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Justin Bieber’s hit ‘Peaches’ helps pop star lead crop of Canadian Grammy nominees

Bieber’s 8 nominations topped an eclectic group that included Drake and the Weeknd
Justin Bieber is leading the Canadian nominees at the Grammy Awards with a little help from his megahit “Peaches.” Bieber attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute benefit gala in New York on September 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Invision - Evan Agostini

Fuelled by his megahit “Peaches,” Justin Bieber leads an eclectic crop of Canadian Grammy contenders with eight nominations announced Tuesday, as the Weeknd nabbed an unexpected three nods less than a year after swearing off music’s biggest night.

Following closely behind was Drake who rounded out the trio of homegrown hitmakers with a presence in two categories — “Certified Lover Boy” is up for best rap album while his track with Future, “Way 2 Sexy,” is vying for best rap performance.

Many of Bieber’s nominations came thanks to his fruit-themed single, which features Toronto-raised R&B singer Daniel Caesar who joins him in the running. “Peaches” earned recognition in the categories of record of the year, song of the year, best R&B performance and best music video.

The Stratford, Ont.-raised singer also snagged a spot among the album of the year contenders and a best pop vocal album nomination for “Justice.” His song “Anyone” earned a pop solo performance nomination while “Lonely” with Benny Blanco landed in the best pop duo or group performance category.

The Weeknd swooped in with three nominations after saying last year he planned to boycott the Grammys following an across-the-board snub for his single “Blinding Lights” and the album “After Hours.”

None of his solo work received Grammy attention this year, but his appearances on other artists’ tracks did. He was named alongside Lil Baby on Kanye West’s “Hurricane,” which is up for best melodic rap performance, and for his vocal contributions to Doja Cat’s deluxe edition “Planet Her” and West’s “Donda,” both up for album of the year.

The marquee album category saw many other familiar Canadian names among the contenders.

Toronto producer Boi-1Da, born Matthew Samuels, earned a spot for his role on West’s “Donda,” while Montreal’s Kaytranda is in the running as producer and writer on the song “Intimidated,” part of H.E.R.’s “Back of My Mind.”

Bruno Mars’ longtime recording engineer Charles Moniz was tipped for his work on the side project Silk Sonic. The Burlington, Ont.-raised Moniz contributed to the hit single “Leave the Door Open,” which is up for record of the year.

Joining Bieber’s “Peaches” in the best music video category is Olivia Rodrigo’s “Good 4 U,” directed by Toronto filmmaker Petra Collins.

Meanwhile, Alex Cuba was still coming off the thrill of seeing his album “Mendó” compete at the Latin Grammys last week when he learned it was headed to the main event. The Afro-Cuban’s latest release, which he said loosely translates to the “substance of the soul,” is nominated for best Latin pop album.

“For the first time, I recorded the entire album myself at home,” he said of a project largely made during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It blows my mind to think all of this is right from my living room here in Smithers, B.C., of all places. (It’s) a beautiful town that I am very happy to call home.”

Elsewhere, the electronic producer Caribou, born Dan Snaith, was named in the best dance/electronic recording category for his 10th studio album “Suddenly.”

Rupert (Sevn) Thomas, Jr., the Toronto producer best known for his work with Drake and Rihanna, was among the songwriters on Giveon’s “Heartbreak Anniversary,” nominated for best R&B song.

Montreal singer-songwriter and poet Allison Russell pulled in three nominations. Her solo effort “Outside Child” was nominated for best Americana album while she shared two other nods with Jeremy Lindsay for their song “Nightflyer,” which is up for best American roots song and best American roots performance.

Joni Mitchell earned her 16th career nomination with “Joni Mitchell Archives, Vol. 1: The Early Years” in the best historical album category.

Producer Greg Wells of Peterborough, Ont., is nominated along with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Nick Lloyd Weber for best musical theatre album for “Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella.”

As usual, Canadians showed up strongly in the classical categories.

Best classical solo or vocal album saw two Canadian nominees, Ottawa-born composer Nadeem Majdalany for “Mythologies” and Montreal’s Yannick Nézet-Séguin for “Schubert: Winterreise.”

Nézet-Séguin collected three nominations in total this year, the others as a conductor for the Philadelphia Orchestra’s “Price: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3” in best orchestral performance and as a conductor on “Poulenc: Dialogues Des Carmélites” in best opera recording.

Music journalist and historian Kevin Howes, from Richmond Hill, Ont., was nominated in the best album notes category for “Creation Never Sleeps, Creation Never Dies: The Willie Dunn Anthology.”

And while k.d. lang didn’t earn direct recognition from the Grammys, a dance mix of her song “Constant Craving” by Tracy Young grabbed a nod in best remixed recording race.

Quebec director Denis Villeneuve received similar love from a distance when his epic film “Dune” was named among the best score soundtracks for the work of German composer Hans Zimmer.

The 64th Grammy Awards air Jan. 31. on CBS and Citytv.

—David Friend, The Canadian Press