99.9% by Kaytranada has won the 2016 Polaris Music Prize. Last year’s winner, Buffy Sainte-Marie, made the announcement of the $50,000.00 prize tonight at the annual gala at the Carlu in Toronto.
“For me, it’s crazy to get this award,” said Kaytranada. “It’s really, truly, a big honour. It’s amazing. Ceci est pour Montréal, tous mes Montréalais. Shout outs to all of y’all. I want to thank the judges and everybody for voting for me. It’s an honour man, I don’t know what to say.”
Born in Haiti and raised in the city of Montreal, Canadian artist Kaytranada has experienced an explosive rise in the past couple of years with his irresistible production and live sets, but the hard work and success did not happen over night. Before touring the globe and amassing millions of hits online with his series of beloved tracks and mixes, the young man came up as a true disciple, absorbing hip hop and RnB culture since his childhood and finding ways to make the music his own. This knowledge of musical history imbued with his own sound is reflected in his stunning debut album 99.9%, released earlier this year to critical acclaim.
Hosted by Tom Power, new host of CBC Radio One’s q and Polaris jurist, and Amanda Parris, host of CBC Radio 2’s Marvin’s Room and CBC’s Exhibitionists, the event was streamed live on cbcmusic.ca/polaris and included performances by Black Mountain, Basia Bulat, Carly Rae Jepsen, Jessy Lanza, Andy Shauf, U.S. Girls and White Lung. GRIMES and Kaytranada were in attendance. PUP were on tour in Europe and not able to attend. Members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra provided musical support. The gala also featured testimonials from Finn Wolfhard of Netflix’s Stranger Things, Iggy Pop, Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, Dev Hynes aka Blood Orange, actor Amber Tamblyn, Stanley Cup champion Boyd Devereaux, and more. Individual gala performances and testimonials can be viewed at cbcmusic.ca/polaris.
The 11 member Grand Jury that convened this evening to decide the winner was comprised of Adrien Begrand (freelance), Lisa Christiansen (CBC Radio One – Vancouver), Del Cowie (CBC Music), Howard Druckman (SOCAN Words & Music), Lana Gay (Indie 88), Carla Gillis (NOW Magazine), Andrew King (Canadian Musician), Lisa Lagace (Turn The Record Over), Trevor Risk (Ion Magazine), Joni Sadler (CKUT) and Fateema Sayani (Ottawa Magazine).
“What an amazing group of jurors,” commented Katherine Duncan, who oversaw the Grand Jury. “Open, insightful, respectful and above all, willing to listen —and listen again — to the short listed albums, and to what their fellow jurors had to say. Beyond just choosing a great album, this year’s Polaris Music Prize short list challenged each member of the jury to question their deepest beliefs about the nature and purpose of music and why we love it.
Each of the nine runners up – Black Mountain, Basia Bulat, GRIMES, Carly Rae Jepsen, Jessy Lanza, PUP, Andy Shauf, U.S. Girls and White Lung – were awarded $3,000.00, courtesy of Slaight Music.
Kaytranada joins past winners of The Polaris Music Prize – 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).