Drake, Mendes, the Weeknd lead Juno nominees while Downie's work gets 6 nods | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Drake, Mendes, the Weeknd lead Juno nominees while Downie's work gets 6 nods

Drake performs in concert as part of the Summer Sixteen Tour in New York on Aug. 5, 2016. Some of Canada's rising stars are expected to get an extra boost today as the Juno Award nominations are unveiled. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Charles Sykes - Invision
February 07, 2017 - 12:30 PM

TORONTO - Global music stars Drake, Shawn Mendes and the Weeknd led the Juno Award nominations on Tuesday, while Gord Downie's work in 2016 is in the running for a half-dozen trophies.

The Tragically Hip frontman is nominated alongside his band for group of year and rock album of the year honours. Downie is also up for songwriter of the year, best adult alternative album and best video for his multimedia solo project "Secret Path," which is also in the running for recording package of the year.

Drake, Mendes and the Weeknd all have five nominations and are contending in marquee categories including best album, best single, artist of the year and the Juno Fan Choice Award.

Alessia Cara followed closely behind with four nominations, as did the late Leonard Cohen. A Tribe Called Red, Grimes, Ruth B, Kaytranada, and Tegan and Sara all have three nominations.

The Juno Awards will be held at Ottawa's Canadian Tire Centre on April 2 and air on CTV. Performers will include Cara, Mendes, the Strumbellas and Ruth B.

Many of the awards are handed out in an evening gala the night before the big event.

Pop singer Coleman Hell said returning to the Junos after being nominated as breakthrough artist last year is encouraging. He's in the running for "Summerland" in the pop album category this year.

"It feels pretty validating," he said.

"You put so much time into these things and you never know what's going to happen with it, so it's nice to be recognized."

The Strumbellas felt an extra sense of accomplishment with their three Juno nominations, which include group of the year and the fan choice award. They say it was about a year ago when their song "Spirits," which is up for single of the year, started its surge into the mainstream.

"We got a Juno nomination early in our career and ... we were so excited at the time," remembered keyboardist Dave Ritter.

"So it's great to be back, nominated again, and to have it cap off what's been a crazy year."

Harrison, a 21-year-old Toronto performer whose "Checkpoint Titanium" is nominated in the electronic album category, said the Junos have a particular resonance to him.

"I remember vividly going to my grandparents and talking about the Junos," he said with a smile.

"It's just really exciting for me."

Aside from the accolades, musicians attending the nomination announcement were also thinking about the sudden closure of numerous live music venues in Toronto and other cities across the country.

Billy Talent guitarist Ian D'Sa believes those spaces are crucial for artists who are honing their craft.

"Small venues really matter," he said. "You end up getting introduced to other bands and that's the way of getting gigs."

Folk singer Melissa McClelland of the duo Whitehorse said her formative years in music were spent at Hamilton's Casbah, one of the local venues still in business.

"My parents used to drive me every Monday night when I was 16 or 17 years old," she said.

"I remember that time, and the way the music moved me. (I was) learning about performing and the strong community, so it's something I hold close to my heart."

McClelland's husband Luke Doucet, the other half of Whitehorse, said it's important to remember most Juno nominees are still playing small venues.

"That's a realistic place for artists to hang out, it's fertile ground," he said.

"Everybody I know who's a great musician spends more time (at a small venue) ... that's just a reality."

This year's Juno Awards show will include a tribute to Sarah McLachlan, who is being inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

Michael Buble is still slated to host the show, although his involvement has become uncertain.

Buble and his wife, Argentine actress Luisana Lopilato, announced in November that they would put their careers on hold to devote attention to their three-year-old son Noah, who has been diagnosed with cancer.

The singer backed out of hosting duties for the Brit Awards last week, although he said in a statement that son Noah is "progressing well" as he undergoes treatment.

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Listen to a playlist of 2017 Juno Award nominees on Spotify: http://spoti.fi/2jZ6FbQ

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

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