Posted by Megan Hilario, September 18, 2017


Tonight, at the Polaris Prize Music Gala, an 11 member Grand Jury debates on the 10 album short list and chooses a winner for this year’s Polaris Prize based on artistic merit. The event will be broadcasted live on CBC Music where numerous performances from the shortlisted artists will take place. Later, the official after-party is here at The Drake Hotel. We spoke to this year’s Polaris Host Raina Douris (Host, Radio 2 Morning, CBC Music) about the gala, what it means to host the event and having the life of a music guru.

Can you describe what attending the gala is like for people who’ve never watched or attended?
Attending the gala is exciting - it feels a bit electric having so much talent all in one room. There's also the sense of anticipation. Knowing that the winner is being chosen by the Grand Jury that night, in a room right beside you, gives the whole experience more drama, that who-knows-what-could-happen feeling. Also, there's the fact that the winner is chosen based on artistic merit - not record sales or radio play - so there's a different sort of attitude in the room. There's the expectation that you're going to experience art. It's not just a spectacle for the sake of ratings or social media clicks; you're going to see artists perform. You might get chills. You might cry. I definitely will cry.

What are you looking forward to most about hosting?
As someone who has been on the jury and has attended the Polaris Prize gala for a few years now, I can't begin to express how honoured I was to be asked to host the show. This is, in my opinion, one of the most important nights in Canadian music. It is so rare for Canadians to look inwards and honour their own talent without worrying about international approval. And there is so, so much talent here. To be honest, sharing the stage with so many of those talented people, it's humbling - but I am very excited just to be up there in that space with them. I also look forward to the many excited texts and questions from my parents who will be watching it online.

You're someone who lives and breathes music 24/7. What's it like, being a Polaris juror on top of your role as a radio host? How do you choose which albums you want to support for the Long List and Short List?
Hosting a music radio show means you consume untold amounts of music every week, both as part of your show and as part of your prep - so I'll be honest: sometimes at the end of the day, your ears are TIRED. It can be tough sometimes to find the time when you're ready to take in a whole brand new album, like really take it in. That's the biggest challenge, just finding the time and the mental space. But that also helps when it comes to choosing the albums you want to support. When you listen to as much music as I do in a day, if something catches your ear and sticks in your head and makes you stop and really listen - you know it's something special. The biggest thing for me is feeling. Does it make me feel? Does it feel true?

Which of this year’s posters would you take home?
This is hard. I can't decide - it's a toss up between Leonard Cohen and Lisa Leblanc. Can I have both?

Tune in tonight, on CBC Music @8PM EST as we recognize great Canadian music, and watch some amazing artists perform live. The official after-party will be held at The Drake Hotel, it's open to the public @10PM_FREE! - so come celebrate the winner, the nominees and finish off the night w/ us!

Watch Below where Raina and this year's jurors discuss the short listed albums in the Polaris 2017 Round Table Chat.

Posted in: Music