An "overwelmed" Dan Snaith, better known as Canadian electronic musician Caribou, walked away with the third annual Polaris Music Prize in Toronto on Monday night.

The solo performer, who hails from Dundas, Ont., took home the $20,000 cash prize for his fourth, full-length album Andorra, which a cross-country panel of 11 music journalists, critics and writers named the past year's best Canadian release.

"If I seem completely overwhelmed it's because I am," he said in a statement after his win.

"The Polaris is such an amazing forum for music that might not otherwise get recognized to such an extent."

More than 400 people gathered at Toronto's Phoenix Concert Hall for Monday night's ceremony, which included performances by many of this year's shortlisted artists, including:

  • Vancouver's Black Mountain.
  • London, Ont. artists Shad and Basia Bulat.
  • Ottawa's Kathleen Edwards.
  • Toronto's Holy F---.
  • Montreal's Plants and Animals.
  • Charlottetown's Two Hours Traffic.

According to a prize spokeswoman, the jury faced a tough decision Monday night, with three of the 10 finalists considered frontrunners.

"There were three clear frontrunners after the first ballot," said Liisa Ladouceur, who oversaw the voting process.

"Ultimately the album selected was one that that touched the most jurors for the greatest number of reasons. They felt this record can be loved by anyone and everyone."

Founded by former record label executive Steve Jorden, the Polaris celebrates excellence, creativity and diversity on the Canadian music scene by selecting finalists and an eventual winner without any consideration given to sales figures.

The fledgling award has developed a bit of a reputation for celebrating little- known artists over established names.

For instance, last year, Patrick Watson won over better-known colleagues such as Arcade Fire and Feist. The inaugural winner was solo act Final Fantasy.