From Anne Murray to Maestro Fresh Wes, the 2024 Junos Proved a Generational Affair

Anne Murray

Anne Murray, 78, takes the stage to present the award for Group of the Year at the Juno Awards in Halifax on March 24, 2024. Photo: Darren Calabrese

The opening of the Juno Awards broadcast from Halifax Sunday night (March 24) featured three generations of Canadian female music talent connecting onstage Anne Murray, Nelly Furtado and the four members of the band The Beaches.

In a surprise appearance, Murray, 78, who retired in 2008 – and has not released an album since 2007’s Duets: Friends & Legends, for which Furtado joined her on Daydream Believer – opened the awards right after Furtado performed. 

“The first person to join the party tonight, of course it has to be her. I have a special place in my heart for her. She holds the record for the most Juno wins of any artist ever — the pride of Springhill, Nova Scotia, please welcome Anne Murray,” said Furtado, 45, during the introduction.

Murray has won 25 Junos, two of which were at the first one in 1975.

She told the sold-out crowd at Scotiabank Centre that she has worked with Furtado a few times, referencing the last time, when she “was kind enough to sing with me” on the Duets album. 

“She’s one very talented lady,” Murray said. “Some of you may be too young to know anything about me. Or maybe not. But, I attended the very first Juno Awards celebrations way back when, even before Nelly and many of you were born. And it was basically a great big party.”

After reminiscing a little longer about the inaugural award show for about 250 people, and how “many people got hammered,” she announced the first award of the night, for group of the year, which went to the Beaches, whose four members are well in their 20s. They each gave Murray a hug.


Juno Awards
Three generations of Canadian female music artists took the stage at this year’s Junos, in Halifax. From left: Anne Murray, Group of the Year winners The Beaches and, inset, Nelly Furtado. Photos: Getty Images


“Thank you to Anne Murray. What a legend. Everybody!,” said guitarist Kylie Miller, motioning for applause. 

That, however, wasn’t the only moment of generational reverence on the show. 

Kardinal Offishall, 47, inducted Maestro Fresh Wes into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame – the first hip hop artist to receive the honour – and performed a poetic rap intro for him. Maestro, whose real name is Wes Williams, turns 56 on March 31. 

“I first met Wes Williams as a young boy, merely 13 years old,” Offishall said, noting the age gap at that time made a big difference.  “He could have refused to communicate and offer a cold shoulder, a shoulder cold. Instead with confidence and an aura built on principle, he shared wisdom and jewels that allowed me to build a career invincible.”

Juno Awards
Kardinal Offishall presents Maestro Fresh Wes with his induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame at the Junos on Sunday night. Inset: Maestro during his acceptance speech, with the Hall of Fame award. Photos: Canadian Press


During Williams’ thank you speech, he recalled the 1991 Juno Awards at which he was the winner of the inaugural rap recording award for his 1989 debut album, Symphony in Effect — 33 years ago. On that night, another Canadian music legend received induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

“I wrote my first rhyme in 1979. I never thought that in 1991 I’d receive the very first Juno Award for rap music. At that moment, I felt great,” he said. 

At that same time, songwriting icon Leonard Cohen received his Hall of Fame award. And I was instantly humbled.  Who would’ve thought in 2024 that I’d be standing here on stage, holding the exact same award?