Polaris Music Prize contenders get ‘cinematic’ spotlight in pandemic showcase


Ten acclaimed Canadian acts will compete for the Polaris Music Prize tonight, including three previous winners of the prestigious $50,000 award.

Electronic composer Caribou, DJ and record producer Kaytranada, and singer-songwriter Lido Pimienta already have a Polaris to their name, and they’re in the running for best Canadian album of the year with their latest projects.

The winner is decided by an 11-member jury of music journalists and broadcasters who consider the album’s artistic merit, regardless of sales or genre.

Other contenders include R&B-pop singer Jessie Reyez, First Nations indie rockers nêhiyawak, transgender rapper Backxwash and the jazz/R&B/hip-hop fusion artist Witch Prophet.

Rounding out the nominees is three-time Polaris shortlisted U.S. Girls, hip-hop and R&B performer Junia-T, and Pantayo, an all-women ensemble that combines traditional kulintang music from the Philippines with pop influences.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Polaris organizers say they’ve commissioned a group of directors to bring each of the 10 nominated albums to life as short films, instead of holding the usual gala concert showcase.

The winner will be announced after the presentation, which begins streaming at 8 p.m. ET on CBC Gem streaming service, CBC Music’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages, and at CBCMusic.ca/Polaris.

Award provides global platform

Beyond its cash value, the recognition puts the winner’s album on a global platform.

Last year Toronto rapper Haviah Mighty won the prize for 13th Floor, becoming the first female rapper to claim the Polaris.

Other winners include Jeremy Dutcher, Tanya Tagaq and Arcade Fire.

Read more at CBC.ca