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Polaris Prize Long List Announced

Monday June 15th, marked the beginning of the best time of the year for Canadian music fans. The long awaited Polaris Music Prize long list was released to the public. In past years the organization would host a live event to announce the nominees, but this year due to COVID-19 and people being mostly quarantined they decided to do something different. New Executive Director Claire Dagenais, who took over from Steve Jordan who stepped down after last year’s gala, introduced the new format on YouTube before a series of forty Canadian artists, who have previously been nominated for the Polaris Music Prize, including PUP, Partner, Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Milk & Bone and last year’s winner Haviah Mighty, announced one album each.

Today begins a process that will take until September 21st to unveil the ultimate winner. Almost two hundred jurors consisting of members of the media and music industry made their picks to receive a long list nomination. Of these forty albums, the jurors will then whittle them down to a short list consisting of ten albums to be revealed in one month, on July 15th. From there a panel of eleven judges will be tasked with picking the winner live during the September 21st gala (assuming a gala occurs) in a locked room while the nominees perform, before the winner is announced after deliberations.

Past winners include Toronto rapper Haviah Mighty for 13th Floor, folk singer Feist for Metals, indie superstars Arcade Fire for The Suburbs and punk group Fucked Up for The Chemistry of Common Life. The winner gets $50,000 and each of the other nine nominees get $3,000 all courtesy of Slaight Music.

This year’s long listed group has some familiar names, plenty of newcomers and a lot more diversity than years past. Previous winners Lido Pimienta for Miss Colombia, Kaytranda for BUBBA, Louis-Jean Cormier (lead singer of past winner Karkwa) for Quand la nuit tombe, Caribou for Suddenly and Owen Pallett (who won under the name Final Fantasy) for Island all made the list.

Other artists who have found themselves on previous short lists include Daniel Caesar for CASE STUDY 01, Sarah Harmer for Are You Gone, Joel Plaskett for 44, Jessie Reyez for Before Love Came to Kill Us, Andy Shauf for The Neon Skyline, U.S. Girls for Heavy Light, Leif Vollebekk for New Ways and The Weeknd for After Hours.

Other high profile names that made the cut include Allie X for Cape God, Badge Époque Ensemble for Badge Époque Ensemble, Begonia for Fear, dvsn for A Muse in Her Feelings and Riit for ataataga. There are plenty of artists that are new to me and I’m plenty excited to dive deeper into these releases.

The Soundtrack will have lots of Polaris Music Prize coverage including thoughts on the final ten nominees and a full review from this year’s gala announcement in the fall. We will also be putting together a mock jury to award to pick our own winner of the final shortlisted nominees.

Here are all of the long listed artists and albums:

Allie X - Cape God

Anachnid - Dreamweaver

Aquakultre - Legacy

Marie-Pierre Arthur - Des feux pour voir

Backxwash - God Has Nothing to Do with This Leave Him Out Of It

Badge Époque Ensemble - Badge Époque Ensemble

Begonia - Fear

P'tit Belliveau - Greatest Hits Vol. 1

Caribou - Suddenly

Daniel Caesar - CASE STUDY 01

Chocolat - Jazz engagé

Louis-Jean Cormier - Quand la nuit tombe

Corridor - Junior

dvsn - A Muse in Her Feelings

Jacques Greene - Dawn Chorus

Sarah Harmer - Are You Gone

Ice Cream - FED UP

Junia-T - Studio Monk

Kaytranada - BUBBA

Flore Laurentienne - Volume 1

Cindy Lee - What's Tonight to Eternity?

Men I Trust - Oncle Jazz

nêhiyawak - nipiy

OBUXUM - Re-Birth

Owen Pallett - Island

Pantayo - Pantayo

Lido Pimienta - Miss Colombia

Joel Plaskett - 44

William Prince - Reliever

Jessie Reyez - Before Love Came to Kill Us

Riit - ataataga

Andy Shauf - The Neon Skyline

Super Duty Tough Work - Studies in Grey

U.S. Girls - Heavy Light

Leif Vollebekk - New Ways

Wares - Survival

The Weeknd - After Hours

WHOOP-Szo - Warrior Down

Witch Prophet - DNA Activation

Zen Bamboo - GLU


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