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The Juno Awards

The Juno Awards-an event considered to be Canada's most prestigious affair honouring the music industry has nominated reggae sensation, Lyndon John for the third time in eight years.

An approximate 20-minute drive north from Seaforth up Highway 12 in the small rural town of Brussels, John resides with his wife and three children. On a cold winter day, from the outside of his snow covered, 140-year-old home, which is now transformed into a more modern dwelling. This is where the music happens. As you enter through the side door and walk towards the downstairs to his lair in the basement, you will find enough instruments to conduct a live concert. The room is neatly assembled with various guitars, keyboards, microphones as well as numerous pictures of the pioneer of reggae-Bob Marley encompassing the walls.

“I have been listening to reggae since I was yay-high, since I was four or five-years-old, my dad had (numerous) records,” explained John, 39, sitting comfortably in his computer chair. 

He has similar features to his idol including a thin build and dread-locks down to his shoulders. John can definitely pass for a Canadian version of Marley. He could easily fool most as a Jamaican male, although that's not the case for the originally born and raised Toronto man whose parents came to Canada in the 70’s from Grenada. Furthermore, from the fluency of his spoken English, it's hard to comprehend his stronghold in the music genre that sprung from the streets of Jamaica more than half a century ago.  As proof of his position in this discipline of music, John's has already been awarded with three Juno nomination plaques, an achievement that still feels surreal to him.

“A lady called me up and said you've been nominated for three Canadian Reggae music awards,” recounted John. He replied to the woman, “that's pretty cool, what are those?” John laughed.

“Because I didn’t really know and then she said, you're nominated for a Juno Award as well, and I was like, what? Isn't that the ones they put on TV?”

First being nominated back in 2008, when the awards were held in Calgary, Alb. John entered the prestigious gathering decked out in a full tuxedo. Since this was his first taste of the Juno's, the dress code was not explained to the long-time musician. The national event has welcomed our country's biggest musical entertainers including Justin Bieber, Drake, Barenaked Ladies, Tragically Hip and the list goes on. Knowing those god-like celebrities could be on hand; John sought to make a good impression.

“I wore a suit, the first time, then you get there and you see all the different types of music. You see hip-hop and metal. Everyone's wearing all kinds of far out stuff and I'm like dressed in a penguin suit,” John stated.

“The second time I kind of relaxed it, this time I'm going real relaxed.”

Currently John is a full-time drafter for an engineering consultant, a trade he acquired from the George Brown College in Toronto. Music is his second employment, he records everything independently out of his basement, a spot that he uses for his engineering projects as well. To keep the skill of reggae sharp and showcase to others what he has learned over the decades, John also teaches guitar to ten students from the Huron East area.

“I have to stagger it, I come down here do a quick dub-mix and then play a guitar riff,” John said.

The 45th annual Juno Awards is set to take place in Calgary at the Scotiabank Saddledome on April 3. According to the Juno website the last time Calgary hosted the event, it attracted more than 100,000 people.

“We’re thrilled to bring Canada’s music industry and music fans back to Calgary to showcase the vibrancy of our city, our love for music, arts and performances and our new music venues, including the much anticipated National Music Centre,” as highlighted in the website.

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