Kaytranada Wins Canada's Prestigious 2016 Polaris Music Prize

Joseph Okpako/Redferns

Kaytranada performs on Day 1 of Lovebox festival taking place at Victoria park on July 17, 2015 in London.

Kaytranada's album 99.9% has won the 2016 Polaris Music Prize, last year’s winner Buffy Sainte-Marie announced onstage Monday night (Sept. 19) at the conclusion of the gala awards ceremony at The Carlu in Toronto. The award comes with a check for $50,000 CAD ($38,000 USD).

“For me, it’s crazy to get this award,” Kaytranada said onstage. “It’s really, truly, a big honor. It’s amazing. Shout-outs to all of y’all. I want to thank the judges and everybody for voting for me."

As the 11-member grand jury debated and voted behind closed doors at the Carlu, the artists whose albums were short-listed were honored with thoughtful commentary commentary (on video) about the release from a notable fan. Iggy Pop talked up U.S. Girls; young Stranger Things actor Finn Wolfhard praised Pup alongside the band; and retired hockey player Boyd Devereaux gushed over Black Mountain. The audience of 900 is mostly comprised of industry, artists, sponsors and jurors with a small quantity of tickets sold to the public.

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Nominees Black Mountain, Basia Bulat, Carly Rae Jepsen, Jessy Lanza, Andy Shauf, U.S. Girls and White Lung also performed, some accompanied by members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

The nine other short-listed albums were Black Mountain's IV, Basia Bulat's Good Advice, Grimes' Art Angels, Carly Rae Jepsen's E.MO.TION, Jessy Lanza's Oh No, PUP's The Dream Is Over, Andy Shauf's The Party, U.S. Girls' Half Free and White Lung's Paradise.

The albums are judged solely on artistic merit, without consideration of genre, sales or professional affiliation. The eligibility period for the titles is June 1, 2015, to May 31, 2016.

The gala was hosted by Tom Power, new host of CBC Radio One's q, and Amanda Parris, host of CBC Exhibitionists/CBC Radio 2's Marvin's Room. It was streamed live on CBC Music and via CBC Music's YouTube Channel.

The nominated albums had been whittled down by a two-part calculation process. This year's 192-member jury -- comprised of music journalists, broadcasters and music bloggers from across Canada -- selected 183 titles on the first ballot, which asked for their top five picks. The 40-title long list was then determined, and the same jurors picked their top five from those 40.

Slaight Music generously donated the prize money: $50,000 for the winner, and $3,000 ($2,275 U.S.) for each of the nine short-listed acts.

Past Polaris Music Prize winners include: Buffy Sainte-Marie (2015), Tanya Tagaq (2014), Godspeed You! Black Emperor (2013), Feist (2012), Arcade Fire (2011), Karkwa (2010), Fucked Up (2009), Caribou (2008), Patrick Watson (2007) and Final Fantasy/Owen Pallett (2006).


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