These Category-Defying Juno Nominees Are Ones to Watch
The Juno Awards of 2019, honouring Canadian musical achievements, take place in London, Ontario, March 16-17. Among the stellar Canadian talent being considered for awards are Breakthrough Group of the Year and Fan Choice nominees the electronic-pop duo Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine, and Breakthrough Artist of the Year nominee Johnny Orlando.
Elijah Woods is an instrumentalist and composer while Jamie Fine is a lyricist and singer. Winner of the Best Canadian Artist award in last year’s iHeartRadio MMVAs, the Ottawa-based pair combines Elijah’s evocative grooves with Jamie’s remarkable, Adele-esque yet totally unique voice. They broke out in a big way last year with their platinum single “Ain’t Easy”, from the first season of CTV’s “The Launch” (which they won). Their brand new single “You” released on February 15.
At just 16 years of age, Johnny Orlando (who was also nominated in last year’s Best Canadian Artist MMVA category) already has a massive fan following, chart-topping singles like “What If”, which rocketed to #1 within 24 hours of its release, and a headlining North American tour this spring. His debut EP “Teenage Fever” launches March 15. Not bad for someone who started out posting Justin Bieber covers on YouTube when he was eight years old!
We spoke with both of these up-and-coming acts about the Canadian music scene and what their Juno nominations mean to them.
Parvati Magazine: These are your first Juno nominations! Has anything changed for you as a result?
Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine: Being nominated for a Juno was definitely a pleasant surprise for both of us! The MMVA’s were one thing—a huge thing, no doubt—but the Junos are awards we grew up watching as the “Canadian Grammys”, so to speak. Everyone has been incredibly excited and supportive, and it has created this new high for us, for sure. We try to stay as grounded as possible, so not much has changed; we still focus our time and energy on creating new music and evolving our brand.
Johnny Orlando: The last year has really been a game changer for me. I signed my first major label deal with Universal Music Canada and Island Records last spring (May 2018), which has opened up a lot of doors for me. Over the last ten months, we put out my two most successful singles while working on my debut EP which is about to drop! Also, the fact that I am nominated for a Juno Award is insane and I’m so grateful for everyone who has worked so hard this last year to help me get here.
Parvati Magazine: What do you think the Junos have done for the Canadian music scene?
Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine: The Junos are a HUGE part of the Canadian music scene. Musicians, artists and even people outside of the industry grew up watching this award show, seeing how much talent comes out of Canada.
Johnny Orlando: I think the Juno Awards have really highlighted the amazing talent that Canada has. It’s awesome that so many artists at the top of the game are Canadian and being recognized worldwide, but I also think it’s important to recognize these artists and the many talented Canadians working across the country here at home.
Parvati Magazine: What was the biggest learning experience for you in creating your recent breakthrough singles?
Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine: The biggest learning experience creating singles for us was probably that no one knows what a “hit” is anymore. There are so many different styles and influences in music now. That’s why we focus on creating music we love rather than what we think will sit well on the radio or on streaming services; it’s constantly evolving.
Johnny Orlando: This past year was really the first time I was super involved in creating all of my music from start to finish. I learned so much about writing and producing, but also just how much of a passion I have for the creative process. It takes a lot of dedication and time to create the best music possible but I love every minute of it.
Parvati Magazine:Why do you think your music has resonated so strongly with the Canadian audience?
Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine:It might seem a little backward, but we think our music has resonated so well with the Canadian audience because it has an international sound. One of our main goals, when we started this, was to create a sound that nobody could pinpoint. We wanted people to not be able to place us in a specific category, whether that be a genre of music or where we came from, because we don’t put ourselves in a category. From the messages and support we’ve received, we think Canada is proud and excited to have a sound that resonates internationally, not just nationally.
Johnny Orlando: If there is anything that I have learned while working in the industry is just how supportive Canadians are of each other. All of the Canadian producers, writers, media, and fans that I have met throughout my experience have been so incredible. I think the Canadian audience just really appreciates the home-grown talent. We’ve got to stick together!
Parvati Magazine: What other nominated artists are you huge fans of?
Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine: We are huge supporters of every nominee in both of our categories! We are avid listeners of a number of them, obviously including Shawn Mendes, Alessia Cara, etc. What they’ve been able to accomplish on an international scale is something we strive towards.
Johnny Orlando: I get a lot of inspiration from Shawn Mendes. He had a very similar start as I did which is very motivating for me to work as hard as I can to achieve his level of success. I also really appreciate his musical talents and the way he carries himself so humbly, even after achieving so much. Hopefully one day I can be nominated for as many Junos as he is!
Parvati Magazine: What’s the one thing you think most people don’t know about you?
Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine: Most people don’t know that we’re obsessed with Pad Thai. Every city we’re in, the first thing we look for is a good Pad Thai!
Johnny Orlando: Most people think that I’m home schooled or do online school but I actually go to a pretty regular high school. It’s definitely hard to balance high school with a music career, but I try to keep as normal a life as possible. I just have really cool extra-curricular activities, I guess!
Parvati Magazine: What would you like to say to all your Canadian fans?
Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine: We’d love to simply thank our Canadian fans! We are very proud of where we come from and are overwhelmed by the amount of support this country has shown us and our music.
Johnny Orlando: I just want to say thank you! My fans all around the world, but especially in Canada, are so supportive of every single thing I do. I feel so lucky to have them by my side, and I can’t wait for them to hear all the new music. They’ve been waiting for this project for such a long time, and they definitely deserve it!
Parvati Magazine: If you had one piece of advice to give to aspiring musicians who are where you were several years ago, what would it be?
Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine: I think the biggest lesson we’ve learned is the importance of being patient. It’s so important to do things at the right time, with the right people, in the right way. Sometimes it’s easy for artists to get impatient and just want to put music out there, but there really is a smart way of doing it and, unfortunately, that often means having to be patient.
Johnny Orlando: I would tell them just to stick with it and work as hard as possible. There were definitely moments where I felt like giving up because of hate or just not feeling like I was good enough. Just remember why you started in the first place and use that passion to motivate you until you are where you want to be. I still have a long way to go, but hard work and a positive attitude will take you a long way.
Parvati Magazine: What do you love most about the Canadian music scene?
Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine: The diversity in the Canadian music scene is overwhelming. We have so many different cultures creating music that they feel represents them and it’s nothing short of beautiful. The music scene represents exactly what Canada does—it’s diverse and accepting, and we are very proud to be a part of it.
Johnny Orlando: It seems that no matter what genre or musical space, Canadians kill it every single time.
Canadian duo Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine met in Ottawa in 2014 and quickly began producing music independently together. Since then, they have received several breakthrough awards and nominations, created CRIA GOLD-certified sophomore chart-topper “Better Off”, and garnered close to 30 million streams worldwide while capturing an audience everywhere.
Toronto-born Johnny Orlando posted his first YouTube cover at just eight years old, with the help of his older sister. Now 16, he has signed with Universal Music Canada / Island Records, released singles “What If” and “Last Summer” and co-headlines a world tour. His debut EP “Teenage Fever” is out on March 15.