The annual Polaris Prize, which honors the year’s best Canadian album, has a strong track record of being awarded to noteworthy artists north of the border, with past winners including Fucked Up, Caribou, Feist, Arcade Fire and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, whose album ALLELUJAH! DON’T BEND! ASCEND! won last year’s prize. But underdogs have just as much of a chance as nabbing it as the more well known acts, and in past years, artists like Patrick Watson and Karkwa have beaten the likes of Destroyer, Broken Social Scene, The Weeknd and Junior Boys.
Tonight, the panel of judges leaned more toward the latter: Tanya Tagaq won this year’s prize for her album Animism, beating out a field of strong contenders that included Mac DeMarco, Arcade Fire, Drake, Owen Pallett, Jessy Lanza and Yamantaka // Sonic Titan. Tagaq, a throat singer of Canadian aboriginal descent, promoted eating and wearing seal in her acceptance speech, referring to seals as a “sustainable resource,” and capped it with, “And Fuck PETA.”
In addition to the prestige of winning the award, the Polaris Prize victor also receives $30,000.