Backxwash has won the 2020 Polaris Music Prize for her album God Has Nothing To Do With This Leave Him Out Of It.
“Be as honest as you want to be and create the art that you want to,” says Backxwash while reflecting on her win.
This is Backxwash’s first Polaris Music Prize win.
The Prize, which was presented by CBC Music, goes to the best Canadian album of the year based on artistic merit without regard to genre, sales history or label affiliation. It was determined by a Grand Jury of 11 music media professionals drawn from the greater Polaris jury pool of 201 writers, editors, broadcasters, DJs and personalities from across the country. This was the 15th edition of the Polaris Music Prize.
Backxwash’s victory came with a $50,000 monetary reward. The nine other Short List nominees each received $3,000 courtesy of Slaight Music.
The 2020 Polaris Short List was:
Backxwash - God Has Nothing To Do With This Leave Him Out Of It
Caribou - Suddenly
Junia-T - Studio Monk
Kaytranada - Bubba
nêhiyawak - nipiy
Pantayo - Pantayo
Lido Pimienta - Miss Colombia
Jessie Reyez - BEFORE LOVE CAME TO KILL US
U.S. Girls - Heavy Light
Witch Prophet - DNA Activation
Backxwash’s name was revealed by Polaris 2019 winner, Haviah Mighty, live from the stage of Toronto venue, The Carlu, during the 2020 Polaris Music Prize Celebration broadcast. Due to COVID-19, for the safety and well-being of the Polaris community, Polaris chose to not host a winner Gala event this year. Instead, Polaris invited Canadian filmmakers to apply to create commissioned films inspired by each of the Short List-nominated albums to create a special cinematic tribute. Hundreds of filmmakers applied, with the selected filmmaking teams being commissioned based on input from Polaris staff, CBC Music and Short List nominee teams.
These 10 short films were streamed during the 2020 Polaris Music Prize Celebration, hosted by CBC Music’s Saroja Coelho. All 10 of these specially commissioned short films are now available for viewing on the free CBC Gem streaming service, CBC Music’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages and around the globe at CBCMusic.ca/Polaris.
The Grand Jury who decided the winner included Chad Brunet (CJSR), Ricky Castanedo Laredo (CJSF), Bruno Coulombe (Le Canal Auditif), Chaka V. Grier (Freelance Journalist / Journaliste Pigiste), Kimberley Dooshima Jev (Freelance Journalist / Journaliste Pigiste), Liisa Ladouceur (Freelance Journalist / Journaliste Pigiste), Sarah Macdonald (Freelance Journalist / Journaliste Pigiste), Sofie Mikhaylova (DJ Sonja), Chad Pelley (Music Researcher / Chercheur En Musique), Anuska Sarkar (Freelance Journalist / Journaliste Pigiste) and Ian Steaman (Different Kitchen).
"It's an incredible and humbling honour to oversee this year's Polaris Grand Jury," said Polaris Jury Foreperson Melissa Vincent. "Their devotion to discussing and championing the work of an outstanding group of artists is a testament to the vitality of music coming out of Canada. We could not be more thrilled to congratulate the winner of the 2020 Polaris Music Prize!"
The past winners are Haviah Mighty (2019), Jeremy Dutcher (2018), Lido Pimienta (2017), Kaytranada (2016), 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).
Polaris acknowledges the financial support of FACTOR, the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage (Canada Music Fund) and of Canada's Private Radio Broadcasters.