Nominees announced for the 45th annual JUNO Awards, sparks criticism

February 08, 2016

Album of The Year

At a press conference inside Toronto’s Phoenix Concert Theatre this past week, the nominees for the 45th annual JUNO Awards were announced. The Weeknd leads the pack with the most nominations at six, while Canada’s other biggest musical exports are close behind, with Drake and Justin Bieber each up for five.

Not everyone is happy. Shortly after the nominees were announced, a #JunosSoMale hashtag popped up on Twitter, and many have cried out about the snubbing of Grimes and Carly Rae Jepsen—the latter was nominated only for the fan choice award—who both released critically-acclaimed records last year. Grimes personally voiced some frustration with the male-dominated categories on Twitter. She later deleted her comments:

Of course, others have pointed out that sales are a factor in nine of the 42 categories, but those nine categories are arguably the most prestigious ones. JUNO Awards president, Allen Reid, responded that, “nominations are determined based on the submissions received.” He also pointed out that many women have been honoured over the years, including the top two all-time JUNO Award winners (Anne Murray and Celine Dion with 24 and 20 wins respectively).

Regardless, the fact that so few women were nominated in those categories highlights a bigger problem within the infrastructure and processes of the JUNOs.

No one has put it more succinctly than longtime music writer Sean Michaels in his Globe and Mail column. Maybe it’s really, truly time to re-evaluate the way our country’s biggest music awards are doled out. It’s definitely not the first time someone has had a problem with them.

While the names at the actual broadcast might not truly represent Canada’s musical diversity, there’s still a good chance that JUNOfest, taking over Calgary’s venues the week leading up to the awards, can create some programming that shows how many different voices exist in our music scene.



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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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