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Canadian singer-songwriter Alessia Cara speaks as she was announced as the new host for the Junos during the 2020 Juno Award nominee press conference in Toronto on Tuesday, January 28, 2020.Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

Alessia Cara emerged the top winner at this year’s Juno Awards, scooping up three trophies in a prerecorded streaming ceremony.

The 23-year-old pop singer’s deeply personal 2018 The Pains of Growing picked up album and pop album of the year, while she also won songwriter for her work on several of its tracks.

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It was an uplifting finish for a Junos year where the Brampton, Ont., native saw her dreams of hosting the awards show dashed. She was originally lined up to helm the televised event in Saskatoon before organizers pulled the plug in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ms. Cara was quick to jump onto Twitter after she came out on top, posting a characteristically humble “um whaaaaaaat” before responding to congratulatory messages from her followers.

The Juno Awards, which were supposed to take place in March, had delayed revealing this year’s winners in hopes of finding a better time to celebrate Canadian music.

Monday’s ceremony took on a sense of social urgency as greater awareness surrounding representation of Black, Indigenous and other artists of colour was addressed throughout.

Halifax alt-pop duo Neon Dreams grabbed the breakthrough group award shortly after a sombre performance of their single We Were Kings. The deeply personal coming-of-age reflection was co-written by lead singer Frank Kadillac about his own experiences rising above high-school bullying and racism.

Indigenous singer Iskwe delivered an outdoor performance of Little Star, a song paying tribute to Colten Boushie, Tina Fontaine and the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, filmed within the Mississaugas Of Scugog Island First Nation territory.

Other highlights included two-time winner Shawn Mendes, who was selected as artist of the year. Senorita, his duet with girlfriend Camila Cabello, won single of the year, making him the first artist to pick up that award for three consecutive years.

Pop singer Avril Lavigne pocketed the fan choice award, which is voted on by viewers, for the second year in a row, and the third time in her career.

This year’s leading nominee was Ms. Cara, who had six nods in categories that include pop album, artist of the year and single of the year. Rapper Tory Lanez trailed closely behind Ms. Cara with five nominations, while pianist Alexandra Streliski, Bryan Adams, Bulow, Nav, Loud Luxury and Mr. Mendes, had three each.

Junos organizers decided to combine two nights of industry accolades into one truncated show that ran about 90 minutes.

2020 Juno Award winners from the streaming ceremony

  • Album of the Year: The Pains of Growing, Alessia Cara
  • Single of the Year: Senorita, Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello
  • Artist of the Year: Shawn Mendes
  • Group of the Year: Loud Luxury
  • Fan Choice: Avril Lavigne
  • Pop Album of the Year: The Pains of Growing, Alessia Cara
  • Breakthrough Artist of the Year: Lennon Stella
  • Breakthrough Group of the Year: Neon Dreams
  • Indigenous Artist or Group of the Year: Stories from a Downtown Apartment, Celeigh Cardinal
  • Rap Recording of the Year: Freaky, Tory Lanez
  • Country Album of the Year: Wild As Me, Meghan Patrick
  • R&B/Soul Recording of the Year: Feel It Too, Jessie Reyez, Tory Lanez & Tainy
  • Rock Album of the Year: A War on Everything, The Glorious Sons

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