The Weeknd Wins Big at 2023 Juno Opening Night Awards

The Weeknd is now tied with Bryan Adams for the second most Juno Awards after the Canadian superstar added four more trophies to his stash at the Opening Night Awards, a gala industry dinner, held at the Edmonton Convention Centre on March 11.

He did not come to Alberta for Canada’s biggest celebration of homegrown music, likely busy with his TV and film projects before the second leg of his global stadium tour starts overseas in June.

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Of course, it’s not too late for him to charter a plane to be there on Monday (March 13) for the two-hour televised show from Rogers Place, at which he’s up for two more awards — fan choice and album — and could possibly get closer to becoming the all-time biggest winner in the Junos’ 52-year history. The record-holder is songbird Anne Murray with 25 (Celine Dion has 20). In fact, the 33-year-old’s crown is guaranteed in years to come.

The Weeknd’s new wins were artist of the year; songwriter of the year; single of the year for “Sacrifice”; and pop album for Dawn FM. He led the nominee list with six.

The 52nd annual Juno Awards Broadcast, as the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (CARAS) officially refers to part two of the award-dolling, will air live Monday at 8 p.m. ET on CBC-TV and stream on CBC Gem, and globally on CBC’s various online channels, including, and its social media pages. The show was moved to Monday to avoid competing with tonight’s Academy Awards.

The big deal on Monday will not only be whether the Weeknd will inch closer to Murray for top wins but the feting of Alberta’s own Nickelback, who will be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and perform a medley on the show. Hockey’s Connor McDavid of the Oilers will join the band onstage and Ryan Reynolds will appear via video. A year-long exhibit on Nickelback, which formed in the tiny town of Hanna (pop. 2300), has opened at Calgary’s National Music Centre, Canada’s equivalent of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The Juno Awards’ more splashy performance-packed broadcast — for which 8000 tickets were made available to the public at the arena — will be hosted for the second time by Marvel star Simu Liu. Only seven awards will be handed out: fan choice, album of the year, rap album/EP, breakthrough artist, contemporary R&B recording, plus MusiCounts Teacher of the Year and the Canadian Music Hall Of Fame.

Last evening’s Opening Night Awards is the long but swift presentation of 41 trophies while dinner is served. The categories cover a wide range of musical genres from electronic, metal, pop, Indigenous and rap to skills like engineering, producing, artwork design and music videos.

There were also two big awards: the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award went to 80-year-old concert promoter and industry pioneer Ron Sakamoto and the MusiCounts Inspired Minds Ambassador Award to Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew for planting the seed for a community grant at CARAS’ charity arm, MusiCounts.

The only non-Canadian category is the international album of the year, which Harry Styles won for his chart-topping “Harry’s House.” Canadians with international success also don’t qualify.

Michael Bublé, a favorite host of past Junos, was in Scandinavia, unable to receive the statuette for his adult contemporary album of the year win for “Higher.” Kaytranada also was also a no-show for rap single of the year for his collab “Twin Frame” with American artist Anderson.Paak.

Notable wins by people behind the scenes were Akeel Henry (Giveon’s “For Tonight” and John Legend’s “Splash”) for Jack Richardson producer of the year and Serban Ghenea, who worked on Sam Smith and Kim Petras’ “Unholy” and Lil Nas X’s “That’s What I Want,” for recording engineer.

Tenille Townes, who recently released a song and video with supporter Bryan Adams, won for country album of the year (“Masquerades”); production duo Banx and Ranx won breakthrough group, while one of their collaborators Rêve won dance recording of the year (“CTRL + ALT + DEL”). The Sadies’ “Colder Streams” took home adult alternative album of the year.

Meanwhile, Alvvays won for alternative album (“Blue Rev”); Teen Daze for electronic album (“Interior”), Savannah Ré and Dylan Sinclair for traditional R&B/soul recording (“Last One”).

Other trophy-takers included Walk off the Earth and Romeo Eats for children’s album (“Walk off the Earth & Romeo Eats, Vol. 2”); Voivod for metal/hard music album (“Synchro Anarchy”), Alexisonfire for rock album (“Otherness”) and perennial faves the Arkells for group of the year (for the sixth time) Greg Gow’s “I Knew Techno” nabbed underground dance single; Renee Rosnes’ “Kinds of Love” for jazz album, the Bros. Landreth’s “Come Morning” for contemporary roots album; and Digging Roots’ “Zhawenim” for contemporary indigenous artist or group.

Floria Sigismondi, who began her career creating distinct music videos for rising Canadian rock bands, didn’t come home to Canada to accept the award for directing Smith and Petras’ “Unholy”, but it was “presented” by U.S. industry veteran Lyor Cohen, global head of music for YouTube.

As one of the ground-floor hip-hop believers, the former Def Jam exec is likely participating in the Junos special segment on Monday celebrating 50 years since the birth of hip-hop, seen through a Canadian lens (1979’s “Ladies Delight” by Mr. Q is widely accepted as the country’s first rap single but it took many years for a true scene to form and a couple of decades for the industry to create infrastructure). Rapper Kardinal Offishall, the newly appointed Def Jam global A&R rep, co-wrote and produced the segment with Jemeni.

Performers are Choclair, Dream Warriors, Maestro Fresh Wes (first rapper to achieve gold and platinum status), Michie Mee (first rapper to sign in with U.S. major), Tobi and DJ Mel Boogie; Kardi will co-host with Haviah Mighty, the first female to ever win a Juno in the rap album/EP category (2022).

Other performers on the Juno Awards Broadcast will include Alexisonfire, Banx & Ranx with Preston Pablo and Rêve, AP Dhillon, Aysanabee, Jessie Reyez, Nickelback, Tate McRae and Tenille Townes.

See the full list of winners (in bold):

Country album of the year:
Tenille Townes, “Masquerades
High Valley, “Way Back”
Jade Eagleson, “Honkytonk Revival”
Orville Peck, “Bronco”
The Reklaws, “Good Ol’ Days”

Underground dance single of the year:
Greg Gow, “I Knew Techno
Bensley, “Debonair”
Blond:ish and Cameron Jack, “Aye Aye”
Fred Everything, “The Time Is (Now)”
Tiga, “Easy”

Jazz album of the year:
Renee Rosnes, “Kinds of Love,”
Ernesto Cervini, Joy
Lauren Falls, A Little Louder Now
Luis Deniz, El Tinajon
Rafael Zaldivar, Rumba

Adult alternative album of the year:
The Sadies, “Colder Streams”
Altameda, Born Losers
Basia Bulat, The Garden
Dan Mangan, Being Somewhere
The Weather Station, How Is It That I Should Look at the Stars

Dance recording of the year:
Rêve, “Ctrl + Alt + Del”

Bob Moses and Kasablanca, “Afterglow”
Grimes, “Shinigami Eyes”
Loud Luxury feat. Kiddo, “These Nights”
Rezz, “Spiral”

Contemporary roots album of the year:
The Bros. Landreth, “Come Morning”
Blackie and The Rodeo Kings, “O Glory”
Fortunate Ones, “That Was You and Me”
Shakura S’Aida, “Hold on to Love”
The East Pointers, “House of Dreams”

International album of the year:
Harry Styles, “Harry’s House”

Ed Sheeran, “=”
Lil Nas X, “Montero”
Taylor Swift, “Midnights”
Taylor Swift, “Red (Taylor’s Version)”

Contemporary Indigenous artist or group of the year:
Digging Roots, “Zhawenim”

Aysanabee, “Watin”
Indian City, “Code Red”
Julian Taylor, “Beyond the Reservoir”
Susan Aglukark, “The Crossing”

Breakthrough group of the year:
Banx & Ranx
Harm & Ease
Rare Americans
Tommy Lefroy
Wild Rivers

Traditional Indigenous artist or group of the year:
The Bearhead Sisters, “Unbreakable”
Cikwes, “kâkîsimo ᑳᑮᓯᒧᐤ”
Iva & Angu, “Katajjausiit”
Joel Wood, “Mikwanak Kamôsakinat”
Northern Cree, “Ôskimacîtahowin: A New Beginning”

Adult contemporary album of the year:
Michael Bublé, “Higher”
Francois Klark, “Adventure Book”
Jann Arden, “Descendant”
Marc Jordan & Amy Sky, “He Sang She Sang”
Tyler Shaw, “A Tyler Shaw Christmas”

Classical album of the year (small ensemble):
Elinor Frey and Rosa Barocca, conducted by Claude Lapalme, “Early Italian Cello Concertos”
Andrew Balfour and musica intima, “Nagamo”
ARC Ensemble, “Hemsi: Chamber Works”
Collectif9, “Vagues et ombres”
Suzie LeBlanc, Marie Nadeau-Tremblay, Vincent Lauzer, and Sylvain Bergeron, “De la cour de Louis XIV à Shippagan! Chants traditionnels acadiens et airs de cour du XVIIe siècle”

Reggae recording of the year:
Kirk Diamond, Kairo McLean and Finn feat. Kairo McLean, “Reggae Party
Ammoye, “Water”
Celena, “Like a Star”
Exco Levi, “Jah Love”
Kairo McLean, “In the Streets”

Classical album of the year (solo artist):
Philip Chiu, “Fables”
Bruce Liu, “Winner of the 18th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition Warsaw 2021”
David Jalbert, “Prokofiev: Piano Sonatas, Vol. 1”
Isabel Bayrakdarian, “La Zingarella: Through Romany Songland”
James Ehnes, “Bach: Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin”

Classical album of the year (solo artist):
Philip Chiu, “Fables”
Bruce Liu, “Winner of the 18th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition Warsaw 2021”
David Jalbert, “Prokofiev: Piano Sonatas, Vol. 1”
Isabel Bayrakdarian, “La Zingarella: Through Romany Songland
James Ehnes, Bach: Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin”

Traditional roots album of the year:
Pharis & Jason Romero, “Tell ‘Em You Were Gold”
Allison de Groot & Tatiana Hargreaves, “Hurricane Clarice”
Le Vent du Nord, “20 printemps”
Mama’s Broke, “Narrow Line”
The McDades, “The Empress”

Comedy album of the year:
Jon Dore, “A Person Who is Gingerbread”
Courtney Gilmour, “Let Me Hold Your Baby”
Jackie Pirico, “Splash Pad”
Matt Wright, “Here Live, Not a Cat”
Zabrina Douglas, “Things Black Girls Say — the Album”

Instrumental album of the year:
Esmerine, “Everything Was Forever Until It Was No More”
Canadian Brass, “Canadiana”
Hard Rubber Orchestra, “Iguana”
Jean-Michel Blais, “Aubades”
Stephan Moccio, “Lionheart”

Recording engineer of the year:
Serban Ghenea
Derek Hoffman
George Seara
Gus van Go
Jason Dufour

Children’s album of the year:
Walk off the Earth and Romeo Eats, “Walk off the Earth & Romeo Eats, Vol. 2”

Beppie, “Nice to Meet You”
Jeremy and Jazzy, “Say Hello”
Splash’N Boots, “I Am Love”
Young Maestro and Keysha Freshh, “Maestro Fresh Wes Presents: Julia the Great”

Classical composition of the year:
Bekah Simms, “Bestiary I & II”
Anthony Tan, “An Overall Augmented Sense of Well-being”
Keyan Emami, “The Black Fish”
Nicole Lizée, “Prayers for Ruins”
Vincent Ho, “Supervillain Études/”

Artist of the year:
The Weeknd
Avril Lavigne
Lauren Spencer-Smith
Michael Bublé
Shawn Mendes

Album artwork of the year:
Ian Ilavsky and Maciek Szczerbowski for “Everything was Forever Until it was no More,” Esmerine

Emy Storey, Becca McFarlane, Pamela Littky for “Crybaby,” Tegan and Sara
Jud Haynes.
Kee Avil, Lawrence Fafard for “Crease, “Kee Avil
Lights, Virgilio Tzaj, Matt Barnes for “PEP,” Lights

Contemporary Christian/gospel album of the year:
Jordan St. Cyr, Jordan St. Cyr
Dan Bremnes, Into the Wild
Daniel Ojo, Trust
Love & the Outcome, Only Ever Always
Tehillah Worship, The Church Will Rise,

Vocal jazz album of the year:
Caity Gyorgy, “Featuring”
Diana Panton, “Blue”
Laura Anglade and Sam Kirmayer, “Venez donc chez moi”
Nikki Yanofsky, “Nikki by Starlight”
The Ostara Project, “The Ostara Project”

Blues album of the year:
Angelique Francis, Long River

Crystal Shawanda, Midnight Blues
Harrison Kennedy, Thanks for Tomorrow
Spencer Mackenzie, Preach to my Soul
The Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer, Live at the King Eddy

Metal/hard music album of the year:
Voivod, Synchro Anarchy
Cancer Bats, Psychic Jailbreak
Get the Shot, Merciless Destruction
Skull Fist, Paid in Full
Wake, Thought Form Descent

Classical album of the year (large ensemble):
Conducted by Nicolas Ellis, featuring Marina Thibeault, Viola Borealis, Orchestre de l’Agora
Conducted by Alexander Shelley, Clara – Robert – Johannes: Lyrical Echoes, Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra
Conducted by Matthias Maute, featuring Karina Gauvin, Handel: Messiah, HWV 56, Ensemble Caprice, Ensemble Vocal Arts-Quebec
Conducted by Jean-Marie Zeitouni, Richard Strauss: Metamorphosen – Arvo Pärt: Symphonie No. 4, ‘Los Angeles,’ I Musici de Montréal
Conducted by Mark Vuorinen, Radiant Dawn: Music for Advent and Christmas, The Elora Singers

MusiCounts Inspired Minds Ambassador Award:
Kevin Drew

Songwriter of the year:
The Weeknd
Tate McRae
Tenille Townes

Jazz album of the year (group):
Florian Hoefner Trio, Desert Bloom
Andrew Rathbun Quintet, Semantics
BadBadNotGood, Talk Memory
Carn Davidson 9, The History of Us
Mark Kelso & the Jazz Exiles, The Dragon’s Tail

Alternative album of the year:
Blue Rev, Alvvays
Duality, Luna Li
Sewn Back Together, Ombiigizi
The Unraveling of Puptheband, Pup
Tongues, Tanya Tagaq

Producer of the year:
Akeel Henry
Banx & Ranx
Mike Wise
Murda Beatz

Rock album of the year:
Alexisonfire, Otherness
Billy Talent, Crisis of Faith
Nickelback, Get Rollin’
The Sheepdogs, Outta Sight
Three Days Grace, Explosions

Global music album of the year:
Lenka Lichtenberg, Thieves of Dreams
Ghalia Benali, Constantinople, Kiya Tabassian, In the Footsteps of Rumi
Pierre Kwenders, José Louis and the Paradox of Love
Ruby Singh, Vox.Infold

Pop album of the year:
The Weeknd, Dawn FM
Alessia Cara, In the Meantime
Avril Lavigne, Love Sux
Carly Rae Jepsen, The Loneliest Time
Tate McRae, I Used to Think I Could Fly

Francophone album of the year:
Les Louanges, Crash
Ariane Roy, Medium plaisir
Daniel Bélanger, Mercure en mai
Hubert Lenoir, Pictura de ipse: Musique directe
Lisa LeBlanc, Chiac Disco
Wesli, Tradisyon

Group of the year:
Arcade Fire
Billy Talent
The Reklaws

Rap single of the year:
Kaytranada and Anderson .Paak, Twin Flame
6ixBuzz and Pengz, Alejandro Sosa
Dom Vallie, Been Himma
Freddie Dredd, Wrath
Nav, Wrong Decisions

Music video of the year:
Floria Sigismondi for Sam Smith and Kim Petras, Unholy
Emma Higgins for Jessie Reyez, Fraud
Karena Evans for Chlöe, Have Mercy
Mayumi Yoshida for Amanda Sum, Different Than Before
Sterling Larose for SonReal and Lily Moore, Remember Me for Me

Electronic album of the year:
Teen Daze, Interior
Mecha Maiko, Not OK
Odonis Odonis, Spectrums
Rezz, Nightmare on Rezz Street 2 Mix
Rich Aucoin, Synthetic Season One

Single of the year:
The Weeknd, Sacrifice
Avril Lavigne, Bite Me
Preston Pablo and Banx & Ranx, Flowers Need Rain
Shawn Mendes, When You’re Gone
Tate McRae, She’s All I Wanna Be

Traditional R&B/soul recording of the year:
Savannah Ré feat. Dylan Sinclair, Last One
Daniel Caesar feat. BadBadNotGood, Please Do Not Lean
Jon Vinyl, Palisade
Safe, All I Need
TheHonestGuy, How to Make Love

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