Music

Kathleen Edwards, Mustafa, Tobi and more make the 2021 Polaris Music Prize long list

The annual award honours the best Canadian album of the year.

The annual award honours the best Canadian album of the year

Kathleen Edwards' 2020 album Total Freedom, her first album in eight years, is nominated for the 2021 Polaris Music Prize. (Kathleen Edwards/Facebook)

The 2021 Polaris Music Prize long list is here. 

Th 40 albums vying for the title of best Canadian album of the year form an eclectic mix, from hip hop to metal. But, unlike last year, this year's long list is absent of any previous Polaris Music Prize winners. In 2020, four past winners made it onto the long list, with two (Lido Pimienta and Kaytranada) earning shortlist honours. 

A little more than half of this year's 40 nominees are newcomers to the Polaris Music Prize. First-time longlisters include Charlotte Cardin, Dijah SB, Rochelle Jordan, Mustafa, the OBGMs and Yu Su. Previously nominated acts include two-time shortlister Cadence Weapon, 2019 finalist Dominique Fils-Aimé, and 2018 Heritage Prize nominee Daniel Lanois.

The long list was chosen by a panel of 195 Canadian jurors (which includes many CBC Music producers), who will vote once more to narrow the nominees down to a 10-album short list, which will be announced on July 15.

Eligible albums must have been released between June 1, 2020, and May 31, 2021. (Although albums released between May 1 and May 31, 2020, that didn't make the 2020 long list were also considered.) Judging is based solely on artistic merit, with no consideration for genre or record sales. 

The winner, who will receive a $50,000 grand prize, will be chosen by a grand jury and revealed during a special event scheduled to take place this fall.

Last year, Montreal rapper Backxwash took home the title, making her the first metal-adjacent artist, as well as the first trans musician, ever to win the Polaris Music Prize. 

Here are the 40 longlisted albums:

  • Art Bergmann, Late Stage Empire Dementia
  • Bernice, Eau de Bonjourno
  • The Besnard Lakes, The Besnard Lakes are the Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings
  • Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Theory of Ice
  • Big|Brave, Vital
  • Cadence Weapon, Parallel World
  • Charlotte Cardin, Phoenix
  • CFCF, memoryland
  • Clairmont the Second, It's not how it Sounds
  • Helena Deland, Someone New
  • Dijah SB, Head Above the Waters
  • Kathleen Edwards, Total Freedom
  • Dominique Fils-Aimé, Three Little Words
  • Fiver with the Atlantic School of Spontaneous Composition, self-titled
  • Thanya Iyer, Kind
  • Yves Jarvis, Sundry Rock Song Stock
  • Rochelle Jordan, Play With the Changes
  • Lal, Meteors Could Come Down
  • Daniel Lanois, Heavy Sun
  • Thierry Larose, Cantalou
  • Russell Louder, Humor
  • Elliot Maginot, Easy Morning
  • Mustafa, When Smoke Rises
  • Laura Niquay, Waska Matisiwin
  • Nyssa, Girls Like Me
  • The OBGMs, The Ends
  • Dorothea Paas, Anything Can't Happen
  • Klô Pelgag, Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Douleurs
  • Savannah Ré, Opia
  • Allison Russell, Outside Child
  • Julien Sagot, Sagot
  • Sargeant X Comrade, Magic Radio
  • Shabason, Krgovich & Harris, Philadelphia
  • Yu Su, Yellow River Blue
  • Julian Taylor, The Ridge
  • Teke::Teke, Shirushi
  • Tobi, Elements Vol. 1
  • Vagina Witchcraft, self-titled
  • The Weather Station, Ignorance
  • Zoon, Bleached Wavves

Rapper Backxwash wins Polaris Music Prize

11 months ago
4:22
Montreal-based horrorcore rapper Backxwash has won the 2020 Polaris Music Prize for her album God Has Nothing to Do With This Leave Him Out of It. 4:22

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