift, Reputation
Album of the Year:
Arcade Fire, Everything Now—WINNER
Johnny Reid, Revival
Michael Bublé, Nobody But Me
Ruth B, Safe Haven
Shania Twain, Now
Artist of the Year:
Group of the Year:
A Tribe Called Red—WINNER
Broken Social Scene
Breakthrough Artist of the Year:
Virginia to Vegas
Breakthrough Group of the Year:
James Barker Band
The Dead South
The Franklin Electric
The Jerry Cans
Pop Album of the Year:
Lights, Skin & Earth—WINNER
Ria Mae, My Love
Ruth B, Safe Haven
Scott Helman, Hȏtel de Ville
Rap Recording of the Year:
Belly, Mumble Rap
Clairmont the Second, Lil Mont From the Ave
Lou Phelps, 001: Experiments
Maestro Fresh Wes, Coach Fresh
Tory Lanez, Shooters—WINNER
R&B/Soul Recording of the Year:
Daniel Caesar, Freudian—WINNER
Jahkoy, Foreign Water
Jessie Reyez, Kiddo
Keshia Chanté, Unbound 01