Feist says the richness of Leonard Cohen’s life and music drew her towards the assignment of performing a tribute at the Juno Awards.
“The wealth of his work is so deep,” she said on the red carpet before the show. “It came from, I felt, a really rich inner-life.”
The singer, born Leslie Feist, was set to play a “classic song” she hasn’t yet revealed.
In preparation, Feist says she scoured YouTube videos of Cohen’s public speeches to better understand him and translate it into her performance.
“He had what I always felt to be a real potent privacy I admire,” she added.
“I didn’t want a jamboree. To keep it as simple and spare as possible would be suitable.”
Juno co-hosts Bryan Adams and comedian Russell Peters were set to host the show, being staged at Ottawa’s Canadian Tire Centre.
Juno organizers were also keeping the lid on a mystery guest who will close the show.
Awards will be handed out in categories that include best album, group and breakthrough artist of the year. Viewers will also have their say with the Juno Fan Choice award.
The Junos opened with a performance from electronic group A Tribe Called Red, before other big acts such as Alessia Cara, Sarah McLachlan and Shawn Mendes were set to take the stage.
David Friend, The Canadian Press