Canada invades the MTV Video Music Awards just a little bit

August 29, 2016

The MTV Video Music Awards took place last night, and with it, a few Canadian musicians were given a little bit of a chance to invade the New York City spectacle. In fact, to kick the whole night off, Brampton, Ontario’s own Alessia Cara emerged in top form from the Penn Station subway stop to make her way to the stage and perform some of her own poppy R&B hits from last year’s Know-It-All. Her performance was a medley, though: she launched it with a powerful run-through of the dramatic “Wild Things” before melding into “Wild,” her collaboration with South African-born, Australian pop singer, Troye Sivan, and then finally capping things off with the stirring self-acceptance anthem “Scars To Your Beautiful.”

Cara ended up losing her one award nomination—Best Pop Video for “Wild Things”—to Beyoncé, but let’s face it: anyone going up against Beyoncé or “Formation” this year was in a pretty rough spot. Queen Bey also broke Madonna’s record for most VMAs of all-time with 22. But Cara’s performance slot and her nomination are big jumps in an already great year for the young Ontarian. The only other Canadians who were nominated for awards were Drake and Justin Bieber, who’ve long ruled the Billboard charts and these kind of glitzy award shows. Cara’s increased presences shows she’s quickly inching her way into even bigger successes.

While the night mostly belonged to Beyoncé, Kanye, and Rihanna, Drake found his way into the latter’s spotlight, starting even before the actual awards with a Los Angeles billboard expressing his and OVO’s congrats on her Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. Then, Drizzy claimed he was stuck in traffic for most of the awards, but showed up at the last second to present her with the award. After a four-minute speech proclaiming Rihanna’s genius and authenticity, and his longtime love for her, he went in for a massive kiss and got, well… some cheek. The moment was about Rihanna, after all, and she was going to make sure it stayed that way.


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About the Author

Matt Williams

Matt Williams is a writer and photographer. Born and raised on the Prairies in Winnipeg, he’s slowly made his way farther and farther east, spending a few years covering music in Toronto before running clear out of country and ending up on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. In between, he’s made numerous detours, interviewing and photographing countless artists across North America and beyond. He heads up Amplify’s Instrumental series, where he talks with musicians about the relationships they’ve formed with their most important tools.

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