The Weeknd leads winners at historic pre-telecast Junos with three awards

·2 min read

TORONTO — The Juno Awards rolled into their golden celebration with a virtual ceremony packed full of historic wins.

Enigmatic superstar the Weeknd took home the most hardware Friday, picking up three awards including single of the year for “Blinding Lights” as well as contemporary R&B recording.

The Toronto singer, born Abel Tesfaye, completed the trifecta with a songwriter of the year award, though he was absent from the festivities.

The Junos Opening Night Awards, as they were billed, took the place of the usual in-person gala dinner that happens over Junos weekend.

The 50th-anniversary show was hosted by CBC Music's Angeline Tetteh-Wayoe with pre-taped performances.

The winners were announced live with many of them appearing over webcam to accept their awards.

JJ Wilde became the first female winner for best rock album in 25 years with her breakout release “Ruthless.” A woman hasn’t won the category since Alanis Morissette’s 1995 album “Jagged Little Pill.”

Morissette swept through the ceremony herself, winning adult contemporary album of the year for “Such Pretty Forks in the Road.”

WondaGurl made history as the first Black woman to win producer of the year for tracks with the late rapper Pop Smoke and the Travis Scott-led Jackboys.

The Scarborough, Ont.-raised producer, born Ebony Oshunrinde, is only the sixth female producer winner and the first to force her name mainly at the soundboards. Past winners have all been known singers, k.d. lang, Nelly Furtado and Joni Mitchell among them.

Kaytranada marked another first becoming the only Black male solo winner for dance recording of the year since its creation in 1992. He won for the album “Bubba.”

Breakthrough group of the year went to Oshawa, Ont.-founded rock duo Crown Lands while Hamilton-based act Arkells scored their fourth win for group of the year.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 4, 2021.

David Friend, The Canadian Press

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