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JUNO Nominee Press Conference – Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto – February 2nd, 2016

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By Erin Donnelly

 

With a new year comes new awards shows, and one of the biggest music given to any Canadian or international artist is a JUNO. The Juno’s are celebrating their 45th annual awards show this year in Calgary, Alberta on April 3rd. The nominations are officially released and many artists are pumped to see their names on the list as potential winners.

 

The nominee press conference was hosted at the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto, Ontario on February 2nd. Every major news outlet in the city was present, including CTV, Global News, City TV, ETalk, and CP24.

 

The event opened with a welcome message by Allan Reid, the President and CEO of CARAS (The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences) where he thanked the many sponsors such as the Canadian Government, Alberta Government, and TD Bank.

 

Western Canadian Music Award nominee, rapper Transit, then performed for the packed crowd of media and artists.

 

Now, the moment that you have all been waiting for, a list of some of the nominees and performers for the 2016 JUNO Awards…

 

Toronto’s own, The Weeknd came out with a whopping six nominations including JUNO Fan Choice, Single of the Year, Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, and R&B/Soul Recording of the Year.

 

Both Drake and Justin Bieber have been given five nominations each, including JUNO Fan Choice, Single of the Year, Album of the Year, and Artist of the year. Drake has also been nominated for Rap Recording of the Year, while Bieber has been nominated for Pop Album of the Year.

 

Alessia Cara was announced to be the first performer with Dean Brody second (which pleased the crowd), and timeless rocker Bryan Adams was added to the list.

 

Canadian Pop sensation Alessia Cara will not only perform, but will be in the running for JUNO Fan Choice, as well as Single of the Year, Breakthrough Artist, and R&B/Soul Recording.  Clearly, it will be a big night for her.

 

Shawn Mendes is having another incredible year and is nominated for a JUNO Fan Choice, along with Album/Artist/and Pop Album of the Year. Buffy Sainte-Marie received a nod for Songwriter of the Year, Aboriginal Album of the Year, and Contemporary Roots Album. City and Colour is hoping to win one of three nominations including Artist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, and Jack Richardson Producer of the Year.

 

Many other artists are named for various awards, including The Sheepdogs, The Elwins, Scott Helmen, Hedley, Discrete, Young Empires, Cancer Bats, Kardinal Offishall, Jan Arden, Metric, Three Days Grace, Michael Jerome Brown, Death From Above 1979, Half Moon Run, Dear Rouge, Walk off the Earth and more. Some of the international artists up for awards are Vance Joy, Hozier, One Direction and Adele.

 

Tickets are now on sale for the 2016 JUNO Awards in Calgary, Alberta on Sunday April 3rd. You can get your tickets online at www.ticketmaster.ca or watch live on CTV!

Folk

Morning Bear Reveals Latest Single “A Simple Understanding”

John Runnels unveils the revival of his indie folk project, Morning Bear, with the release of new single, “A Simple Understanding”.

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Morning Bear

Denver raised and now Copenhagen based singer/songwriter John Runnels unveils the revival of his orchestral indie folk project, Morning Bear, with the release of a deeply personal and emotionally charged single, “A Simple Understanding.” Marking the band’s return after a six-year hiatus, Morning Bear’s latest offering provides an intimate glimpse into the mind of its creator, navigating through the profound challenges of loss, resilience, and self-discovery.

Characterised by highly dynamic compositions, Morning Bear’s music weaves together the calm and delicate stylings reminiscent of artists like Bon Iver and Jose Gonzalez, while embracing the complexity and depth akin to the Fleet Foxes and Sufjan Stevens. Featuring soaring vocals and unconventional arrangements, including cello, violin, piano, and more, Morning Bear crafts a textured landscape behind pop-influenced hooks.

The catalyst for Morning Bear’s resurgence lies in the transformative journey of band leader John Runnels, who, after facing a series of devastating events and losses, found solace and inspiration amid the chaos. The global pandemic, the loss of three close friends in separate tragedies, a severe injury, and battles with anxiety and depression marked a period of uncertainty for Runnels, but he emerged stronger and more resilient.

“A Simple Understanding”, a continuation of the first releases from Morning Bear after a long hiatus, showcases Runnels in an intimate and vulnerable performance, accompanied only by his acoustic guitar. Released at the time of year where it is most difficult for mental health, John recorded this in a single, live take during a rainstorm in a small garage in a village outside of Andover, UK, and the song captures the raw emotion of Runnels’ struggles and experiences. The lyrics delve into themes of self-loathing and finding hope in the darkest moments of life.

He says “People are often their own worst critic. ‘A Simple Understanding’ speaks to the self-loathing you feel when you have hit rock bottom. How do we find something to hold onto when we’re in the darkest points of our lives?

Morning Bear invites audiences to join them, to embrace vulnerability and share the power of music to heal and connect. With echoes of early Bon Iver in its acoustic performance, ‘A Simple Understanding’ is a brutally honest and delicately executed piece of songwriting that is sure to resonate with listeners, John Runnels bears all in this captivating and emotionally charged offering that sticks.

Morning Bear "A Simple Understanding" single artwork

Morning Bear “A Simple Understanding” single artwork

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Album News

Slightest Clue Release Their Rocking, Five-Track EP ‘Carousel’

Vancouver indie rockers Slightest Clue recently released their ‘Carousel’ EP, inspired by the beginning, middle, and end of a relationship.

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Slightest Clue
Slightest Clue

Vancouver’s Slightest Clue is like the secret after-school project of four kids who would have passed each other without a glance in the hallway at school, but once they’re plugged in and ready to play their distinct blend of post-punk, alternative rock, and dark pop, all bets are off.

Produced by Matt Di Pomponio, their new EP, Carousel, is inspired by the beginning, middle, and end of a formative romantic relationship, spanning the trajectory from love to this loss of connection. The closing track, “Carousel,” marks the ultimate bittersweet reflection with unique harmonic layers to portray those contrasting emotions, shifting between grand and quiet tones.

Commenting on the album, the band states:

“The main theme is love, loss of relationship, and connection. The arc of the story is our foreshadowing of the end in our first song ‘These Days’ speaking on the day to day fights and how neither person can seem to get back to a happy place in the relationship. ‘Why Can’t I Call You?’ is the initial spark of infatuation and obsession with someone before you know them. ‘When You Wake Up’ talks of the blissed out honeymoon stage where everything is working and nothing could go wrong. ‘Suit Uptight!’ represents the mounting frustrations and resentments building tension from unmet needs. And finally our closing track ‘Carousel’ is the end and the bittersweet reflection of a cherished relationship that can no longer return.”

Each member, Malcolm McLaren, Hannah Kruse, Sean Ries, and Nick Sciarretta, brings distinct influences and experiences: a stage actor whose playlists go from Talking Heads to Sonic Youth to Björk, a hook-obsessed recovering choir girl, an electrical engineer whose personal idol is John Bonham, and a guitarist who played for (and left) 10 other bands before deciding this was the one for him.

Slightest Clue ‘Carousel’ [EP] album artwork

Slightest Clue ‘Carousel’ [EP] album artwork

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Hardcore/Punk

Frankie Flowers Releases Her Brand New Single “LUST”

Waterloo, Ontario, genre-bending alternative punk artist Frankie Flowers has released her brand new single “LUST.”

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Frankie Flowers, photo by Victoria McWwan (@vic_shmik)
Frankie Flowers, photo by Victoria McWwan (@vic_shmik)

Frankie Flowers is an emerging alternative artist from Waterloo, Ontario. She creates a genre-bending sound by merging her love for dark-wave and post-punk music, as well as combining elements from other genres. Frankie has a dark, psychedelic, and eclectic vibe that urges you to escape reality and experience the unknown.

Her aptly-titled new single “LUST” feels dark and desperate, with echo and reverb that drown out the verses, in contrast with the punchy chorus.

Commenting on the single, Frankie states:

“You can lust for anything. People, money, power; we’re all longing for something.”

Frankie Flowers “Lust” single artwork

Frankie Flowers “Lust” single artwork

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