Tanya Tagaq Wins 2014 Polaris Music Prize

Tanya Tagaq Wins 2014 Polaris Music Prize
Photo by Ivan Otis
After much voting, anticipation and heated debate, the victor of the 2014 Polaris Music Prize has been crowned: Tanya Tagaq for her album Animism.

The Nunavut-raised Inuk throat singer won the ninth annual instalment of the coveted Canadian prize tonight (September 22) at a star-studded gala at the Carlu in Toronto, beating out follow shortlist nominees Arcade Fire, Basia Bulat, Mac DeMarco, Drake, Jessy Lanza, Owen Pallett, Shad, Timber Timbre and Yamantaka // Sonic Titan.

As the winner of the 2014 Polaris Music Prize, Tagaq gets $30,000, while each runner-up receives $2,000.

"We've been doing it our own way without backing down artistically or conforming, so to be recognized in this way and have so many people latch on makes me feel the world is tolerable," said Tagaq in a statement. "There's so much hurt in the world and within indigenous cultures with colonialism. Canada is in a desperate need for repair and I think a lot of people are tired of living this way and just to have people understand where we're coming from makes me have hope that we can move forward and expose the true history of Canada."

In her acceptance speech, she also encouraged fans to wear and eat seal, adding her vocal distaste of PETA by saying, "And fuck PETA."

For more on Animism and Tagaq read Exclaim!'s recent interview with the artist here.

The winner was chosen by an 11-member grand jury, which was selected from the prize's national jury of more than 200 journalists, broadcasters and bloggers. The jury was tasked with the job of naming the best Canadian album released between June 2013 and May 2014 based on artistic merit alone.

Most of the shortlist nominees played the gala in Toronto tonight, though Arcade Fire, Drake and Yamantaka // Sonic Titan did not. Jay Baruchel served at the event's host.

This is the ninth instalment of the Polaris Music Prize. Past winners include Final Fantasy (2006), Patrick Watson (2007), Caribou (2008), Fucked Up (2009), Karkwa (2010), Arcade Fire (2011), Feist (2012) and Godspeed You! Black Emperor (2013).

The artists and albums that made the Polaris Music Prize 2014 shortlist are as follows:

Arcade Fire - Reflektor
Basia Bulat - Tall Tall Shadow
Mac DeMarco - Salad Days
Drake - Nothing Was the Same
Jessy Lanza - Pull My Hair Back
Owen Pallett - In Conflict
Shad - Flying Colours
Tanya Tagaq - Animism
Timber Timbre - Hot Dreams
Yamantaka // Sonic Titan - UZU