A musician with ties to Maple Ridge almost walked away with two JUNO Awards this weekend.
Julian Taylor wrote and sang about his experiences in Maple Ridge as a child, and those adventures – now reflected in his latest album – helped garner accolades for the singer, songwriter, and multi-talented musician.
His album, called The Ridge, earned Taylor nominations for best Indigenous artist/group of the year, as well as contemporary album of the year at the JUNOs. He didn’t win in either category, but did make the shortlist.
Julian Taylor wants you to close your eyes and listen.
— Unreserved (@CBCUnreserved) June 7, 2021
During the nationally broadcast ceremonies this past weekend, the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) celebrated the 50th anniversary of the JUNOs – Canada’s biggest night in music.
The Toronto-based musician – a baritone vocalist who plays guitar and piano – released his winning eight-song Americana album last fall, with one of songs – the title track, The Ridge – sharing some of his childhood memories of time spent in Maple Ridge.
From age four to 14, he spent summers with his grandparents, John and Carol Shanks, on their local farm. And in the namesake song, he shares some of his fondest recollections of following his older sister around the barn, chicken coop, and pastures of that farm wearing his little rainboots, catching frogs, shovelling manure, and chasing chickens.
Each song on The Ridge represents an acoustic-driven mixture of styles that reflects Taylor’s range as a creative force. It builds, he said, upon the templates forged during his tenure fronting the alt-rocking collective Staggered Crossing, as well as the fine funk and R&B-driven foundation he continues to mine with the still-active Julian Taylor Band.
“Everything I write about on this album is a true story,” he confirmed.
“Yeah, I did make up a few stories on some of the other records I’ve done, but I decided to stop doing that. Everything since then is something that happened to me, or to people I know. Everything is true.”
Taylor describes himself as a musical chameleon who can be found performing rhythm and blues one day, and funk, soul, or rock the next. It’s a reflection he said of his long career in music.
While he’s not a household name, he is well known and respected in the industry, and some of his songs have appeared in television series such as Degrassi: The Next Generation, Elementary, and Haven.
— Julian Taylor (@jtaylorband) June 4, 2021
Both new and experienced artists were celebrated for their excellence and took home some of JUNO weekend’s most prized awards.
In addition to Julian Taylor, there were many other notable artists recognized.
llowing his three major wins announced Friday night at the 2021 JUNO opening night awards, The Weeknd also won artist of the year and album of the year, taking home an total of five JUNO Awards this year. This brings his overall total to 15 JUNOs, making The Weeknd the sixth most awarded artist in JUNO history.
Global superstar Justin Bieber walked away with the award for pop album of the year for his record-breaking album Changes and graced viewers with a knockout performance of his hit, Somebody.
Shawn Mendes took home the coveted JUNO fan choice. For the first time this year, Canadians were given the option to vote on TikTok as the official voting platform. This marks the third time Mendes has won JUNO fan choice, bringing his total JUNO count to an impressive 11 awards.
One of Canada’s most buzzworthy talents, R&B singer Savannah Ré, took home traditional R&B/soul recording of the year, Canada’s Black Music Business Collective for her single, Solid, and emerging soulful singer-songwriter JP Saxe was awarded breakthrough artist of the year. Saxe also performed his song, Like That, and was then joined by multi-platinum recording artist and songwriter Julia Michaels with a beautiful performance of the hit song, If The World Was Ending.
Complete list of JUNO Award winners online.
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