Pandemics and social distancing did not deter the Polaris Music Prize from celebrating Backxwash’s God Has Nothing to Do With This Leave Him Out of It as the best Canadian album of 2020.
Streaming across Canada on the CBC Gem streaming service, CBC Music’s Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages and around the globe at CBCMusic.ca/Polaris, the Polaris Music Prize presented each of the 10 nominees through an online special that included featured short films to accompany those albums being honoured.
The competition this year was fierce, with past winners Caribou, Kaytranada and Lido Pimienta, and past nominees U.S. Girls and Jessie Reyez; but ultimately, the jury, consisting of an independent jury of music journalists, chose heavy-metal infused hip-hop of Backxwash’s God Has Nothing to Do With This Leave Him Out of It, as their number one album of 2020.
Born in Zambia, Ashanti Mutinta moved to Canada at age 17 to attend university in British Columbia. Her musical presence, as well as her gender expression, took off after relocating to Montreal; where she began recording her bold and visceral blend of classic rock with hip-hop.
An ecstatic and joyful Muntina took questions from Canada’s music press via Zoom immediately following the exciting announcement that her album, God Has Nothing to Do With This Leave Him Out of It, was chosen as the winner of the 2020 Polaris Music Prize. When asked what advice she would give to young artists, she said “I would just say unapologetically make the music you want to make. That’s the most important thing. Just continue being your authentic self!”
The Polaris Music Prize goes to the artist that creates the Canadian Album of the Year, as judged by an independent jury of music journalists based solely on artistic merit and without consideration of genre or record sales. Additionally, the nine other nominated acts whose albums make the 2019 Short List will receive $3,000 each courtesy of Slaight Music.
In addition to the presentation of the winning Polaris prize of 2020, the nominees for the 2020 Slaight Family Polaris Heritage Prize were announced. Honouring albums released before the inception of the Polaris Music Prize in 2006, two albums are chosen; one via online poll, and one via jury selection. Past winners of the award include cornerstone albums by Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Glenn Gould, Sloan, Blue Rodeo, Alanis Morrisette, and many others. To view the nominees and to vote for the 2020 Slaight Family Polaris Heritage Prize, make sure to visit https://polarismusicprize.ca/heritage-prize/.
Born and raised with thoughts and aspirations of becoming a famous bassist in Sarnia, ON; Emily Plunkett now lives in Gatineau, QC, and considers National Capital Region home sweet home. A product of the Beatles, MuchMusic and the Southwestern Ontario summer festival circuit (circa 2000), her interest and love in concert photography came almost completely by accident when her journalism program at Algonquin College required courses in photojournalism (and she quickly realized that photos taken at concerts using a DSLR are enormously better than ones she was taking on a point-and-shoot she bought for a trip to England). She is extremely proud of the fact she has seen Sloan in some form or another 25 times.