TORONTO – Looks like the Juno Awards knew Carly Rae Jepsen’s number.
The British Columbia-raised singer — whose monster single “Call Me Maybe” took the world by storm in 2012 — landed a leading five nominations on Tuesday, prompting a flood of kudos and even spontaneous singing from fellow nominees gathered at a media conference.
“It’s catchy. It’s in my blood,” Maestro Fresh Wes, a nominee for rap recording of the year, said as he burst into the chorus of “Call Me Maybe” in a red-carpet interview.
“You can’t help it, man. It’s cool, man, it’s cool, and I wish her all the best. It’s a lot of hard work. People just see the final product, they don’t see the blood, sweat and tears that was put into making that project come into fruition, so all the best to her.”
Jepsen was nominated for two prizes at the recent Grammy Awards but went home empty-handed.
At the Junos, she’ll vie for the fan choice award, single of the year, album of the year, artist of the year, and pop album of the year.
“It’s a great pop song — let’s not mess around,” said Erik Arnesen, banjo/guitar player for the Great Lake Swimmers, who are nominated for roots and traditional group album of the year.
“It’s a shame she wasn’t able to get the Grammys so here’s hoping she gets some recognition in her own country.”
“I was a little disappointed she didn’t get a Grammy,” added Ottawa teen country singer Kira Isabella, who’s nominated for breakthrough artist of the year.
“I hope she wins big this time. I’m really proud of her. She’s had an amazing year.
“(‘Call Me Maybe’) has to win song of the year! People that say they’re sick of it — it just grew on me even more.”
Jepsen’s biggest competition is Stratford, Ont.-bred teen phenom Justin Bieber, who is next in line with four nominations: fan choice, best album, best artist and pop album.
Others contenders for artist of the year include electronic producer Deadmau5 (nee Joel Zimmerman), country music charmer Johnny Reid, and legendary troubadour Leonard Cohen, who received two other nominations — fan choice and songwriter of the year.
Meanwhile, Cohen’s son, Adam, is up for the inaugural adult contemporary album of the year. That category also includes The Tenors and pop superstar Celine Dion, who is also nominated for fan choice and album of the year.
Other triple Juno nominees include rockers Billy Talent, Hedley, Metric, Marianas Trench, and the Sheepdogs, who tied with Feist as the leading winners of last year’s Junos in Ottawa with three trophies apiece.
The Sheepdogs and Billy Talent will face off for rock album of the year, a category that also includes Big Wreck, Rush, and the Tragically Hip.
Jepsen is also scheduled to sing at the Junos, which will be held in Regina on April 21.
“Regina’s been a regular stop for us on tour for many, many years, so we’re looking forward to the party on the Prairies,” said Tony Dekker, founding member of the Great Lake Swimmers.
Eleven-time Juno winner Michael Buble, who is nominated this year for the fan choice award, will host the show and perform.
“I’m so excited! I’m such a big fan,” Isabella said of Buble. “Hopefully I’ll get to meet him, too. I’ll be a little starstruck but it’ll be great.”
“He is a great choice for a host,” added Toronto-based Emilie-Claire Barlow, who’s nominated for vocal jazz album of the year.
“I just think he’s got such star power, he’s so natural, he’s so funny, not bad to look at, so that’ll be great.”
Other acts slated to perform at the show include Billy Talent and Marianas Trench.
Eight-time Juno winner k.d. lang will be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame at the gala.
“Call Me Maybe” has achieved worldwide success, topping charts in Canada, the U.S., New Zealand, Austria, France, Ireland, Denmark, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. It occupied the top spot in the U.S. for nine straight weeks.
“It’s so big that you forget that she’s Canadian, because we’re like that in Canada — we’re not terribly stardusted people, culturally,” said Newfoundland artist Amelia Curran, a Juno nominee for roots and traditional solo album of the year.
Still, there were at least two Juno nominees who hadn’t heard of the tune prior to Tuesday’s media conference.
“That’s the funniest part of our day today, because we’ve never heard about Carly Rae Jepsen and we feel like aliens,” Louis-Jean Cormier, lead singer of Karkwa, said alongside fellow Montrealer Marie-Pierre Arthur. Both are up for Francophone album of the year.
“We live far from here,” added Cormier, who’s nominated for his solo effort.
“I think she’s maybe the most famous artist of North America now, I feel like it, but we don’t know her. You can laugh.”
The Junos will air live on CTV from Regina’s Brandt Centre.
On the web: http://www.junoawards.ca/