Canadas music awards
K'naan, one of Canada's -- and the world's -- most celebrated artists, brought the 2010 Juno Awards to a perfect conclusion with his aptly titled anthem 'Wavin' Flag' on Sunday night. The Somali-born rapper, who came to Canada as a refugee at age 15, was joined by many of the night's performers, many of whom had also recently contributed to a Young Artists for Haiti fundraiser version of the song.
Two-time winner Drake came out to drop his own verse on stage, while his colleague-in-hype (and three-time loser) Justin Bieber cutely crooned the line, "When I get older, I will be stronger."
The performance was representative of a night that was spectacular in its diversity. Unlike past Juno Awards, where the likes of Feist, Nelly Furtado or Nickelback swept the major awards, the 2010 Junos went to an eclectic array of artists who have become popular not only in Canada but around the world.
Group of the Year honours went to electro-pop stars Metric -- who had won Alternative Album of the Year the previous night -- while K'naan added a Songwriter of the Year win to his Artist of the Year trophy from Saturday's festivities. Drake beat out Bieber for New Artist of the Year and predictably took Rap Recording of the Year, but the night's big winner was Michael Bublé, who had won Best Pop Album on Saturday for 'Crazy Love' and took home the Fan Choice award (better luck next time, Bieber) as well as Single and Album of the Year for 'Haven't Met You Yet' and 'Crazy Love, respectively.
"It's lovely to win these awards, and I say this as honestly and humbly as I can, but on a night like this, how can you compare any of these acts together?" Bublé wondered backstage. "It's apples and oranges -- we're all doing totally different things. For me, it's cool to come here and see people like Metric and know that people like Tegan and Sara and Drake and Justin [Bieber] are being recognized deservedly. I think it obviously shows how the variety of our artists -- it's very eclectic and I'm proud to be among them."
That was the sentiment shared by winner after winner throughout the night. Metric thanked the musicians in the audience (and earlier shouted-out Broken Social Scene's Charles Spearin -- winner of Best Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year -- while praising the Canadian indie scene's cooperative nature). Drake gave props to his best new artist rival Justin Bieber for his first win ("Justin Bieber, you work really hard and I wanna share this with you") and recognized his fellow rappers on his second.
"I do this because I believe in all forms of music that come from Canada," he said from the arena stage. "When I'm in the U.S. I just try and let 'em know we have so much talent on the hip-hop scene here. Big up to K'naan, big up to Classified -- I'ma hold it down for y'all."
K'naan said that Drake came up to thank him for his music while both were backstage. "He said, 'I appreciated how you could take hip-hop into the homes of people who wouldn't otherwise be invited in," K'naan said, adding, "I feel Canada has many facets that are really interesting and exciting musically. I'm just one of those people, and Justin Beiber is over there and Drake is here.
In an interview after performing his new single 'Over,' Drake revealed a more unexpected musical appreciation. "I think Michael Bublé, to me, is in his own category," Drake gushed. "He is an incredible musician and he's giving people something they haven't heard for years and I really enjoy his music. The soul that he embodies onstage, to see women like my mom's age swooning is pretty impressive."
Drake believes that the international rise of so many Canadian artists is no mere coincidence -- it's like they all got a lesson from Bieber's swagger coach.
"As for everyone else -- myself, Justin [Bieber], Metric, [K'Naan] and the artists that have been receiving recognition in 2009 -- it's just about coming in with confidence and exuding that iconic [attitude]. We're not just Canadian, we're here because we're talented. We just wanna give the world music."