VANCOUVER – Montreal poet Leonard Cohen, Toronto rapper Drake and indie songstress Feist are among the artists included on the 40-album long list for the Polaris Music Prize.
It’s the first time 25-year-old Drake is in the running for the $30,000 award, given to the best Canadian album of the year.
Other newcomers to the list include Montreal electro-pop breakout Grimes, Toronto-reared folk-soul singer Cold Specks and moody Toronto indie R&B outfit the Weeknd.
Previously nominated acts include Edmonton rapper Cadence Weapon, Ottawa singer/songwriter Kathleen Edwards, Halifax rocker Joel Plaskett and Vancouver indie-folk rising star Dan Mangan, who nabbed a pair of Juno Awards earlier this year.
The Polaris is voted on by a jury of 200-plus music journalists, broadcasters and bloggers. The award is based solely on artistic merit.
A short list of 10 titles will be revealed July 17 and the winner will be announced at a gala in Toronto on Sept. 24.
Arcade Fire took last year’s honour for their widely lauded third disc “The Suburbs,” while other past winners include Final Fantasy, Caribou and Patrick Watson.