Charlotte Cardin and The Weeknd were among the big winners at the Juno Opening Night Awards in Toronto on Saturday, as more than 40 awards were handed out in a variety of categories.
Live streamed from the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the ceremony was emceed by CBC's The Block host Angeline Tetteh-Wayoe and Canadian comedian Ann Pornel. The second night of the Juno Awards will take place Sunday night and air live on CBC.
Montreal's Cardin picked up three awards, including single of the year, pop album of the year for Phoenix and artist of the year. Cardin also had the most nominations of the evening.
"This is so special to me," she said after winning artist of the year. "I'm going to keep working so hard."
"It's the most beautiful gift. There are no words to describe that feeling. I put out that album being very, very proud," she said of her sophomore release.
Toronto singer-songwriter Mustafa, who won a Juno for alternative album of the year for When Smoke Rises, accepted his award by acknowledging the loss of his friends in the neighbourhood of Regent Park.
"I wrote a record on death, I wrote a record on loss," he said, adding it was important for him to document this loss. He also noted being the first Black Muslim winner of this category and why we should rethink "firsts."
"Being the first of anything should now be critiqued more than celebrated."
The artist added that he is in good company within the Canadian songwriting community. "I feel so privileged to come from a legacy — or to be in a nation that has such a legacy of great songwriters."
Toronto's The Weeknd won two awards, picking up contemporary R&B recording of the year for Take My Breath and songwriter of the year.
The evening also included performances by several 2022 Juno Award nominees: Roxane Bruneau, Ruby Waters, Allison Russell and indie band Valley, as well as Jesse Gold, a 2021-22 Allan Slaight Juno Master Class short list artist.
Honouring Canada's trailblazers
It was also a night to recognize some of Canada's most prolific names in music. Denise Jones, who passed away in 2020, was honoured with the 2022 Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award for championing Canada's Afro-Caribbean culture.
Her sons Jerimi and Jesse, who accepted the award on her behalf, noted their mother was the true embodiment of hope and was the reason why the Junos introduced a reggae category in 1985.
"My brother and I stand before you tonight as testaments to what love, guidance, wisdom being poured into young people looks like," Jeremi said.
Juno Award-winning Inuk artist Susan Aglukark received the Humanitarian Award and told CBC News her songwriting and singing was healing.
Aglukark, who grew up in Nunavut, also started the Arctic Rose Foundation, bringing in guest artists to schools and creating spaces for Northern Inuit, First Nations and Métis kids to make art in after-school programs.
"I just know how fortunate I've been. This was not the plan when I moved here — and look!"
A diverse list of winners
This year's list of Juno nominees was among its most diverse in history, with a handful of newly minted winners taking the podium to accept their awards.
R&B artist Savannah Ré won for traditional R&B/soul recording of the year for the second consecutive time — the category was only introduced in 2021.
She pointed to Canadian singer-songwriters Melanie Fiona and Deborah Cox as women who have helped her throughout her career.
"I'm huge fans of these women and they've been nothing but open and welcome, so I'm always gonna do that same thing. I'm always gonna pay it forward."
Garth Prince, a Namibian-Canadian musician whose album Falling in Africa won for children's album of the year, grew up under apartheid in South Africa.
The songs inspired by that experience resonate with Canadians and people around the world who are losing their language and culture to colonialism, he said.
At previous Juno Awards, there was only one category for Indigenous music. That award has now been split into two — one for traditional and one for contemporary.
DJ Shub, the first-ever winner in the latter category, is an alum of electronic group A Tribe Called Red.
The Mohawk artist said that his new album War Club uses recordings of drummers and singers from his traditional territory, the Six Nations of the Grand River.
Thirteen-year-old Kairo McLean took home reggae recording of the year for his album Easy Now. The young musician said his plan is to keep making music and "getting better from here."
"It's really thanks to people like Bob Marley, Peter Tosh … also my dad. He's a bass player."
Below is a full list of winners:
Pop album of the year
Phoenix, Charlotte Cardin
Reggae recording of the year
Easy Now, Kairo McLean
Jazz album of the year (group)
Album artwork of the year
Mykaël Nelson, Nicolas Lemieux, Albert Zablit
Contemporary R&B recording of the year
Take My Breath, The Weeknd
Contemporary Indigenous artist or group of the year
War Club, DJ Shub
Jazz album of the year (solo)
Change of Plans, Will Bonness
Classical album of the year (solo artist)
enargeia, Emily D'Angelo
Jack Richardson Producer of the year
Breakthrough group of the year
Contemporary Christian/gospel album of the year
No Greater Love, The Color Dream
Classical album of the year (large ensemble)
Solfeggio, L'Harmonie des saisons, conducted by Eric Milnes ft. Hélène Brunet
Single of the year
Meaningless, Charlotte Cardin
Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award
Comedy album of the year
Grandma's Girl 姥姥的孩子, Andrea Jin 金玉琪
Dance recording of the year
Children's album of the year
Falling in Africa, Garth Prince
Instrumental album of the year
That Tall Distance, David Myles
Musicounts Inspired Minds Ambassador Award
Alternative album of the year
When Smoke Rises, Mustafa
Classical composition of the year
Arras, Keiko Devaux
Traditional R&B/soul recording of the year
24hrs, Savannah Ré
Rock album of the year
Sisters Not Twins (The Professional Lovers Album), The Beaches
Vocal jazz album of the year
Now Pronouncing: Caity Gyorgy
International album of the year
Sour, Olivia Rodrigo
Global music album of the year
Kalasö, Afrikana Soul Sister
Adult alternative album of the year
Inwards & Onwards, Half Moon Run
Country album of the year
What Is Life?, Brett Kissel
Francophone album of the year
Impossible à aimer, Cœur de pirate
Traditional roots album of the year
Joyful Banner Blazing, Maria Dunn
Adult contemporary album of the year
The Art of Falling Apart, Serena Ryder
Blues album of the year
Open Road, Colin James
Classical album of the year (small ensemble)
Beethoven: Sonates pour violon et piano/Violin Sonatas Nos. 1, 2, 3, & 5, Andrew Wan and Charles Richard-Hamelin
Recording engineer of the year
Rap single of the year
Metal/hard music album of the year
Bleed the Future, Archspire
Electronic album of the year
Oasis Sky, TOR
Music video of the year
Easy On Me (Adele), Xavier Dolan
Songwriter of the year
Contemporary roots album of the year
Outside Child, Allison Russell
Underground dance single of the year
Shadows In The Dark ft. Elliot Moss HNTR
Traditional Indigenous artist or group of the year
Kakike, Fawn Wood
Artist of the year