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This article was published 15/6/2020 (305 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Manitoba acts ended a one-year drought in the eyes of Polaris Music Prize voters.
Three albums by Manitoba artists — William Prince's Reliever, Begonia's Fear and Studies in Grey by Super Duty Tough Work — were among the 40 named in a reveal on the internet Monday morning.
Prince, who is from Peguis First Nation and won a Juno Award in 2017 for best contemporary roots album, released Reliever in February to much acclaim, with publications such as Rolling Stone anticipating the singer-songwriter's sophomore recording. Shortly after, the 34-year-old would sing three songs on CBS This Morning, including The Spark, Reliever's first single.
Begonia, the alter ego of Winnipeg singer-songwriter Alexa Dirks, released Fear in September 2019 and one month later was named Pop Artist of the Year by the Western Canadian Music Awards. In February, Winnipeg fans of the 32-year-old singer-songwriter showed their devotion by selling out five concerts at the West End Cultural Centre.
Super Duty Tough Work is an eight-piece group from Winnipeg that blends hip-hop, jazz and R&B. On Studies in Grey, which came out last September, the band used samples from jazz greats such as Duke Ellington, Nina Simone, Chicago DJ No I.D., and African American author Ta-Nehisi Coates to add to tracks that are "part braggadocio and part social commentary," frontman Brendan Grey told the Free Press.
No Manitoba acts made the Polaris long list in 2019, despite the organization revealing the list at a ceremony at The Forks.
Recordings by John K. Samson and Figure Walking made the Polaris long list in 2017, and Propagandhi's album Victory Lap earned a spot on the list in 2018.
Alan Small has been a journalist at the Free Press for more than 22 years in a variety of roles, the latest being a reporter in the Arts and Life section.