Why Polaris Prize finalist Dominique Fils-Aimé loved Dalai-Lama's L'art du bouddhisme

The Polaris Prize finalist says the book reminds us that "we are capable of generating endless amounts of love."

Fils-Aimé is a finalist for her album Three Little Words

Quebec singer Dominique Fils-Aimé recommends reading L'art du bouddhisme. (Rlaffont, Andreanne Gauthier)

Quebec vocalist and recording artist Dominique Fils-Aimé is on the shortlist for the 2021 Polaris Music Prize with the album Three Little Words.

The Polaris Music Prize annually celebrates the best Canadian album of the year, awarding the artist $50,000. There are 10 albums on the shortlist. The winner will be announced on Sept. 27, 2021.

Three Little Words is the Haitian-born Montreal singer's latest record and is the third instalment in her trilogy of albums that explore the roots of Black-oriented musical culture. The previous albums include Nameless and Stay Tuned!, which was nominated for the Polaris Prize in 2019 and won a 2020 Juno Award.

Three Little Words honours the legacy of Black American soul music, taking its musical cues from the sounds of Nina Simone, Ben E. King and Billie Holiday.

In 2019, CBC Books asked Dominique Fils-Aimé to recommend a book that is meaningful to her. She chose L'art du bouddhisme by Dalai-Lama.

"This book, as an early adult, provided me with many lessons and messages of love that stayed with me until this day. Not for any religious aspect, but for the way of life that is suggested, one that works for the advancement of all. The kindness, empathy and wisdom resonated with my wish to find purpose and the gut feeling we all have — that feeling that we are actually connected to one another.

"It reminded me we are one. It reminded me we are capable of generating endless amounts of love, love for everyone including ourselves, love that should be the starting point of all intention and action."

Dominique Fils-Aimé's comments have been edited for length and clarity.

WATCH | CBC Music profiles Dominique Fils-Aimé

Dominique Fils-Aimé | Three Little Words | Polaris Short List 2021

2 months ago
Dominique Fils-Aimé's album Three Little Words is shortlisted for the 2021 Polaris Music Prize. 2:00

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