On Saturday, March 14, SiriusXM Canada presented the annual 2015 JUNO Gala Dinner & Awards which took place at the Hamilton Convention Centre.
The night began with the arrival of some of the best Canadian talent walking the Green Carpet presented by TD. Prior to the dinner & awards, guests enjoyed a reception sponsored by FACTOR, The Government of Canada & Radio Starker Fund.
Around 6 p.m. the opening remarks of the awards began with Allan Reid, President and CEO of CARAS. He delivered a powerful speech on the JUNO Awards itself, and how the importance of the music industry is growing. The awards commenced with host Jessi Cruikishank (MTV live) who kept the audience well entertained throughout the night.
Some major award winners for the night were:
INTERNATIONAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR –In the Lonely Hour by Sam Smith
GROUP OF THE YEAR – Arkells
BREAKTHROUGH GROUP OF THE YEAR – Magic!
SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR – Bahamas
COUNTRY ALBUM OF THE YEAR – Lifted by Dallas Smith
ALTERNATIVE ALBUM OF THE YEAR – July Talk by July Talk
POP ALBUM OF THE YEAR – Little Machines by Lights
To see the full list of winners, click here.
Backstage, the award winners were brought back for a Q & A session.
Country album of the year winner and former lead singer of alternative rock band Default, Dallas Smith, tells us he recently wrapped up a five week tour across Victoria, BC. He currently doesn’t have much time to get some recording done but rather using his time to prepare for the summer festivals. “I’m trying to bring Canadian Country music to the US,” says Smith.
We recently interviewed LIGHTS (click here), but now we hear from her after winning Pop album of the year. The “Up We Go” singer gives advice to young musicians by telling us that, “The biggest thing for me right now is to make sure you love what you do before going into it. It can be tiring but it is the most beautiful thing and if you enjoy it, it’ll be the best time of your life. Write songs, perfect your craft, find out what you’re good at and carve out a place for yourself and then it’ll be undeniable that there will be place for you in the music industry, don’t let someone create that for you.”
LIGHTS was also asked about her upcoming tour with One Republic and if there is a future collaboration with lead singer, Ryan Tedder. “We actually sat down to write before, but it didn’t go anywhere. He’s a huge talent, I’m so pumped I even get to tour with him,” says LIGHTS. “You can’t ever turn down writing with him. He loves what he does.”
The one other thing LIGHTS has always been consistent about is her fans. She has shown undeniable love to each and every one of them and she collaborates on that by telling us, “I’ve always been someone that spends a lot of time with the fans, and I spent years sitting at the merch table, talking to them after shows, spending hours outside after the show talking to them. I have a very strong connection with some fans who’ve been with me from the beginning. I recognize them by names, they been to every show. It means a lot to me, and I think I feel like we’ve grown up together in a way,” says LIGHTS. “A lot of fans were there with me every step of the way, seeing them grow, evolve and get the job of their dreams and go to school for whatever they’re going through. You see people change and come through to become these beautiful souls and it’s so rewarding. I’m so lucky.”
One of the biggest break through Canadian group of the year, and alternative album of the year winner, July Talk, guides us through the album process. “I mean, we been doing the record for quite a long time now and the album has changed quite a lot through our stage show in our minds. It means a lot to just feel like this is like a conclusion to that album cycle. The next record, we’re actually writing right now I’m very excited about so tonight is a really special night to reflect on everything happened this year. We also just been touring Canada so its lovely to share it with Canadians.”
People have been so curiously asking what to expect on their next album. The band tells us, it’s a top secret and they would like to write as much as possible. They are proud of recording the album so long after their previous album. “We waited so long for the next record, I feel like we can take bigger steps because we kind of waited until people knew who we were,” says singer Peter Dreimanis. “I think they next step people will have so much context going into the next record and I am really proud of how long we waited.”
One of the biggest bands in Canadian music history, Rush, took home the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award. Accepting the award on behalf of the group was lead vocalist, Geddy Lee.
Being a band for so long, Lee tells us he hasn’t changed a lot from back then. Those days, people were graced with their parents and he had to work at his mom’s store every Saturday. Even today, Lee still has a great relationship and nothing that happened in his life affected them negatively. The band has been together for over 40 years. So how does a band stay together for so long? “We’re blessed with very equal temperate. We all have a very unique and shared sense of humour and we don’t try to take too many things seriously,” says Lee. “I think that helped sustain us through difficult times since we’re friends, we like each other and we do like to hang out and make each other laugh.”
Lee also mentions the power of artists giving back to the community. Since labels are encouraging more artists to give back at early stages, Lee agrees it is a good thing. “A lot of people that give and they play in a rock band, they don’t make a lot of money, giving is a healthy thing to pass onto other people. You don’t have to shout about it, it’s important to do it. Whether it’s five dollars to someone in your neighbourhood, it’s still a meal. There’s ton of ways to help.” Lee believes the band doesn’t need to shout it out in order to influence any one. The band likes to get publicized for their work and what they do privately will remain private.
To catch the full recap, please visit junoawards.ca