The Polaris Music Prize reveals its 2016 long list nominees

June 20, 2016

Whether you love it or have an issue or two with it, the Polaris Music Prize is—now in its eleventh year—a Canadian music institution. And regardless of any criticism it endures, its intentions are pure: to honour Canadian music, “judged solely on artistic merit, without consideration of genre or record sales.” At the very least, among music industry/journalist/nerd circles, the Polaris provides at least a few solid months to argue about something we all love.

This year—like all years previous—has a deep well of talent and should make it easy for fans and snobs to spend hours bickering over what does and doesn’t belong.

The long list was announced this past week in Whitehorse. One nominee that should definitely get people talking is Justin Bieber—who probably isn’t hard up for cash—nominated for 2015’s Purpose. Drake is a another big name on the list, along with Carly Rae Jepsen, whose runaway pop smash E•MO•TION was a major critical darling but was marketed so poorly it ended up selling nowhere near its potential. Grimes’ brilliantly weird Art Angels has been in discussion as a favourite since its release last November. This writer would personally be a bit disappointed if Daniel Romano’s Mosey doesn’t end up on the short list. But only one album will win the coveted $50,000 and bragging rights.

Polaris does a great job of interacting with music fans via its Twitter account, happy to retweet unpopular opinions about snubs and the like, as well as what’s going on with previous nominees—so check that out if you’d like to get into the discussion. The Polaris short list will be revealed on July 14, followed by the gala on September 19 when the winner will be announced.

And without further ado, your Polaris 2016 long list noms:

Art Bergmann – The Apostate

Justin Bieber – Purpose

Black Mountain – IV

Jean-Michel Blais – II

Basia Bulat – Good Advice

Daniel Caesar – Pilgrim’s Paradise

Tanika Charles – Soul Run

City and Colour – If I Should Go Before You

Cœur de pirate – Roses

Dead Obies – Gesamtkunstwerk

Destroyer – Poison Season

Dilly Dally – Sore

Drake – VIEWS

Essaie pas – Demain est une autre nuit

Fred Fortin – Ultramarr

FOXTROTT – A Taller Us

Grimes – Art Angels

Half Moon Run – Sun Leads Me On

Veda Hille – Love Waves

Jazz Cartier – Hotel Paranoia

Carly Rae Jepsen – E•MO•TION

Junior Boys – Big Black Coat

Kaytranada – 99.9%

Jessy Lanza – Oh No

Majid Jordan – Majid Jordan

Michelle McAdorey – Into Her Future

Nap Eyes – Thought Rock Fish Scale

Safia Nolin – Limoilou

Operators – Blue Wave

Peaches – Rub

PUP – The Dream Is Over

Daniel Romano – Mosey

Andy Shauf – The Party

The Strumbellas – Hope

Suuns – Hold/Still

U.S. Girls – Half Free

Un Blonde – Good Will Come To You

The Weeknd – Beauty Behind the Madness

White Lung – Paradise

Donovan Woods – Hard Settle, Ain’t Troubled


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About the Author

Matt Williams

Matt Williams is a writer and photographer. Born and raised on the Prairies in Winnipeg, he’s slowly made his way farther and farther east, spending a few years covering music in Toronto before running clear out of country and ending up on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. In between, he’s made numerous detours, interviewing and photographing countless artists across North America and beyond. He heads up Amplify’s Instrumental series, where he talks with musicians about the relationships they’ve formed with their most important tools.

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