Calgary, AB – In part one of our behind-the-scenes coverage at the JUNO Awards, we gave you a sneak peak of all the action on the red carpet and inside the media centre. The beauty of having that exclusive access is the face time we get with the nominees, winners and everyone in between. What makes award shows so exciting is the unexpected at every turn and the mere minute you have with every artist, before they’re whisked away.
HipHopCanada was able to catch up with a few of the nominees and winners over JUNO Weekend, as they circulated the red carpet or took part in the Q&A sessions backstage. Artists included: Kafinal (Reggae Recording Artist of the Year), Kardinal Offishall (Rap Recording of the Year Nominee), SonReal (Rap Recording of the Year Nominee) and Alessia Cara (Performer and Breakthrough Artist of the Year). We also caught up with R&B/Soul Recording of the Year Nominee, Patrick Lehman the day after the televised broadcast on Sunday night.
From Canadian hip-hop legends like Kardi, to the next wave like SonReal, everyone brought good vibes for a wonderful celebration of Canadian music. See how it all went down after the jump.
Q&A with Kafinal – Reggae Recording Artist of the Year (Nah Complain ft. Daddy U Roy)
His suit was tailored to absolute perfection and his postive vibe was infectious. There was something about Kafinal’s presence, that shifted the energy in the room. Kafinal didn’t have a care in the world, he did just win a JUNO after all.
HipHopCanada: As far as the reggae and dancehall genres go in Canada, how have you seen it progress within the last decade? What changes in the growth have you noticed?
Kafinal: Well, I migrated in 2009 and since I’ve been here reggae is just booming. There might be room for improvement, but as you know the song “Nah Complain,” we are grateful for whatever position we are in and we’re just working to advance. There are artists here that are making great, valuable impressions globally and we’re just thankful for everybody supporting the artists. We’re just moving forward.
On the Red Carpet with Kardinal Offishall – Rap Recording of the Year Nominee (Kardi Gras Vol. 1: The Clash)
Looking fresh to death in a custom-made varsity jacket by Roots, the four-time JUNO award winner and Canadian hip-hop ambassador made his last stop of red-carpet interviews with HipHopCanada, before heading into the Holt Renfrew JUNO Red Carpet Lounge.
HipHopCanada: This jacket is fire, first of all.
Kardinal Offishall: Thank you, thank you.
HipHopCanada: I was in Toronto for NBA All-Star Weekend, and I saw that you hosted [as a DJ] for a whole bunch of parties. I just wanted to know if that transition, from an MC to a DJ, was something you’ve always been working at?
Kardinal Offishall: It’s not really a transition. For me, back before I got on, in high school I used to make mixtapes and sell them for studio time. Since I was 12 or 13 I’ve always had a love for turn tables and I think the only difference is I stopped playing parties publicly for many years, obviously to do the MC thing. But right now me, Cipha Sounds, Starting From Scratch, and Dready [from the UK] – we formed the Celebrity Marauders. So I can go out and have fun with it again – know what I’m sayin? Not just be one of those “celebrity DJs” but just a DJ who actually happens to be a celebrity as well.
HipHopCanada: I was actually just listening to Juan Epstein, and on the episode Cipha Sounds was saying how he went down to Toronto just to watch one of your sets. That’s cool that you have that kind of relationship.
Kardinal Offishall: Yeah, that’s my brother. Yo, on May 14 we’re gonna have a big combination birthday party. Me and Ciph, so that’s gonna be dope.
HipHopCanda: That sounds awesome! Anyways, we’ll let you get on your way. Thank you so much for your time!
Kardinal Offishall: My pleasure! Enjoy.
On the Red Carpet with SonReal – Rap Recording of the Year Nominee (For The Town)
Showing love to the west coast in an Oakland Raiders bomber jacket, the Vancouver-native kept it casual and cool on the red carpet. When he stopped to chat with HipHopCanada, he made it known that the west is up next.
HipHopCanada: So it looks like we have a mutual friend in common – Bob Butcher?
SonReal: Yeah! That’s the homie.
HipHopCanada: He’s actually the one who put me on to your music. We noticed that there were a lot of west coast artists performing at JUNOFest [this year] and we think we’re kind of seeing a shift of more support in the west coast verses the “Drakes” and “The Weeknds.” We just wanted to know what your take on that was. Do you think that the west is on the rise?
SonReal: Yeah, west coast is next man! I’m coming out with a single on Friday, that’s going to change my whole game. It’s called “Can I Get A Witness” – I wanna come out and be one of the first people to go and do my thing the way I want to do it. From the west coast we got people like Snak The Ripper, Merkules, Brevner – we got all sorts of artists who are talented as hell and I think it’s gonna come out in a big way. I think we’re next.
HipHopCanada: Well, we’re all standing behind you.
SonReal: I appreciate that, thank you.
Writers note: SonReal’s new single, “Can I Get A Witness” is now available on SoundCloud.
Q&A with Alessia Cara – Breakthrough Artist of the Year
After opening the show with an remarkable performance of “Wild Things” and “Here,” then snagging the Breakthrough Artist of the Year award, the beautifully talented Alessia Cara graced us with her presence inside the Q&A room.
HipHopCanada: Congratulations on your win. With a girl your age (19) and with your success building the way it has, you’re such a grounded person. How do you stay so humble? What keeps you grounded and at a good level?
Alessia Cara: Thank you! I guess many different factors. I think the first factor is, as cliche as it sounds, just keep good people around you . It’s really important, I think your team is everything and my team protects me. It doesn’t even feel like a team, it just feels like family. My dad is always with me, my mom comes with me when she can, so that’s one thing. For me, the fame side of things, it doesn’t even attract me. It actually scares me so I try to steer away from that as much as possible – inject some normality in my life whatever that means. If that means having friends around, if it means shutting it off for a few hours – I like to just be normal. Even though my job is obviously not normal.
Photo by Sarah Jay for HipHopCanada
Q&A with Patrick Lehman – R&B/Soul Recording of the Year Nominee (Butchy’s Son)
With all of the chaos surrounding the rep carpet, I didn’t get the chance speak with the Montreal-born singer, songwriter and producer. Thankfully Patrick and I caught up over email so he could share his experience as a nominee at the JUNO Awards:
“This weekend at all the Juno events has been incredible. Being able to sit at the Juno gala and hear my name called for R&B/soul album of the year is something that has been in the back of my mind since I was a child. As an independent artist in Canada, it’s an incredible feeling to be recognized and nominated for my album as a whole amongst so many inspiring artists.
It was a thrill for me to have my family along for the ride too. Being able to meet and talk music with so many Canadian heavyweights this weekend like Kardinal, Alessia, Ria Mae and even Melanie Jolie has been unbelievable.”
Photo Courtesy of Shannon Martin
Interviews conducted and transcribed by Rosa Jason for HipHopCanada