TORONTO - Before Alessia Cara steps into hosting responsibilities at this year's Juno Awards in Saskatoon, she hopes to lean on beloved crooner Michael Buble for a little advice.
The 23-year-old pop singer from Brampton, Ont., - who also leads with six nominations at the biggest celebration of Canadian music - says Buble, who's played master of ceremonies twice, stands out as the Junos host with the most.
“I love how Michael Buble does anything,” Cara said Tuesday after the Juno nominees were revealed in Toronto.
“The way he speaks to people on his tour is so great, it sounds like he's even hosting there. I'll get in contact with him.”
Cara and Buble have a few things in common when it comes to the Junos.
For one, they'll both compete for album of the year, as he's nominated for his covers collection “Love,” while she's in the running with “The Pains of Growing,” a project that's especially close to her.
“I wrote this record all by myself,” Cara said. “It was the first time I've really done that.”
The Grammy-winning “Scars to Your Beautiful” singer is also nominated for the songwriter award, Juno Fan Choice, pop album, artist of the year and single of the year for “Out of Love.”
Aside from her musical accolades, Cara is now the second-youngest to host the Junos, coming in behind pop brothers the Moffatts who were still in their teens when they hosted in 2000. She also squeaks by Drake who hosted the show when he was 24.
Other Juno album of the year nominees include works from neoclassical pianist Alexandra Streliski, Bryan Adams, and Toronto rapper Nav.
Cara's fellow single of the year nominees include German-Canadian singer Bulow, nee Megan Bulow, for “Sweet Little Lies,” and Oshawa, Ont.,-raised singer and “Nashville” TV star Lennon Stella with “La Di Da.” Scott Helman's “Hang Ups” and Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello's steamy “Senorita” round out the category.
The 49th Juno Awards will air on CBC from the SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon on March 15.
Tory Lanez trails closely behind Cara with five nominations, including rap recording for “Freaky,” and R&B/Soul recording for “Chixtape 5.” The Toronto rapper is also among the acts up for artist of the year, alongside Adams, Jessie Reyez, and Shawn Mendes.
Among the other Juno contenders with multiple nominations are Adams, Bulow, Nav and Mendes, who have three each.
Breakthrough artist nominees are Streliski, singer Ali Gatie, rapper bbn$ (pronounced “baby no money”), Lennon Stella and Nashville performer Tenille Townes, who grew up in Grande Prairie, Alta.
Several notable Canadian artists were snubbed by the Junos, including acclaimed rapper Haviah Mighty whose album “13th Floor” won the Polaris Music Prize, and Haisla rap duo Snotty Nose Rez Kids who received the best reviews of their careers with “Trapline” last year. Pop singer Carly Rae Jepsen also didn't get any love for her album “Dedicated.”
Junos president Allan Reid said Drake continued his long-standing practice of not submitting his work to any of the categories, which meant various releases, including one dedicated to the Toronto Raptors' NBA championship victory, were not considered. Others artists on his label OVO Sound also went unrecognized.
The first round of Juno Awards performers announced for the broadcast include Tory Lanez, Daniel Caesar, Lennon Stella, and the Glorious Sons.
And other honourees on the show will include singer Jann Arden, who's being inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
Cara could draw on Arden's extensive Junos knowledge too, if she sees fit, since the prolific singer, TV personality and actress has stepped into the spotlight as both host and co-host of the event over the years.
And when it comes down to it, Cara is downplaying her Canadian hosting experience a bit.
Back in 2017, alongside Joe Jonas she co-hosted the iHeartRadio Much Music Video Awards, a street party fuelled by the energy of mostly teenagers.
While the Junos are quite a different televised affair, one that celebrates many generations and genres of music, Cara says she picked up a few lessons the first go-around at the MMVAs.
“You've got to really get into a zone. It's a different zone than singing. You have to be in a mode of entertainment in a different way, talk loud enough, be funny, don't talk too fast,” she said.
“There's a lot more that goes into it than just standing up there and talking - there's so much preparation.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 28, 2020.