SOCAN member Haviah Mighty won the 2019 edition of the $50,000 Polaris Prize for the best album in Canada, on Sept. 16, 2019, at The Carlu in downtown Toronto.
Mighty’s winning album 13th Floor ranges from the hard, socially conscious rap of “Thirteen,” to the lighter, reggae-flavoured dismissal of “Wishy Washy,” to the takedown of toxic masculinity found on “In Women Colour.” Whether Mighty is spitting rapid-fire bars over complex beats, or singing languidly to make her point, she’s crafted a compelling work on which the 11-person Polaris Grand Jury agreed.
Graciously and gratefully accepting the award onstage from last year’s winner Jeremy Dutcher, Mighty – whose explosive performance (her first with a live band) earlier in the Gala earned a standing ovation – said, “I’ve been working on being a musician for a really long time, and I’ve put out a lot of music, with very few accolades and very little reward… This is the first time I’ve been able to speak my truth… My truth, and how important it is, and how dismissed it often is, and how I don’t care about that. This needs to come out… I’ve had the same thoughts and the same sentiments since high school, and every time, it was not the time, or it wasn’t the place; and here and now, at the Polaris 2019, it is the time and place.” She also thanked everyone on her team.
The 2018 gala featured captivating live performances from nine of the 10 short-list nominees, each of whom received a $3,000 prize: PUP, Marie Davidson, Shad (who featured a vocal from previous 2017 Polaris Prize winner Lido Pimienta), Elisapie (whose two songs were dramatic and powerful), Haviah Mighty, Les Louanges, Dominique Fils-Aimé, FET.NAT, Snotty Nose Rez Kids (whose incendiary mini-set of Indigenous rap earned another standing ovation). Nominee Jessie Reyez, who’s been unable to perform onstage since she suffered a back injury this summer, was nonetheless present the event.
Earlier in the evening, at the pre-show reception, SOCAN sponsored each attendee’s first glass of wine, as well as all of their light food, including fish tacos, grilled cheese sandwiches, meatballs with mashed potatoes, and Thai noodles.
SOCAN congratulates Haviah Mighty, and all of the nominees, on these great career achievements!