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(L-R): Terra Lightfoot, Myst Milano, DijahSB, Sean Leon, and Jeff Cancade aka Devours.

2024 Polaris Music Prize Long List Revealed

The coveted Canadian music prize recognized first-time nominees including the Beaches, Bambii, Haley Blais, and more.

by Emma Johnston-Wheeler

The Polaris Music Prize has officially revealed the long list contenders for 2024, representing the best Canadian album of the year. Selected by a team of 220 jurors, 40 contenders were unveiled at a press conference on June 11 at Sonic Boom Records in Toronto.

The rows of vinyl felt extra special on this day since they weren’t just being perused by typical music enthusiasts, but also buzzing emerging musicians and their families, artist managers, label reps, and music journalists. 

Adding to the anticipation, a DJ bopped around to his set at the back of the store, where a TV screen behind him promised to drop the official long list video at 6 p.m sharp. Five minutes to, you could look across any one of Sonic Boom’s several aisles and see an eager face peering up to make sure they weren’t missing anything. 

“It’s really amazing to see artists that don’t get as much backing in terms of not having a major label, artists like Myst Milano and DijahSB on the long list, who are really able to represent not just Toronto but Canada,” said music journalist and juror Kate Killet. “They’re really doing something different within their own genre and within our pocket, but also pushing to create something different.” 

Amber Moyle, the executive director of Polaris music prize promptly invited everyone to approach the DJ booth and incited applause for the 220 jury members and partners– Factor, Canada Council, Socan, Ontario Creates, Stingray, Serius XM and the Slaight Family Foundation who donates a $50,000 prize to the winner every year.

Without further delay, the long list was revealed as follows:

Allie XGirl With No Face 

BambiiInfinity Club

Big|BraveA Chaos of Flowers

The BeachesBlame My Ex

Haley BlaisWisecrack

Charlotte Cardin 99 Nights

Beverly Glenn-CopelandThe Ones Ahead

CorridorMimi

Helena DelandGoodnight Summerland

DijahSBThe Flower That Knew

Jeremy DutcherMotewolonuwok

ElisapieInuktitut

Annie-Claude DeschênesLes Manières de table

DevoursHomecoming Queen

Ducks Ltd.Harm’s Way

Dominique Fils-AiméOur Roots Run Deep

Shane GhostkeeperSongs For My People

KarkwaDans la seconde

KaytraminéKaytraminé

Ken ModeVoid

La ForceXO Skeleton

La Sécurité Stay Safe!

Cindy LeeDiamond Jubilee

Sean LeonIn Loving Memory

Terra LightfootHealing Power

LoonyLoony

Jon MckielHex

Myst MilanoBeyond the Uncanny Valley

NobroSet Your Pussy Free

NyssaShake Me Where I’m Foolish

PeladaAhora Más Que Nunca

Peter PeterÉther

Population IIÉlectrons libres du québec

Allison RussellThe Returner

Arielle SoucyIl n’y a rien que je ne suis pas

Super Duty Tough WorkParadigm Shift

TalkLord of the Flies & Birds & Bees

Teke::Teke Hagata

TobiPanic

Tomb MoldThe Enduring Spirit

The artists on site — Myst Milano, Devours, DijahSB, Terra Lightfoot, and Sean Leon — were then rounded up for photos in front of a hidden installation of new releases by the nominees (concealed by a velvet curtain) before being asked to do the honours of revealing the albums. Naturally, they each took a turn posing for photos with their babies. 

“It’s just a great feeling to know that 200 some odd people sat down and listened to a whole bunch of albums and decided that mine was valuable enough to be able to deserve this prestige,” said DijahSB. “That kind of validation really helps me on my journey as an artist, just knowing that people are listening and really understanding.”

“I want to say exactly what Dijah just said,” laughed Terra Lightfoot, adding “It’s really important in the industry right now to have 220 music industry folks that are listening to this many records and telling us what they think are the best ones. And I think that the industry needs that little pick me up right now. I really needed this pick me up and I’m grateful for it.”

Many of the artists on the long list have never been nominated before, including Toronto’s The Beaches, and Bambii. The subsequent shortlist of 10 finalists will be announced on July 11. The winner, who will receive the $50,000 grand prize, will then be selected by a grand jury and revealed at a live gala event in on Sept. 17 at Toronto’s Massey Hall.