Feist makes it 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Juno wins
CALGARY – Canadian indie sensation Leslie Feist is counting a little higher than her hit single “1 2 3 4” after raking in five trophies at the Juno Awards following an exceptional year of international accolades and commercial success.
Sunday’s splashy televised bash served as a triumphant homecoming for the Calgary-bred singer, who took the night’s biggest awards, including best single, album and pop album.
“I wrote a whole bunch of stuff down on my arm,” Feist said as she took the stage to accept the first trophy of the night, for best single. “Should I try to chip through it?” she asked, going on to thank a slew of friends and bandmates.
She was called back to the podium roughly 20 minutes later for the pop album trophy, and appeared genuinely stunned by the announcement.
“I’m so, so grateful,” Feist said. “I’m very, very grateful and I meant to say thank you. I forgot to say that before.”
Feist’s triple victory Sunday followed two wins on Saturday for best artist and best songwriter, handed out along with the bulk of awards at a private ceremony. The petite singer jumped in the air and clicked her heels as she took the podium at the industry-only event.
In the end, Feist swept all five categories she was nominated in, while industry veterans Celine Dion, who had six nominations, and Avril Lavigne, who had five, were shut out entirely.
Jazz crooner Michael Buble, nominated for five awards, walked away with the fan choice award.
“This is huge. Of course I’d like to thank you fans. Thank you, Canada,” Buble said. “This is for all those people that said that I couldn’t vote for myself enough times to win.”
The only other multiple winner was country-pop band Blue Rodeo, named group of the year Sunday after the disc “Small Miracles” took top adult alternative album and the single “C’mon” took best video on Saturday.
“This is stunning; we were sitting there with Finger Eleven and Hedley,” said Blue Rodeo frontman Jim Cuddy, referring to the other contenders in the best band category, which also included Arcade Fire and Kain. “I don’t think we really expected to win.”
Halifax quintet Wintersleep was named best new group and Calgary’s Paul Brandt took country recording of the year for his disc “Risk.”
But the night belonged to 32-year-old Feist, a delicate-voiced crooner born in Amherst, N.S., who started out shouting with a Calgary punk band as a teen. She later became known as an indie-rock poster girl with Toronto bands By Divine Right and Broken Social Scene, then as a Parisian ex-pat with sultry jazz leanings that earned her a best new artist Juno in 2005.
But it was an iPod TV commercial – featuring her song “1 2 3 4” and an accompanying video – that catapulted her to mainstream success last year. Record sales soon followed and her eclectic disc “The Reminder” garnered four Grammy nominations in February and a Brit Award nomination for best international female.
Feist, who has managed to achieve a rare combination of mainstream appeal and street cred, boasted Saturday that the pinnacle of her newfound fame has been an appearance on the children’s show “Sesame Street.”
Backstage on Sunday, she noted that for the children’s show, “1 2 3 4” was retooled to be followed by the lyric: “Monsters crawling across the floor.”
“They rewrote the lyrics and it was so cathartic,” explained Feist, who was accompanied to the ceremony by her mother and her father, brother and sister from Toronto.
“I’ve sung that song so many times on TV but never with furry creatures peering up at me and chickens in bikinis. It was everything you’ve ever dreamed of about the Muppets.”
It’s the second year in a row that an artist has swept the Junos with five wins – last year’s “it” girl, Nelly Furtado, achieved the same feat with a series of club-thumping hits and the chart-topping disc “Loose.”
Dion had led the nominees with six nods for her two discs, the francophone “D’elles” and the English-language “Taking Chances,” regarded by many as a comeback of sorts after a successful five-year residency in Las Vegas. Lavigne, meanwhile, had five nods going in for her disc “The Best Damn Thing” and the summer single “Girlfriend.”
Show host Russell Peters opened the bash with a swipe at Alberta superband Nickelback, whose lead singer Chad Kroeger was convicted earlier this week for driving under the influence and lost his licence for a year.
Other targets included Lavigne and an absent Dion.
“Rene, I think, just lost her in a high-stakes poker game,” quipped Russell, referring to Dion’s husband, Rene Angelil.
Performers included Lavigne, Anne Murray, Buble, Hedley and Feist.
Other wins over the weekend included Serena Ryder for best new artist, Finger Eleven for best rock album and Montreal’s Arcade Fire, who took best alternative album for their disc “Neon Bible.” That disc also took the prize for CD/DVD artwork of the year Saturday.
Rihanna’s “Good Girl Gone Bad” was named best international album.
Feist makes it 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Juno wins