The Polaris Music Prize has established itself as a credible and prestigious award in the Canadian music scene over the past few years. Founded by a former A&R Executive at a major record label, the Board at Polaris is made up of 7 respectable figures from various facets of the music industry (think journalists, PR, musicians, record labels and business execs), who pick the 200 jury members to vote on the Canadian album of the year.
The end of summer for me is often marked by the first announcement of the long list of nominees, followed shortly thereafter by the short list of nominees announced as contenders for the (arguably) coveted Polaris Music Prize. The prize is $30,000, which to some past winners (think Arcade Fire winning for The Suburbs in 2011) has been a gaffe of sorts, but for bands such as Karkwa and Fucked Up (winning in 2009 and 2010, respectively) this prize can bring them both funding for follow-up recordings and exposure to a mainstream audience.
Last night the Polaris Music Prize’s Gala Event took place at Toronto’s Masonic Temple. The twittersphere was on fire as those lucky enough to be invited to the event described the beauty of the performances by this year’s nominees. Listening in to the broadcast over the internet on CBC Radio 3 was the only way for the general public to get in on the fun (which can now be downloaded!!).
The 2012 winner of the Polaris Music Prize was announced at the end of the evening: Feist, for her album Metals. This win came as a surprise to many, including myself. Although I had been rooting for Grimes or Japandroids – my two favorite Canadian albums of the year, I adore this part of her acceptance speech: “Winning the Polaris tonight is a bit like getting a Valentine from the right boy in school,” she said. “It just has a sense of being small and personal and quaint and real and rooted.” In light of Feist’s win, I”ll surely take some time today to re-listen to Metals with an open mind.
For those of you looking for some new, high quality Canadian music (forget album sales, forget commercial success – think artistic merit), check out Feist and give a listen to all of the short list nominees. The genres span hip hop, soul, rock, folk, electronic and punk, and paint an optimistic future of the music being created in this country.
The 2012 Polaris Prize Short List Nominees:
Cadence Weapon (Album: Hope In Dirt City)
Cold Specks (Album: I Predict A Graceful Expulsion)
Drake (Album: Take Care)
Kathleen Edwards (Album: Voyageur)
Feist (Album: Metals)
Fucked Up (Album: David Comes to Life)
Grimes (Album: Visions)
Handsome Furs (Album: Sound Kapital)
Japandroids (Album: Celebration Rock)
YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN (Album: YT // ST)