Vancouver Island made waves in the music world Tuesday as performers with ties to the area drew a total of nine Juno Award nominations.
Lauren Spencer Smith was the standout, earning three nominations in several top categories, including artist of the year.
Spencer Smith, 20, who was raised in Nanaimo and graduated from Dover Bay Secondary, has seen her career skyrocket following her run to the Top 20 of American Idol when she was just 16. Her debut album, Mirror, was also nominated for album of the year and pop album of the year Tuesday.
Cowichan Valley duo Blue Moon Marquee were also recognized, drawing the first two Juno nominations of their decade-long career — including one for contemporary Indigenous artist or group of the year (singer-guitarist A.W. Cardinal is of Cree/Métis decent.) The band’s new recording, Scream, Holler & Howl, is also contending for blues album of the year, a category in which they will compete alongside One Step Closer by Duncan's Brandon Isaak.
A pair of Montreal-based acts — Nanaimo native Christine Jensen, and Busty and the Bass, who are led by Victoria's Evan Crofton — received nods as well. Busty and the Bass will compete for breakthrough group of the year, while Jensen’s latest recording, Day Moon, is in the running for jazz album of the year (solo).
The Junos air live on CBC from Halifax on March 24. Victoria-raised Nelly Furtado is set to work double duty as host and performer.
Furtado was not left off the ballot, securing a dance recording of the year nomination for Eat Your Man, her comeback single with producer Dom Dolla.
Joining her at the Scotiabank Centre arena are a run of newly announced performers, including country star Josh Rosh, Punjabi singer Karan Aujla and Talk.
Among the other nominees is Montreal pop singer-songwriter Charlotte Cardin, who emerged as the top contender with six nominations. Her album 99 Nights earned nods for both album of the year, as well as pop album.
Cardin also picked up recognition in the artist of the year and fan choice categories, while her Top 10 Canadian hit Confetti was among the single of the year nominees.
Her sixth nomination was shared with co-writers Jason Brando and Lubalin for songwriter of the year.
Cardin took home a leading four wins at the 2022 edition of the awards.
Other major contenders this year include Toronto R&B singer Daniel Caesar and Ottawa-born Nicholas Durocher, who performs under the name Talk. They are tied with five nominations, with several in key categories, including single and album.
Among the three-time nominees are folk singer-songwriter Allison Russell, hot off her first Grammy win on Sunday, and Tate McRae, whose pop hit Greedy has positioned her among Canada's newest generation of breakout stars.
The Junos previously announced that hip-hop pioneer Maestro Fresh Wes will be this year's inductee into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, making him the first rapper to receive the career achievement honour.
Calgary sisters and pop duo Tegan and Sara will receive the humanitarian award from actor Elliot Page for their work as advocates for the LGBTQ+ community.
— With a file from The Canadian Press