April 13th, 2024

Country act James Barker Band, rapper Tobi among early winners at Junos industry show

By David Friend, The Canadian Press on March 23, 2024.

Canadian singer and songwriter Charlotte Cardin is seen in Montreal on Monday, March 14, 2022. Some of Canada's top musical talent is set to be toasted tonight at the Juno Awards industry gala in Halifax. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

HALIFAX – Country stars James Barker Band and rapper Tobi emerged as early winners at this year’s Juno Awards industry ceremony.

The Woodville, Ont. band picked up country album of the year for “Ahead of Our Time, while Toronto’s Tobi landed rap single of the year with his track “Someone I Know.”

The Junos hardware was handed out during an industry gala event in Halifax where more than 40 categories will be awarded, including artist, single and pop album of the year.

It’s the precursor to Sunday’s televised CBC broadcast, hosted by Nelly Furtado, where the marquee awards will include fan choice and album of the year.

Sunday’s show will also celebrate this year’s Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee, rapper Maestro Fresh Wes, and Halifax native Elliot Page will present Tegan and Sara with the humanitarian award for their work supporting LGBTQ+ youth.

Other early winners on Saturday included Newfoundland and Labrador trio the Swinging Belles, who picked up children’s album, and Toronto DJ and producer Bambii, whose “Infinity Club” was named electronic album of the year.

“I’m just a sum of all the communities I’ve traversed,” the second-generation Caribbean DJ said after her win.

“Being around young people, queer people, trans people. It’s not only (artists) … it’s the people who consume and understand art … that have inspired my sound. Just regular people around me that are in my music, their stories are in my music.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 23, 2024.

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