Shawn Mendes, Drake and other Canadian nominees leave Grammys empty-handed

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TORONTO — It was never going to be a banner year for Canadians at the Grammy Awards, since only a handful of homegrown artists were nominated, but this one really stings.

Drake, Shawn Mendes, Jessie Reyez and Alberta’s Indigenous singing group Northern Cree were among the performers left empty-handed on music’s biggest night in Los Angeles.

All of the Canadian contenders, who also included Michael Buble and Daniel Caesar, were competing in categories that were presented during a ceremony before the main television broadcast event hosted by Alicia Keys.

Steve Wood, co-founder of Northern Cree, didn’t win best regional roots music album, which means the group is now zero for nine on the Grammys count. But he’s not sweating another loss for the group, he said, since the Grammys offer an opportunity to shine in other ways. He’s looking forward to showcasing First Nations cultures and fashion on a global scale.

“It’s always a win for us when we represent our people in circles where we’re getting our voice out,” Wood said by phone shortly before stepping onto the Grammys red carpet.

“Our music is alive as well, and some day maybe we’ll get to that point of having it recognized on that stage,” he added.

Despite the losses, Canadians were representing in full-force on the red carpet before the main event.

YouTuber turned late-night host Lily Singh was spotted handing out candies from her purse to onlookers, while masked indie-country singer Orville Peck dazzled in a white cowboy gear alongside chart-topping music producer Diplo, who was dressed similarly, but all in black.

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David Friend, The Canadian Press