A few Edmontonians became first-time Juno award winners on Monday night.
Celeigh Cardinal received her first Juno nod and win this year, in the category of Indigenous Artist or Group of the Year for Stories from a Downtown Apartment.
“It’s such a huge amount of validation all at once. Getting the award is pretty mind blowing — it’s something that I’ve actually always dreamed of,” Cardinal said.
“I was thinking about what is special about this album, and it is because it’s so raw, it’s so authentic. That’s how I want to live, that’s how I want to be. The fact that it came across, that’s what I’m aiming for. It makes me feel like I’m on the right path.”
The COVID-19 pandemic meant the Junos were held virtually this year, but Cardinal said that made the moment even more intimate.
“I was actually thinking of how nice it was to be at home, surrounded by my family and my closest friends,” she said. “If I was at the awards ceremony, I would not have been able to share that moment with them. It was really beautiful.”
Cardinal said before the win was revealed, the room was completely silent before her group burst into screams.
“We screamed so much we scared our dogs,” Cardinal laughed. “It was just so overwhelming. I have a beautiful community around me.”
Cardinal, who has had a grassroots career for the past couple of decades, said it feels good to have her hard work pay off.
“I’ve never had label representation, I only got management within the last couple of years. It’s always been me travelling around and playing shows and gaining fan by fan,” said Cardinal. “There’s a lot of people who are truly invested in what I do and been around for a really long time, because I’ve been doing this for a really long time.”
Another big Edmonton win was the award for Metal/Hard Music Album of the Year, which went to Striker for the album Play to Win.
Striker’s lead singer Dan Cleary said after a few different award nominations in the past, the band gathered together for Monday night’s award show.
“The band was jumping around when we won. It was pretty cool,” Cleary said. “We are so happy to represent Edmonton across Canada.”
Cleary said old friends have been reaching out and sharing their excitement for the big win, and the band is already getting some rockstar perks.
“We’ve already had a couple people ask if we’d like some complimentary beers, so that’s pretty sick,” he laughed.