While people in the U.S. are still talking about last weekend’s Grammy’s, Europe is getting set for the Polar Music Prize awards ceremony, which will take place on June 11 in Stockholm, Sweden. One of this year’s laureates is the legendary hip hop artist Grandmaster Flash.
The Polar Music Prize, which has often been dubbed the “Nobel Prize of Music” in Sweden, is a Swedish international award founded in 1989 by Stig Anderson, best known as the manager of the Swedish band ABBA, with a donation to the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. The award is annually given to one contemporary musician and one classical musician. Without any restrictions of nationality, the prize is to be “awarded for significant achievements in music and/or musical activity, or for achievements which are found to be of great potential importance for music or musical activity, and it shall be referable to all fields within or closely connected with music.”
In a press statement, the Polar Music Prize press stated the following: “Grandmaster Flash is one of the undisputed pioneers of hip hop, a genre of music that is the dominant force in 21st-century popular music; he is rightly heralded as a hip hop virtuoso. Joseph Saddler, known as Grandmaster Flash emerged from the Bronx in the early 1970s and was one of the first to manipulate music by placing his fingers on the vinyl, perfecting beat-looping and discovering many of the iconic beats still commonly sampled today. He is a musician, a scientist, a storyteller, and a cultural tour de force.
Saddler, aka Grandmaster Flash, said: “It is such an honor, because a lot of times in our culture, what we do as DJs gets overlooked. So for these people to say, lets give this to someone who doesn’t necessarily use a microphone as their gift…for me to be picked out of so many people, I am so, so deeply honored.”
Past winners include Paul McCartney, Elton Jonh, BB King, Metallica, and other well-known international artists.
This year’s ceremony will be presided by His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and will be broadcast on network television in select European cities as well as streamed online in select countries.