Published Sep 16, 2019Haviah Mighty has won the 2019 Polaris Music Prize with her album 13th Floor.
The announcement was made tonight during a gala event at the Carlu in Toronto. The Brampton MC beat out an extensive 40-album long list, which was further whittled down to a 10-record short list.
Beyond all the bragging rights and boosted attention, the Polaris winner will receive $50,000, while the nine other short listers will receive prizes of $3,000 each.
Other short-list nominated artists included Marie Davidson, Elisapie, FET.NAT, Dominique Fils-Aimé, Les Louanges, PUP, Jessie Reyez, Shad and Snotty Nose Rez Kids.
In accepting the Polaris Music Prize, Haviah Mighty explained the following of her winning album:
For me, the 13th floor is something that we remove from our reality because it is something that we don't understand and therefore we dismiss it. This is very parallel to so many of the experiences that I speak on, on this album. I'm in a room with so many different people from so many different walks of life who have acknowledged that this is something they feel is important. These people don't necessarily share the narratives that I do, or the walks of life that I have, and yet, here we are, finally on what I believe is the 13th floor. This is the moment of resurgence where the dismissal that has existed is now being removed, and the discussion is being had. I'm so grateful that the people around me push me to be brave enough to speak my truth and to have it be acknowledged in this way.
Earlier this year, Exclaim! spoke to Haviah Mighty about 13th Floor, and you can read that interview here. You can listen to 13th Floor below.
The Polaris winner was chosen by a grand jury, which voted for the best Canadian album of the year "solely on artistic merit, without consideration of genre or record sales."
Tonight's gala included performances from all the shortlisted artists, with the exception of Jessie Reyez. The gala was hosted by Raina Douris.