The 2023 Polaris Music Prize long list is here.
Scroll down to discover the 40 albums vying for this year’s prize, which annually honours the best Canadian album of the year. They range in style from shoegaze to hip-hop, electronic, folk, R&B and beyond. The longlisted albums were selected by a panel of 205 Canadian jurors (including several CBC Music producers). In total, 221 albums were considered this year.
The number of first-time nominees has gone up from last year (37 per cent in 2022 to almost 50 per cent this year), and they include Debby Friday, Mariel Buckley and Aysanabee.
The long list also includes a number of Polaris darlings — musicians such as Alvvays, Begonia, Zoon, Jessie Reyez, and Daniel Caesar, who’ve been nominated year over year for their entire discographies. Feist almost joins them, too, except for her 1999 debut Monarch, a rare album to find that predates the prize. She’s also the sole previous winner on this year’s long list, having won in 2012 for her album Metals.
Feist’s Broken Social Scene bandmate Ariel Engle also unlocked a neat achievement: she has now received nominations under three separate projects: La Force, Aroara and All Hands_Make Light.
Musicians from Quebec and Ontario make up 35 per cent and 30 per cent, respectively, of this year’s longlist nominees. Alberta has five nominated acts, including Ghostkeeper and Jairus Sharif. The remaining seven artists on the long list represent Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Manitoba, British Columbia and Saskatchewan (although Charlottetown natives Alvvays and Regina native Andy Shauf now reside in Toronto.) There are no artists representing the North.
Last year, Montreal-based musician Pierre Kwenders won the Polaris Music Prize for his album José Louis and the Paradox of Love.
Eligible albums must have been released between May 1, 2022, and May 1, 2023. Judging is based solely on artistic merit, with no consideration for genre or record sales.
The Polaris Music Prize top 10 short list will be announced on July 13. The winner, who will receive a $50,000 grand prize, will be chosen by a grand jury and revealed at a live gala event in Toronto on Sept. 19 at Massey Hall.
Here are the 40 longlisted albums:
All Hands_Make Light, Darling the Dawn
Alvvays, Blue Rev
Aquakultre, Don’t Trip
Badge Époque Ensemble, Clouds of Joy
Begonia, Powder Blue
Bibi Club, Le soleil et la mer
Big|Brave, nature morte
Philippe Brach, Les gens qu’on aime
Mariel Buckley, Everywhere I Used to Be
Daniel Caesar, Never Enough
Chiiild, Better Luck in the Next Life
Debby Friday, Good Luck
Ghostkeeper, Multidimensional Culture
Home Front, Games of Power
Khotin, Release Spirit
Thierry Larose, Sprint!
Murray Lightburn, Once Upon a Time in Montreal
Isabella Lovestory, Amor Hardcore
Dan Mangan, Being Somewhere
N Nao, L’eau et les rêves
Tami Neilson, Kingmaker
Eliza Niemi, Staying Mellow Blows
Nico Paulo, Nico Paulo
Planet Giza, Ready When You Are
Jessie Reyez, Yessie
The Sadies, Colder Streams
Jairus Sharif, Water & Tools
Andy Shauf, Norm
Dylan Sinclair, No Longer in the Suburbs
Snotty Nose Rez Kids, I’m Good, HBU?
Alexandra Stréliski, Néo-Romance
U.S. Girls, Bless This Mess
Witch Prophet, Gateway Experience
Yoo Doo Right, A Murmur, Boundless to the East
Zoon, Bekka Ma’iingan