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Lanois was born in Hull (now Gatineau) Quebec, Canada. Lanois started his production career when he was 17, recording local artists including Simply Saucer with his brother Bob Lanois in a studio in the basement of their mother's home in Ancaster, Ontario. Later, Lanois started Grant Avenue Studios in an old house he purchased in Hamilton, Ontario. He worked with a number of local bands, including Martha and the Muffins (for whom his sister Jocelyne played bass), Ray Materick, Spoons, and the Canadian children's singer Raffi. Lanois won a Juno Award in 1990 as most promising artist. Lanois has received 11 Grammy Awards for his work as a producer with various artists, including Bob Dylan, U2, Emmylou Harris and Neil Young. In 2005, he was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame. In June 2013, he received a lifetime achievement award at the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards.