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Polaris Music Prize | © Polaris Music Prize/WikiCommons
Polaris Music Prize | © Polaris Music Prize/WikiCommons
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2016 Polaris Music Prize Short List Announced: Take A Listen

Picture of Alix Hall
Updated: 18 July 2016
2016’s Polaris Music Prize short list has been announced – if these artists weren’t already in your music rotation, now’s the time to add them to the mix. The 10 musicians competing for the title of Best Canadian Album of the Year are, in alphabetical order, Andy Shauf, Basia Bulat, Black Mountain, Carly Rae Jepsen, Grimes, Jessy Lanza, Kaytranada, Pup, U.S. Girls and White Lung. The winner will be announced at the Polaris Music Prize Gala on September 19th, 2016.

The Polaris Music Prize is awarded annually to the best full-length Canadian album based on artistic merit, irrespective of genre, sales, or label. The prize was established in 2006, and now comes with a $50,000 cash prize (in addition to the glory, of course). Modelled after the United Kingdom and Ireland’s Mercury Prize, the Polaris Prize is sponsored by a range of media and communication companies, as well as recording artist societies. The 2016 Polaris Music Gala, held on September 19th, will once again be video streamed live on CBC Music.

The 2016 short list nomination announcement was made by this year’s Gala hosts: Tom Power host of CBC Radio 2 Morning, and Amanda Parris, the host of CBC Radio 2’s Marvin’s Room and CBC’s Exhibitionists. The Polaris Music Prize Gala will be held at The Carlu in Toronto on Monday, September 19th, 2016 at 8:00 pm ET; music fans can live stream the Gala on CBC Music’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.

2016 marks the highest ever number of female and female-fronted acts to make the short list, with seven. Rap and R&B enthusiasts will note that 2016’s short list doesn’t include any artists from either genre, though several – including Drake, Majid Jordan, and The Weeknd – were featured in the long list.

This is the third occasion Basia Bulat has been nominated for the short list (2008, 2014, 2016), joining the ranks of Caribou, Drake, Metric, Shad and Owen Pallett for three-time nominees. This is the second short list nomination for Black Mountain, Grimes and Jess Lanza. First time short list nominees include Carly Rae Jepsen, Kaytranada, PUP, Andy Shauf, U.S. Girls and White Lung.

The list was decided by 194 jurors, consisting of music journalists, bloggers, and broadcasters. The jurors themselves are selected by the Polaris Music Prize board of directors. A group of 11 ‘grand jurors’ will convene on the evening of the Polaris Gala to decide the winner.

Past winners include Buffy Sainte-Marie (2015 for Power in the Blood); Feist (2012 for Metals); Arcade Fire (2011 for The Suburbs); Patrick Watson (2007 for Close to Paradise); and Final Fantasy (the inaugural winner, for 2006’s He Poos Clouds).

For a teaser of each of the short listed albums, take a listen…

Andy Shauf

Album: The Party
Hometown: Regina, Saskatchewan

Basia Bulat

Album: Good Advice
Hometown: London, Ontario

Black Mountain

Album: IV
Hometown: Vancouver, British Columbia

Carly Rae Jepsen

Album: Emotion
Hometown: Mission, British Columbia


Album: Art Angels
Hometown: Vancouver, British Columbia

Jessy Lanza

Album: Oh No
Hometown: Hamilton, Ontario


Album: 99.9%
Hometown: Montreal, Quebec


Album: The Dream is Over
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario

U.S. Girls

Album: Half Free
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario

White Lung

Album: Paradise
Hometown: Vancouver, British Columbia