Salluit-raised, Montreal-based singer-songwriter Elisapie (Elisapie Isaac) is among the 40 musicians long-listed for this year’s Polaris Music Prize, awarded annually to the best Canadian album of the year, for her third studio album The Ballad of the Runaway Girl (2018).
Weaving together Inuktitut, French and English, The Ballad of the Runaway Girl was recorded in a small chalet in rural Quebec and unflinchingly tackles themes of identity, depression and motherhood.
“This is definitely an album with its own rhythm, and I think it also has to do with me going back to the North,” Elisapie told the Inuit Art Quarterly in late 2018. “After so many years of living in the South, I realized that I needed to redefine who I was.”
She has also highlighted how the follow-up to her sophomore effort Travelling Love (2012) captures the process of creating, her own personal journeys and establishing deeper cultural connections.
“I wanted to create an emotion, because what I felt in living and recording in the moment was something magical. We have this amazing capacity to live in the moment, and that’s what every individual wants to connect with,” she added. “Realizing that this is how we heal—by living in the present—is probably what saved me. So, this album is really about a journey. It’s about affirming who I am—as a woman, as a mother—and about trying to find those core values we have as Inuit.”
Elisapie joins 39 fellow musicians representing a range of genres including Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Shawn Mendes and Carly Rae Jepsen. The 10 shortlisted albums will be announced on July 16, 2019, with the $50,000 award presented at a ceremony at the Carlu in Toronto, ON, on September 16, 2019.
Previous winners of Polaris Prize include Jeremy Dutcher, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Tanya Tagaq.