By Darlene Barss

Today is the day we discover which artist will win the $50,000 Polaris Music Prize for 2017. I have enjoyed being a part of the  Polaris Music Prize process as a juror this year and am excited to find out how it ends up!

My journey began after last years Polaris Music Prize. I have enjoyed following along and listening to the music that made the lists in previous years, then I saw a post from Polaris Music Prize that they were looking for more jurors. I filled out the application, using OurBasement contributor as my professional affiliation. I was thrilled when they accepted me in the beginning of February 2017. I began listening to new releases and recommendations from other jurors. I also made some recommendations of Royal Canoe’s Something Got Lost Between Here and the Orbit, The Cosmic Range’s New Latitudes and Avec le soleil sortant de sa bouche’s Pas pire pop, I Love You So Much to the group. If an album doesn’t get recommended by a juror, it can’t be on a ballot and they were all albums I was excited about and wanted to make sure they could be voted on. You can see all the albums that were recommended on The 2017 Longer List. There were 213 recommended for us to vote on.

Polaris Podcast Episode 9 talks about a few of the artists other jurors had recommended.

From that longer list, we each had a ballot of 5 votes which resulted in the Long List that came out June 13. After much thought and lots of listening, my 5 votes ended up being Royal Canoe – Something Got Lost Between Here and the Orbit, Leif Vollebekk – Twin Solitude, Weaves – Weaves, Do Make Say Think – Stubborn Persistent Illusions, and Saltland – A Common Truth. Sadly Royal Canoe, DMST and Saltland didn’t make it to the long list but the other two did. You can find the Long List here.

For the next month, I did a lot of listening to those 40 albums that made it to the Long List. Some of my favourite new discoveries were Lido Pimienta, Jesse Reyez and Antoine Corriveau. It was a really tough decision for me to narrow it down and I changed my mind often but my 5 votes ended up being Leif Vollebekk – Twin Solitude, Weaves – Weaves, A Tribe Called Red – We Are The Halluci Nation, BADBADNOTGOOD – IV, and Gord Downie – Secret Path. The Short List was released July 18 and you can find tracks from the albums in the playlist below.

I thought my duties were done for the year but then I was asked to do a write up for the Leif Vollebekk – Twin Solitude album for the Gala program. While I was nervous about it, I was also excited and honoured I was given the task. It took a lot of rewrites before I submitted those 150 words and I hope it does the album justice.

The 11 member Grand Jury will be deciding on the winner at the gala tonight. The Polaris Gala will be broadcast live via CBC Music starting at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT. Watch the whole event HERE. Or try the CBC Music’s Facebook Live Event

Will you be watching? Who do you hope wins?