The 2018 Polaris Music Prize shortlist was announced this morning (July 17).
The ten nominees, in alphabetical order, are:
Alvvays - Antisocialites
Jean-Michel Blais - Dans ma main
Daniel Caesar - Freudian
Jeremy Dutcher - Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa
Pierre Kwenders - MAKANDA at the End of Space, the Beginning of Time
Hubert Lenoir - Darlène
Partner - In Search Of Lost Time
Snotty Nose Rez Kids - The Average Savage
U.S. Girls - In A Poem Unlimited
Weaves - Wide Open
An early analysis of the list shows it is strongly weighted towards new artists. Chances are there are at least two or three names on there you will not recognize, and only two contenders, Alvvays and Daniel Caesar, have enjoyed significant commercial success. Veterans who made the Long List but not this one include Arcade Fire, Gord Downie, and Sloan.
Indigenous artists are represented by Jeremy Dutcher and Snotty Nose Rez Kids, while francophone/Quebec-based artists (Jean-Michel Blais, Pierre Kwenders, and Hubert Lenoir) have a strong presence.
A wide range of genres is represented, from rock and post-punk to neo-classical, hip-hop, world music, and R&B.
Only three of the Short Listed artists (Alvvays, Weaves, and U.S. Girls) have made the list previously, and a first-time winner of the Prize is guaranteed.
The Polaris Music Prize honours the best album by a Canadian artist in the past 12 months, based "solely on artistic merit, without consideration for genre or record sales."
A jury of 191 members from across Canada whittled down 225 albums to a Long List of 40 and now this Short List. The Polaris winner takes home $50K. All runners-up will receive $3K, courtesy of Slaight Music.
The winner of the 2018 Polaris Music Prize will be chosen by a grand jury at the prize's gala event, held at the Carlu in Toronto on Sept. 17.