Kitchener's JJ Wilde becomes first woman to win Juno Award for Rock Album of the Year in 25 years
KITCHENER -- Kitchener’s own JJ Wilde took home a Juno Award for Rock Album of the Year this weekend, becoming the first woman to win the category in 25 years.
Her debut album Ruthless took home the honour.
“I was just telling myself, 'OK don’t cry,'” Wilde said.
The last time a woman won Rock Album of Year was Alanis Morissette for Jagged Little Pill in 1996.
“When she came out with that album it was dangerous. Nobody has ever heard about a woman singing like that probably since Joni Mitchell’s Blue,” said Canadian Music Correspondent Eric Alper.
Wilde said Morissette was a huge inspiration to her.
“Walking in those footsteps is pretty unreal. I feel extremely lucky and grateful. And I think it says a lot for the music industry and how it’s turning and putting women to the front,” said Wilde.
Wilde also broke records last year by becoming the first woman to hit number one on all three rock charts in Canada for her single ‘The Rush’.
Alper called her an inspiration for the next generation.
“Her win is going to make teenage girls and young women say that it’s OK to rock out,” Alper said.
Wilde hopes to inspire others. She said it warms her heart to hear from her female fans and tries to give them advice when they reach out.
“Not compromising yourself for anybody or anything. And you know being true to yourself,” she said.
Wilde was born and raised in Kitchener, often working and performing at Maxwell’s, a music venue in Waterloo.
Wilde also broke records back then. In 2015 she performed with her former band the Royal Streets to a nearly sold-out crowd. That performance still stands as the biggest crowd for an independent band in Maxwell’s history.
“Something about it back then, hearing her raspy beautiful voice," said Paul Maxwell, president of Maxwell's Concerts & Events
Maxwell said he met Wilde 10 years ago.
“He put me on coat check for the first night to kind of test it out,” laughed Wilde.
Those who know the rocker say through all the success she's remained humble.
“She’s always so bubbly and outgoing and genuine. What you see is what you get with Jill,” said Maxwell.
JJ Wilde is expected to be back on tour this year.
The full list of Juno Award winners can be found here.