The long list for the 2020 Polaris Music Prize — an annual award that celebrates the best Canadian album released over the past year — was announced this week.
The 40-album list includes a mixture of high-profile, independent and emerging artists, including The Weeknd, Jessie Reyez, U.S. Girls, dvsn, Daniel Caesar, Wares and Allie X. Previous Polaris winners who made the long list this year include Owen Pallett, Kaytranada, Caribou and Lido Pimienta, who were nominated for their albums Island, Bubba, Suddenly and Miss Colombia, respectively.
To qualify for this year’s honor, albums must have been released between June 1, 2019, and May 31, 2020. A total of 223 albums were considered for the 2020 long list, as determined by a 201-member jury comprised of music journalists, broadcasters and bloggers.
The long list will eventually be culled down to a short list of 10 albums, set to be announced July 15 during a CBC Music radio special. Eleven members of the jury will then be selected to serve on a grand jury that will choose this year’s winner.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, the 2020 Polaris winner — normally revealed during a splashy awards ceremony — will be announced live on the CBC Gem streaming service and via the CBC Music website during a “special cinematic event” this fall. Like every year, the winner will receive $50,000 CAD, while shortlisted artists will receive $3,000 CAD each courtesy of Slaight Music.
Last year’s Polaris winner, rapper Haviah Mighty, took home the prize for her album 13th Floor.
The Polaris Music Prize is considered one of Canada’s most prestigious music awards; in addition to the cash prize, winners receive a level of attention and renown that is highly coveted in the Canadian music industry.
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story left out Owen Pallett’s name on the list of previous Polaris Music Prize winners. Pallett won the inaugural Polaris prize for his 2006 album He Poos Clouds, which he released under the name Final Fantasy. We regret the error.
The 2020 Polaris Music Prize long list is:
Allie X – Cape God Anachnid – Dreamweaver
Aquakultre – Legacy
Marie-Pierre Arthur – Des feux pour voir
Backxwash – God Has Nothing To Do With This Leave Him Out Of It
Badge Époque Ensemble – Badge Époque Ensemble
Begonia – Fear
P’tit Belliveau – Greatest Hits Vol. 1
Caribou – Suddenly
Daniel Caesar – CASE STUDY 01
Chocolat – Jazz engagé
Louis-Jean Cormier – Quand la nuit tombe
Corridor – Junior
dvsn – A Muse In Her Feelings
Jacques Greene – Dawn Chorus
Sarah Harmer – Are You Gone
Ice Cream – FED UP
Junia-T – Studio Monk
Kaytranada – Bubba
Flore Laurentienne – Volume 1
Cindy Lee – What’s Tonight To Eternity?
Men I Trust – Oncle Jazz
nêhiyawak – nipiy
OBUXUM – Re-Birth
Owen Pallett – Island
Pantayo – Pantayo
Lido Pimienta – Miss Colombia
Joel Plaskett – 44
William Prince – Reliever
Jessie Reyez – BEFORE LOVE CAME TO KILL US
Andy Shauf – The Neon Skyline
Riit – ataataga
Super Duty Tough Work – Studies in Grey
U.S. Girls – Heavy Light
Leif Vollebekk – New Ways
Wares – Survival
The Weeknd – After Hours
WHOOP-Szo – Warrior Down
Witch Prophet – DNA Activation
Zen Bamboo – GLU