Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau made a surprise appearance at the Juno Awards on Sunday (Apr. 2) evening. The couple introduced a touching tribute performance for Canadian music legend Leonard Cohen. The PM sang his praises for the late musician, whom he called “one of the greatest artists Canada has ever produced.”
Justin even recalled the comical exchange he had with the Montreal singer-songwriter at his father Pierre Trudeau’s funeral in October 2000. “I remember a gathering [we had] the night before the funeral. That was the night I learned Leonard — a great man — but not a big hugger.”
Sophie further explained that Leonard’s lyrics “spoke to our minds, bodies, and spirits,” adding that people saw parts of themselves in his music. “We recognized ourselves in what he wrote,” Sophie stated. Her husband ended the speech, exclaiming that Leonard will never be forgotten. “He will always be with us.”
Following the couple’s moving speech, Toronto’s very own Feist took to the stage to perform a chilling rendition of Leonard’s hit song “Hey That’s No way to Say Goodbye” while a slideshow of black and white photos of the musician played in the background.
Leonard won two of the awards show’s biggest accolades - Album of the Year for You Want It Darker and Artist of The Year. The singer’s son Adam Cohen accepted the latter trophy at the Juno Gala Dinner on Saturday (Apr. 1).Adam told the audience that his father would have been very grateful to receive the honour. “He would be incredibly happy to have this Juno.”
The soulful singer passed away in his sleep at the age of 82 last November. His manager, Robert Koy revealed in a statement last year how truly gifted the artist was. "Unmatched in his creativity, insight and crippling candour, Leonard Cohen was a true visionary whose voice will be sorely missed.”