Talented Canadians of Caribbean origin are dominating this year’s JUNO nominations.
The annual musical lovefest awards show will be held in Calgary April 3 at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) and broadcast partner CTV announced on Tuesday the 45th JUNO celebrations will spread over March 28-April 3.
Nominated for Reggae Recording of the Year are Jamaican-Canadian rapper Wayne Ford Levy a.k.a. Exco Levi for Hello Mama. Nah Complain ft. Daddy U Roy by another Jamaican-Canadian, Jeffrey Williams, a.k.a., Kafinal is another in this category. Kafinal has been dubbed “Canada’s Festival King.” He tweeted “I’m @thejunoawards nominee, thanks to the amighty, to my family, friends …”
Also in this category is the lone woman, Jamaican-Canadian recording artist and songwriter Kreesha Turner with her song Sexy Gal ft. T.O.K.
Lyndon John X, born in Toronto to parents from Grenada, whose Escape from the Mongoose Gang is also nominated for Reggae Recording of the Yea saw his sophomore album Brighter Days nominated for a JUNO in 2011.
Through his Grenadian parentage, he was introduced to calypso and reggae. Reggae music seemed to become part of him, as it carried through while playing in various jazz and blues bands. At 16, he recorded his first single, All My Lovin’, which also appears on his debut album.
At least two nominees for Rap Recording of the Year have Caribbean roots.
Kardinal Offishall, born Jason Harrow to Jamaican immigrant parents, is a rapper and record producer and is known as Canada’s hip-hop ambassador.
He started rapping at eight and was winning competitions by age 12. At 14, he performed live and on stage for the first time with Nelson Mandela in attendance during Mandela’s first visit to Toronto following his release from prison.
Kardinal’s recording Kardi Gras Vol. 1: The Clash is among four others including Canadian-born rapper, Drake with his song If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late.
Kardinal tweeted “Shouts to @TheJUNOAwards for the nomination. I’m in FANTASTIC company this year. I like that. Everyone listed is REALLY winning already.”
Another Caribbean connection is rapper, singer, songwriter and record producer k-os, born Kevin Brereton to parents from Trinidad and Tobago.
The alias k-os, spelled with a lowercase k, was intended to be less aggressive than the pseudonyms of other rappers whose names are all uppercase, such as KRS-One. It’s an acronym for Knowledge of Self although he has also said it originally stood for Kevin’s Original Sound.
His Can’t Fly Without Gravity is among the other nomination in Rap Recording of the Year.
For Jazz Album of the Year, Solo, Abeng by Rich Brown, born to Jamaican parents in Toronto, is recognized as the only person of Caribbean heritage in this category.
He taught himself to play bass at 17 by listening to artists like Jaco Pastorius, Victor Bailey, Jimmy Haslip and Alain Caron. Brown is featured as a member of the Kenny Kirkwood Quartet.
Scarborough-born The Weeknd, (Abel Tesfaye of Ethiopian heritage) has several nominations including Fan Choice Award, Single of the Year – Can’t Feel My Face; Album of the Year – Behind the Madness; Artist of the Year and Songwriter of the Year.
Drake’s Hotline Bling is nominated for Single of the Year, Fan Choice Award, Album of the Year and Artist of the Year.