Top 4 Highlights from the 2019 JUNOs Weekend

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By Sinejan Ozaydemir 

Last weekend, Canada Celebrated their very own musical talent at The JUNO Awards in London. There were many exciting events and performances and celebrations. Here are a few of the highlights from the weekend: 

Spotlight on Producers and engineers

One of my favourite parts of JUNOs weekend is the Producer/Engineer panel that happens each year. It is an amazing opportunity to not only hear stories from the studio but also celebrate the talented producers and engineers that work tirelessly to create the many hits we hear on the radio and stream daily. All the artists who are nominated appreciate their teams, but one mention at the Gala awards was quite aligned with what was discussed at the Stories From the Studio Panel. After winning Rock album of the Year, the Arkells spoke in the media room about Eric Ratz, their producer who won Jack Richardson Producer of the Year. They mentioned how he and all producers are “musical translators” or “social workers” who gather ideas from the room and are able to put it all together in a magical way. 

Some takeaways from the panel were: 

Always try to be the hardest working guy/girl in the room and try not to be defeated when you take a loss and not get too high when the wins come. Put your head down and do great work, it doesn’t matter who you are working with, do the best you can every time. 

Keep your focus on the artist, don’t let the chatter of the managers or record people take over 
It’s all about the artist, when you work with a compelling artist that can perform well, and who is going to connect with people, a part of your job is to realize who you want to work with and once you find an artist like that, to understand when to get out of the way and help elevate what they are trying to create.  Sometimes it takes 10, 20, 30 bad songs before you get one good song. 

Every presence in the studio counts: Feeling comfortable with even the smallest employee running around in the studio is very important for the overall experience and work flow. Flexibility is key/find your flow: remember every artist you work with will have a different work flow. 

Must chase the most authentic and most compelling talent you can find to work with : not just the person in front of the mic but also the songwriters and producers and the engineers.
 
Create a team. Don’t worry about trying to work with the biggest act out there. As you grow as a team, people will reach out to you. 

The electronic album of the year  nominees and winners 

Milk & Bone took home the 2019 JUNO for Electronic Album of the Year for their album ‘Deception Bay’. The album contains some intimate topics, thoughts and experiences. The ladies shared with us how it was a bit less scary to release the album into the world after having the opportunity to work together on the music. They talked about how being a part of a duo rather than being a solo artist  gives them strength. They want to encourage other female electronic artists that are in the process of developing their sound to trust themselves and do their thing! They explain how they still sometimes have worries and doubts but they suggest that trusting yourself as a young artist, as early as possible  in your career will help greatly! We had a chance to chat with the ladies on the red carpet about their win and JUNOs experience: 

iamhill who now lives in LA says being back in Canada and around Canadian talent feels so supportive. She was nominated for her album ‘Give it a Rest’ which was a project that took 3 years and resulted in an excellent album where she learned a lot and found her sound. We are looking forward to seeing more of her upcoming work this year! We had a chance to chat with her on the red carpet about her album and JUNOs experience: 

Felix Cartal, says that he has always been passionate about songwriting. He wrote an entire album and scrapped it before he started to write the songs that are now on 'Next Season'. He describes how he wanted to be in the room to write about his life but have it so you are hearing it through the various beautiful voices of talented singers included on the album. He has a new song with Canadian artist Lights called ‘Love me’ out now and he will soon be going back on tour! We had a chance to chat with him on the red carpet about his album and JUNOs experience: 

Being real, letting your truth shine and doing things that are bigger than yourself and your music 

Watching the JUNOs Gala Dinner and Broadcast as well as sitting in the media room on both nights, we heard a few messages repeated by the talented Canadian artists who were a part of the JUNOs. Many artists spoke of realizing what an impact being real and true to themselves had on their careers. This is a topic that comes up regularly in interviews with artists we have the pleasure of chatting with at EDM CANADA, and over the weekend, it quickly became very apparent that it was prevalent in all areas of the music industry. Many of the artists touched on this, including Milk & Bone and Jeremy Dutcher, so, I wanted to highlight the topic just as they did, as a reminder for any artists who are maybe starting out or who are trying to find their place in the industry, that it seems to be one of the biggest challenges artists face. It also is one of the biggest pieces of advice that will not only set you apart but also keep you happy and fulfilled as an artist: really be true to what feels best to you and create what you like. Another topic that was also touched on a few times was the notion of working towards something beyond yourself and your music. Again, a great example was Jeremy Dutcher talking about reconciliation. Also Jesse Reyez, who won her second JUNO award for RnB Soul Recording of the year, spoke in the media room about how crazy it feels to be representing the Latin community and also that her driving force behind why she is in music is philanthropy, passing on what she has learned from the legends that she has had the opportunity to work with and giving back to the music community. 

The performances & Concerts 

Loud luxury started things off right with a grand opening to the 2019 JUNOs. For anyone who missed the live broadcast, the duo from London took great pride in not only bringing Brando out to perform their hit track ‘Body', but also brought out the Western Marching band and Cheerleaders. The stage was full and the performance was lively. A perfect way to start the night. The duo also took to the side stage after the JUNO awards alongside Ryan Shepherd to throw a great dance party. Although there were many wonderful performances throughout the evening, the one performance that personally stood out for me was Jeremy Dutcher’s performance of ’Sakomawit’ The performance that also featured violinist Blake Pouliot was special in that it not only was extremely captivating but really demonstrated Jeremy Dutcher’s passion and talent. He won the Indigenous Music Album of the Year for Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa at the 2019 Juno Gala Dinner & Awards the night before the JUNOs broadcast.

What a wonderful weekend celebrating Canadian Music! Congratulations to all the nominees and winners at last weekend’s JUNO Awards! Here is the full list: https://junoawards.ca/winners/