Shawn Mendes Leads 2019 Juno Awards Nominations

Brian Ziff
Shawn Mendes

A foot of snow that blanketed Toronto and caused havoc on roads overnight did not delay the Canadian Academy of Recordings Arts and Sciences (CARAS) from announcing the nominees for the 48th Juno Awards, March 16 and 17, nor the unexpected host of the televised show, Sarah McLachlan, from showing up.

"It took me about 12 hours to get here from Vancouver yesterday and I got into Toronto and almost every single flight was canceled so I feel very, very lucky," McLachlan told the members of the industry and media assembled at CBC headquarters in downtown Toronto, and those watching the live stream.  

The two-hour Junos will air on CBC, March 17, from Budweiser Gardens in London, Ontario, about two hours from Toronto.

"I was extremely honored to be asked to host the Junos. I was excited; I was terrified. It's something that's well outside of my comfort zone, so I thought ‘I have to tackle this.’ I think it's going to be a whole lot of fun," McLachlan added.

The nominees were announced over two videos that went through each of the 42 categories from pop to jazz to producer to classical.  

Shawn Mendes led the pack with a total of six — fan choice, single, album, artist, songwriter, and pop album, and just one behind is fellow Torontonian The Weeknd, up against Mendes in four of the categories, fan choice, single, album, and artist, plus R&B/Soul Recording which he’s won four previous times.

First time nominees with four a piece are singer bülow (who has a Canadian smash with her single “Not A Love Song”) for fan choice, single, breakthrough artist and pop album and London locals Loud Luxury (which has a big hit with “Body”) also up for fan choice, single, breakthrough group, and dance recording.

The awards are spread out over two nights, the majority given out at a private gala dinner on the Saturday night (March 16), this year at the London Convention Centre. But the televised awards, which is performer-heavy usually with less than 10 awards, is the coveted of the two.  

All categories are for Canadian artists, except International Album of the Year, which this year pits Camila Cabello’s Camila; Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy; Maroon 5’s Red Pill Blues; Post Malone’s beerbongs & bentleys; and Travis Scott’s ASTROWORLD.

All awards are voted on by CARAS members except for fan choice, for which the public get to vote (junofanchoice.ca) for Alessia Cara, bülow,  Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine, KILLY, Loud Luxury, NAV, Shawn Mendes, The Weeknd, or Tory Lanez.  

Previously announced were the three big awards. “Sunglasses At Night” singer-songwriter Corey Hart will be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame; producer David Foster will receive the Humanitarian Award; and the recipient of The Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award, honoring a member of the Canadian music industry, is broadcast veteran Duff Roman.

Only three performers on the televised show have been revealed to date: Corey Hart, who apparently hasn’t performed live on TV in 20 years; Loud Luxury; and bülow.

Over almost 50 years in Juno history, hosts have included Paul Anka, Burton Cummins, Paul Shaffer, Anne Murray, Barenaked Ladies, Jann Arden, Nelly Furtado, Bryan Adams, Shania Twain, Michael Buble, Drake and Alanis Morissette. Before she came out on stage, CARAS president Allan Reid recounted how he was attending Canada’s Walk of Fame and chatting with "a very familiar face in the room" and thought to himself that they've never hosted the Junos.

“Now they're one of Canada's most beloved artists. They're charming, they're smart, they're humble, and they're funny," Reid said. "They're a 12-time Juno award winner and they've received every honor that CARAS can bestow on an artist — our humanitarian award, the international achievement award, and she gave one of the most inspiring speeches at the Ottawa Junos when was inducted into Canadian Music Hall of Fame. So we asked her and she said, 'What took you so long?' She actually, she said, 'Yes.'"

The 48th annual Juno Awards broadcast will air live across Canada on CBC, CBC Radio and globally on CBCMusic.ca/junos

The award ceremonies are part of Juno Week (March 11-17) which includes the JunoCup, musicians vs ex NHLers , a hockey game with proceeds to MusiCounts, CARAS’ music education charity (March 15), followed by the Juno Cup Jam; Juno Songwriters’ Circle hosted by Alan Doyle (March 17); JunoFest (March 15-16 in the local venues), and usually fan fare (autograph sessions in one location with some of the nominees) which has not been announced yet.