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Tanika Charles Wins Polaris Artist Residency at Studio Bell

As announced earlier this week at the Polaris Music Prize Gala in Toronto, soul singer Tanika Charles is the winner of the first Polaris Artist Residency at Studio Bell in Calgary.

Lixar, the National Music Centre (NMC), and the Polaris Music Prize are behind the partnership that is awarding Charles the chance to explore NMC’s vast collection of historic musical instruments and equipment, and record inside the world-class facility at Studio Bell.

Chosen from the 2019 Long List of 40 artists to receive a five-day residency at Studio Bell, Charles’ sophomore album, The Gumption, landed her a spot on this year’s long list. It’s the second nomination for Charles whose 2016 debut, Soul Run, also earned a Polaris long list recognition.

"I was shocked to learn I’d been selected for the Polaris Artist Residency,” says Charles. “This is a great opportunity to challenge myself, to hone in on my writing skills, experiment with new instruments, and possibly craft a new sound. I’m excited to work with some incredible like-minded musicians and tinker with vintage equipment we normally wouldn’t have access to. And maybe I’ll walk away with some key pieces of my next album.”

Charles joins a list of esteemed artists who have also participated in various streams of NMC’s residency program, including 2018 Polaris Music Prize winner Jeremy Dutcher, along with short list nominated artists A Tribe Called Red, Jean-Michel Blais, Basia Bulat, and Timber Timbre.

The Polaris Artist Residency will take place at Studio Bell in January of 2020, culminating with a live performance and party at one of NMC’s venue spaces. The resulting work of the residency will be recorded and pressed to vinyl, courtesy of Lixar. More details on the public component and live recording to be announced at a later date.

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Michael Raine is the Senior Editor at Canadian Musician. He is also a co-host of the popular Canadian Musician Radio weekly podcast.