Strumbellas Stage a Shoeless Coup at the Junos

Arts Coverage, JUNO Awards

Strumbellas singer Simon Ward was so assured of defeat that he took of his shoes during the Junos Gala Dinner and Awards on Saturday.

“My wife said, ‘You should put on your shoes,’” recounted a sock-footed Ward at the post-awards press scrum. “[But I said] ‘We’re not gonna win, it’s all good.’”

After all, the folk-pop group was pitted against hip-hop heavyweights Drake and the Weeknd, as well as rising stars Shawn Mendes and Alessia Cara, for Single of the Year at the 2017 Junos.

Imagine their surprise when their infectious ditty “Spirits” took home the trophy, which was awarded at the pre-broadcast gala on April 1.

“My chair fell back,” Ward said.

Nonetheless, the band has high hopes following their unexpected victory.

“What we’ve heard is that, if you beat Drake, you become Drake,” quipped keyboardist and vocalist David Ritter.

The Strumbellas, consisting of Ward, Ritter, Jon Hembrey, Izzy Ritchie, Darryl James and Jeremy Drury, feel their uniqueness helps set them apart.

“We sort of embrace our quirkiness and our weirdness, and it seems like other people are starting to embrace that too.”

The 2017 Juno Awards, honouring the best in Canadian music, were held on Sunday, April 2 at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa.

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