The Weeknd was the big winner on the first night of the Juno Awards, which honor the year’s best music by Canadian artists. The superstar took three of the 37 awards presented Friday (June 4) at a virtual event dubbed the Juno Opening Night Awards Presented by Music Canada. His megahit “Blinding Lights” won single of the year, his album After Hours won contemporary R&B recording of the year, and he took the prize for songwriter of the year in tandem with his collaborators Belly (Ahmad Balshe) and Jason “DaHeala” Quenneville.
The Weeknd was famously shut out in the nominations for the 63rd annual Grammy Awards. He has fared much better just about everywhere else. The Weeknd was the only multiple Juno winner on Friday. These three wins bring his career total of Juno Awards to 13. This is his second win for single of the year. He won in that category five years ago with “Can’t Feel My Face.”
The Weeknd did not accept his awards live via Zoom, as most of Friday’s recipients did. He is also nominated in three categories at the televised show, which is set to air Sunday, June 6. He is vying for album of the year, artist of the year and the fan-voted Juno fan choice award. Six awards will be presented on the telecast.
Kaytranada won dance recording of the year for Bubba. He is the first Black male solo winner in the dance category, which originated in 1992. Bubba won in the equivalent category, best dance/electronic album, at the Grammys on March 14.
WondaGurl (Ebony Naomi Oshunrinde) became the first Black woman to win the Jack Richardson producer of the year award. Moreover, WondaGurl is the first female of any race or ethnicity to win in this category who isn’t primarily known as an artist. WondaGurl, a Canadian producer, songwriter and record executive, has worked with such artists as Pop Smoke, JackBoys, Mariah Carey, Travis Scott, Jay-Z, Drake and Kanye West.
Harry Styles’ Fine Line won international album of the year. The album has been a global award magnet. Its biggest hit, “Watermelon Sugar,” won a Grammy for best pop solo performance and a Brit Award for British single.
Alanis Morissette won adult contemporary album of the year for Such Pretty Forks in the Road. This is the third distinct genre category in which Morissette has won a Juno. Jagged Little Pill won rock album of the year (1996). Flavors of Entanglement won pop album of the year (2009). This is Morissette’s 13th Juno Award.
JJ Wilde’s Ruthless won rock album of the year. She’s the first female winner in that category since Morissette won for Jagged Little Pill.
Tenille Townes won country album of the year for The Lemonade Stand. Townes won new female artist of the year at the Academy of Country Music Awards in September.
Jessie Reyez won music video of the year for “No One’s in the Room.” Reyez is the first Latin Canadian artist to win in this category since its inception in 1984. Reyez won the Juno for breakthrough artist of the year three years ago.
Serban Ghenea won recording engineer of the year for his work with The Weeknd and Ariana Grande. Ghenea won two Grammys this year, for work on Taylor Swift’s Folklore and Beck’s Hyperspace, bringing his total of Grammys to 18.
Arkells won group of the year for the fourth time, which puts them just one award behind category leaders Blue Rodeo, which won five times in the category between 1989 and 2008. (For all their success at home, neither group has ever cracked the Billboard Hot 100.)
The Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal won its 18th Juno by taking classical album of the year: large ensemble. That puts them in fourth place on the all-time winners list, just behind Anne Murray (25), Bryan Adams (21) and Céline Dion (20).
Pegi Cecconi, who has worked with Rush among many others in her 50-year career, received the Walt Grealis special achievement award. She is just the third woman to receive that award, which originated in 1984. Tellingly, all three of these women have received the award in the last five years.
Angeline Tetteh-Wayoe from CBC Music’s The Block hosted the Juno Opening Night Awards. The event featured performances by Ammoye, Kirk Diamond and TÖME, Crown Lands, Klô Pelgag, Lindsay Ell and MacKenzie Porter, Monowhales & TOBi.
Allan Reid, president/CEO of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (CARAS), opened the show on a solemn note, acknowledging the recent discovery of 215 bodies at a former residential school for Indigenous children in Canada. Several award recipients also made note of that horrific discovery.
Reid also announced that the 2022 Junos will be return to Toronto, when, everyone hopes, pandemic worries will be behind us.
There will be three additional categories next year. Rap recording of the year will be split into two awards — rap album/EP of the year and rap single of the year. Indigenous artist or group of the year will also be broken into two awards — contemporary Indigenous artist or group of the year and traditional Indigenous artist or group of the year. Finally, the Junos will introduce a new dance award for underground dance recording of the year. Currently, there is just dance recording of the year.
Here’s the complete list of winners from Friday’s presentations:
Single of the year: “Blinding Lights,” The Weeknd (The Weeknd XO/Republic/Universal)
Songwriter of the year: The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye), Belly (Ahmad Balshe), & Jason “DaHeala” Quenneville; publishers – Kobalt Songs Music Publishing, Warner Chappell Music Canada, & Universal Music Publishing Canada; “After Hours” – co-songwriters Carlo “Illangelo” Montagnese, Mario Winans; “Blinding Lights”, “Save Your Tears” – co-songwriters Max Martin, Oscar Holter; After Hours – The Weeknd (The Weeknd XO/Republic/Universal)
Group of the year: Arkells (Arkells/Universal)
Breakthrough group of the year: Crown Lands (Universal)
International album of the year: Fine Line, Harry Styles (Columbia/Sony)
Dance recording of the year: Bubba, Kaytranada (RCA/Sony)
Contemporary R&B recording of the year: After Hours, The Weeknd (The Weeknd XO/Republic/Universal)
Rap recording of the year: Elements Vol. 1, TOBi (RCA/Sony)
Country album of the year: The Lemonade Stand, Tenille Townes (Sony)
Adult alternative album of the year: Sad Hunk, Bahamas (Barchords/Universal)
Alternative album of the year: Pray for It, July Talk (Sleepless/Universal)
Rock album of the year: Ruthless, JJ Wilde (Black Box/Fontana North)
Electronic album of the year: Suddenly, Caribou (Merge/F.A.B.)
Metal/hard music album of the year: Abyss, Unleash the Archers (Napalm/Sony)
Adult contemporary album of the year: Such Pretty Forks in the Road, Alanis Morissette (Epiphany Music/Sony/The Orchard)
Music video of the year: “No One’s in the Room,” Emma Higgins/Jessie Reyez, FMLY/Island/Universal. Canadian Contributors — director of photography: Jack Yan Chen; producers: Alison Honey Woods, Cherie Sinclair, Katy Maravala; editor: Kat Webber; art department: Stephen Trivieri; special effects: The Butcher Shop, Urban Prairie Post
Jack Richardson producer of the year: WondaGurl; “Aim for the Moon” (featuring Quavo) (co-producers 5ive Beatz, 808Melo, Dani, Dez Wright, Tyy Beats); Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon – Pop Smoke, Victor Victor/Republic/Universal; “Gang Gang” (co-producer Vou); Jackboys – Jackboys & Sheck Wes, Epic/Cactus Jack/Sony
Recording engineer of the year: Serban Ghenea; “Blinding Lights”/After Hours – The Weeknd (The Weeknd XO/Republic/Universal); “positions”/Positions – Ariana Grande (Republic/Universal)
Reggae recording of the year: “I Pray,” TÖME x Sean Kingston (Kiza Music/M.A.D. Solution)
Indigenous artist or group of the year: “North Star Calling,” Leela Gilday (Diva Sound/Outside)
Contemporary roots album of the year: Bravado, Rose Cousins (Outside)
Traditional roots album of the year: Bet on Love, Pharis & Jason Romero (Lula/Fontana North/Free Dirt)
Blues album of the year: Church House Blues, Crystal Shawanda (True North/Fontana North/IDLA)
Contemporary Christian/gospel album of the year: The Way, Shawna Cain (SOG Entertainment/Independent)
World music album of the year: Espiral, Okan (Lulaworld/Symphonic)
Album artwork of the year: Julien Hébert (art director), David Beauchemin (designer), Florence Obrecht (illustrator), Marc-Étienne Mongrain (photographer); Notre-Dame-Des-Sept-Douleurs – Klô Pelgag Secret City/Fontana North
Comedy album of the year: Horse Power, Jacob Samuel (800 Pound Gorilla/Independent/ADA/Warner)
Vocal jazz album of the year: With You, Sammy Jackson (Independent)
Jazz album of the year, solo: Elegant Traveler, Jocelyn Gould (Posi-tone/Alliance/The Orchard)
Jazz album of the year, group: The reMission, Andy Milne and Unison (Sunnyside/AMPED/eOne)
Instrumental album of the year: Movements III, Blitz/Berlin (Wax/Universal)
Album Francophone de l’année: Quand la nuit tombe, Louis-Jean Cormier (Simone/The Orchard)
Children’s album of the year: Heart Parade, Splash’N Boots (Independent/The Orchard)
Classical album of the year, solo or chamber: Mosaïque, Ensemble Made in Canada (Independent/Canadian Music Centre)
Classical album of the year, large ensemble: Ginastera – Bernstein – Moussa: Œuvres pour violon et orchestre / Works for Violin and Orchestra, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, conducted by Kent Nagano, featuring Andrew Wan (Analekta/Select/The Orchard)
Classical album of the year, vocal or choral: Massenet: Thaïs Erin Wall, Joshua Hopkins, Andrew Staples, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir with Toronto Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis (Chandos/Naxos)
Classical composition of the year: Violin Concerto “Adrano,” Samy Moussa (Analekta/Select/The Orchard)