Quebecois stars shine bright at 2019 JUNO Awards

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While modesty is a seemingly ubiquitous Canadian characteristic, its tensile strength is challenged whenever musicians enter the conversation. The temptation to politely, but firmly,  mention that Arcade Fire, A-Trak and Plants and Animals all originated in Quebec is just too great. And given that province’s talent represented at the 2019 JUNO Awards, this is unlikely to change anytime soon.

From rising stars to established mainstays, Quebecois artistry is a thread that runs through the entirety of this year’s awards: Hubert Lenoir (Album of the Year and Pop Album of the Year), Chromeo (Group of the Year), Milk & Bone (Electronic Album of the Year), Elisapie (Indigenous Music Album of the Year) and Gabrielle Shonk (Adult Alternative Album of the Year) are all names to watch out for this Sunday.

There is also great diversity in the nominations for Francophone Album of the Year that include cross-overs from other categories. Nods this year included singer-songwriter Philippe Brach, hip-hop luminary Loud, folk artist Tire le Coyote, glam rocker Hubert Lenoir and celebrated chanteuse Coeur de Pirate.

And despite the competitive nature of an awards show, the group of nominees also displays unity and unbreakable kinship.

Selling more than one million albums over the past decade, six-time JUNO Award nominee Coeur de Pirate will team up with Loud for an unforgettable performance. As she preps to launch a tour that includes Canadian and European dates, Coeur de Pirate provided some perspective to NOW about the Juno Awards, what it means to be an icon, and of course, Celine Dion.

What does it mean for you to be nominated for Francophone Album of the Year at the JUNO Awards?

It’s always amazing to be recognized by your peers so this is always amazing for me. The album is a real love letter to Paris and my chanson française heritage, so it’s really nice to have it shine this way  

You and Loud represent different styles and genres of music. What does it mean to be performing together? And what can fans expect from the performance?

Pop is becoming more ingrained in hip-hop so the mash-up makes sense to me. I’m a big fan of his work, so to be able to let people in the rest of Canada know us a little better by performing is really great. I think we haven’t performed this song live many times at all so it’s great

How important is it for French-Canadian artists to be represented at the JUNO Awards?

I think French is a huge part of this country, and I tour the rest of Canada with a mostly French concert and everything’s been sold out so far, so I think there’s a real interest so… why not showcase more of it?  

You have been credited with introducing a new generation to French-Canadian music. What does that responsibility mean to you?

It’s cool back when I was younger there weren’t a lot of French-Canadian artists that I looked up to because everything was unattainable. To be someone that kids can relate to and sing in French, that’s a real joy for me  

Who are some French-Canadian artists that you’re listening to nowadays?

Loud, Les sœurs Boulay, Pierre Lapointe and obviously Céline Dion.

Now that you’ve been performing for over a decade, what’s some advice you’d offer to those just starting out?

Just do gigs, post your stuff online and stay true to yourself.

The 48th annual JUNO Awards will air live on Sunday (March 17) at Budweiser Gardens in London, Ontario. For those unable to attend, the show will be broadcast live on CBC, CBC Radio One, CBC Music, the free CBC Gem streaming service, and globally at cbcmusic.ca/junos.


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