The 2023 Polar Music Prize recipients have been announced, and they are none other than Angélique Kidjo, Chris Blackwell, and Arvo Pärt. The Polar Music Prize, which has been celebrated as one of music’s most prestigious honors since its inception in 1992, recognizes the achievements of some of the world’s most significant and inspiring musical figures. The prize is presented in Stockholm in the presence of the Swedish Royal Family, and each Laureate receives prize money of 600,000 Swedish Kroner (approximately £47,681/US $57,384).
The three 2023 Polar Music Prize Laureates have made an indelible global impact with their music. Angélique Kidjo is a five-time Grammy Award-winning Beninese artist and songwriter who has long been recognized as one of the greatest singer-songwriters in international music. She is constantly exploring and challenging her art and is an inspiration to many. Marie Ledin, Managing Director of the Polar Music Prize, stated that the Prize was thrilled to recognize Kidjo’s talent and her important work with the Batonga Foundation.
Kidjo herself expressed her gratitude at being awarded the Polar Music Prize, calling it humbling and acknowledging the responsibility that comes with being bestowed such an honor. As a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and ambassador of music, she plans to use her award to help create a world in which everyone can live in peace. Angélique Kidjo is a creative force with 16 albums to her name, and Time Magazine named her “Africa’s premier diva.” She has won respect from her peers with her striking voice, stage presence, and fluency in multiple cultures and languages.
Apart from her music career, Kidjo travels the world advocating on behalf of children in her capacity as a UNICEF and OXFAM Goodwill Ambassador. She has also created the Batonga Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting the education of young girls in Africa.
Chris Blackwell, the founder of Island Records, one of the UK’s independent record labels, is another of the 2023 Polar Music Prize Laureates. Blackwell has been instrumental in the success of a vast number of artists, including Bob Marley, U2, and Grace Jones, and has helped to shape the music industry in profound ways.
The third 2023 Polar Music Prize Laureate is Arvo Pärt, the world’s most performed living composer. Pärt is an Estonian composer who is known for his minimalist style, which has been described as mystical and otherworldly. He is a deeply spiritual person, and his music often reflects that spirituality.
The Polar Music Prize awards committee is an independent 11-member board, which receives nominations from the public as well as from the International Music Council, the UNESCO-founded NGO that promotes geographical and musical diversity. The Polar Music Prize has previously honored iconic figures such as Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Peter Gabriel, Chuck Berry, Ennio Morricone, Led Zeppelin, Patti Smith, Stevie Wonder, and many others.
The 2023 Polar Music Prize ceremony will take place on Tuesday, May 23, at the Grand Hôtel in Stockholm, Sweden. It promises to be a fantastic event, celebrating the incredible achievements of three musical giants who have left an indelible mark on the world of music.