What You Need To Know About Canadians At The Grammys

Sunday could be a big night for Drake, who is up for seven Grammy Awards including Album of the Year (Scorpion) and Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Rap Song (“God’s Plan”).

A pair of Canadians will be making their Grammys debuts as nominees: Shawn Mendes and songwriting partner Geoff Warburton are both up for Song of the Year (“In My Blood”), along with co-writers Scott Harris and Teddy Geiger. Mendes is also nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album.

If Mendes and Warburton (or Drake and co-writers Boi-1da and Noah Shebib) win Song of the Year, they will become the first Canadians ever to win the category. And, if 20-year-old Mendes wins, he will replace Justin Bieber as the youngest Canadian to take home a Grammy. The Biebs was almost 22 when he won Best Dance Recording in 2016 for his Jack Ü collaboration, “Where Are Ü Now.”

Geoff Warburton | Getty Images

On Sunday, Mendes will be the third-youngest Canadian artist ever to perform at the Grammys, behind Bieber (who was a few weeks shy of his 18th birthday when he performed “Baby” in 2011) and Avril Lavigne (who was 18 when she performed “Sk8er Boi” in 2003).

MORE: See The Grammy Nominations

Other Canadian nominees for Grammys this year include Boi-1da (with six noms), Noah “40” Shebib (four noms), and Diana Krall (with two).

Canadians with single nominations are: Chromeo, Daniel Caesar, James Ehnes, Les Violons Du Roy, Marc-André Hamelin, Philip Shaw Bova, Rob Bowman, Roy Henry Vickers, Yiddish Glory, and Young Spirit.

So, how much do you know about Canadians at the Grammys? Here are some fun facts about how some of our homegrown artists have fared on music’s biggest night.

TOP CANADIAN WINNERS

Canada’s biggest Grammy winners work mostly behind the scenes.

Victoria native David Foster has collected 16 Grammys from 45 nominations as an arranger and producer for artists like Whitney Houston, Natalie Cole and his fellow Canadians Céline Dion and Michael Bublé.

Foster has also received three Grammy nominations – in instrumental categories – as a performer. He is third, behind Quincy Jones and Paul McCartney, for having Grammy nominations in the most fields.

David Foster | Getty Images

Șerban Ghenea has won 14 Grammys in his career as a mixing engineer, which includes work on Album of the Year winners like Taylor Swift’s 1989 and Adele’s 25 and Record of the Year winner “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars.

Ghenea was born in Romania but came to Montreal with his family at age six. He went on to study music at Concordia University and then sound recording at McGill.

When it comes to Grammy-winning Canadian artists, females dominate: Joni Mitchell has eight, Alanis Morissette has seven, and Shania Twain, Céline Dion and Diana Krall each have five.

CANADIANS IN TOP CATEGORIES

No Canadian has ever won Song of the Year, which is awarded to the songwriter(s).

Record of the Year, presented to the artist, producer(s), engineer(s) and mixer(s), has gone to David Foster in 1992 and 1994; Céline Dion in 1995; Daniel Lanois in 2001 and 2002; and Șerban Ghenea and Charles Moniz in 2016 and 2018.

Album of the Year has been awarded to only three releases by Canadian acts: Alanis Morissette in 1996 (Jagged Little Pill), Céline Dion in 1997 (Falling Into You) and Arcade Fire in 2011 (The Suburbs).

Morissette remains the second-youngest solo artist (behind Taylor Swift) to win Album of the Year. The Ottawa singer was not yet 22 when she won.

The award also went to Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen in 2008 for their involvement on Herbie Hancock’s River: The Joni Letters. David Foster, Șerban Ghenea, Daniel Lanois and Charles Moniz have won Album of the Year for their work behind the scenes.

BEST NEW ARTIST

Fifteen Canadian acts have been nominated for Best New Artist at the Grammys – but only two have taken home the trophy.

The first was Robert Goulet in 1963. Although born in the U.S., his parents were French-Canadian and he grew up in Alberta and started his career in Toronto.

Alessia Cara | Getty Images

Alessia Cara of Brampton, Ont. was crowned Best New Artist in 2018. (This year, she will be on the Grammys stage as a presenter.)

At two Grammy ceremonies, a pair of Canadians were nominated for the award. Alanis Morissette and Shania Twain lost to Hootie & the Blowfish in 1996; and Justin Bieber and Drake lost to Esperanza Spalding in 2011.

The other Canadian nominees were: Anne Murray (lost in 1971 to The Carpenters); Dan Aykroyd’s Blues Brothers (lost in 1980 to Rickie Lee Jones); Men Without Hats (lost in 1984 to Culture Club); Corey Hart (lost in 1985 to Cyndi Lauper); Glass Tiger (lost in 1987 to Bruce Hornsby and the Range); Crash Test Dummies (lost to Sheryl Crowe in 1995); Nelly Furtado (lost to Alicia Keys in 2002); Avril Lavigne (lost to Norah Jones in 2003); and Feist (lost to Amy Winehouse in 2008).

BIGGEST LOSERS

Some Canadian nominees have had to remind themselves that it's an honour just to be nominated. 

Singer Avril Lavigne, producer Boi-1da (aka Toronto’s Matthew Samuels) and group Northern Cree have each earned eight nominations but have never won. Boi-1da has another six nominations this year, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year (for “God’s Plan”) and Producer of the Year.

Nickelback has never won despite five nominations. Others who didn’t collect a Grammy include Feist (four noms), Alex Cuba (three noms), Daniel Caesar (two noms), and Carly Rae Jepsen (two noms).

Neil Young has only a pair of Grammy wins from 27 nominations; Sarah McLachlan won three of 14; and Drake has managed to collect only three Grammys despite 35 nominations. (He’s up for seven more this year.)

Justin Bieber and Noah “40” Shebib have each taken home only one Grammy despite 10 nominations apiece (Shebib is up for four awards this year).

Other single-Grammy winners from Canada include Bryan Adams (15 noms); Nelly Furtado (7 noms); and Arcade Fire (9 noms). 

HONOURARY AWARD WINNERS

Five Canadian acts have been honoured with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

The award went to pianists Oscar Peterson in 1997 and Glenn Gould in 2013; singers-songwriters Joni Mitchell in 2002 and Leonard Cohen 2010; and to The Band in 2008.

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