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Iggy Pop has been honoured with the Polar Music Prize.
The 'Lust for Life' hitmaker and the Ensemble intercontemporain were presented with the 2022 accolade by King Carl XVI Gustaf at a gala ceremony at The Grand Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden, on Tuesday (24.05.22), while songwriter Diane Warren was also handed the 2020 award after the ceremony was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Each recipient of the prestigious honour receives prize money of one million Swedish Krona, the equivalent of more than $100,000.
Iggy said: “Recognition is a hard mistress…Ada Osterberg, a Swedish émigré to the US, adopted my father James…[Ada] was a Red Cross nurse...and raised my dad during the great depression… These were great people. Real people.
“I am neither great nor real. At this point, I am a myth. Happily, music is a form of myth.. All beauty derives from believing in myth. But every so often, you gottta get real…Like balls. That’s how I got here. So when you think about music, when you think about this prize, and if you remember me, think about the balls.”
Matthias Pintscher, musical director, and Olivier Leymarie, director general, accepted the honour on behalf of Ensemble intercontemporain, and admitted they felt "so honoured" to join the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith, Sir Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan and Metallica in being chosen for the prize.
They said: "We would like to express our gratitude for receiving the Polar Music Prize and the recognition for our work and mission that comes with it. It is rare that a collective like ours is being awarded a prize of this highest prestige. It makes it extra special for us. We feel so honoured.
“To receive The Polar Music Prize, which has been awarded to some of the greatest musical icons, means to join a musical pantheon. The Ensemble is accepting this recognition with great joy, a recognition which is truly a reward, an honor that will encourage us to keep moving forward and continue to inspire other musical partners and creators all over the world.”
In her speech, Diane reflected on how "lucky" she is thanks to the opportunities her career have brought her.
She said: "I've always looked at my songs as a passport. They have taken me, a kid from Van Nuys, California with the crazy dream of becoming a songwriter, to many places I could only imagine going to - to the voices of some of the greatest singers on the planet, to the hearts of people I will never know all over the world that my songs have touched in some way and somehow have become a part of the soundtracks of their lives, to the Academy Awards, to so many places I only fantasised of going to. To this night, to this country, to this prestigious award. I can't believe my name is now among those great artists who have also received this honour…
“This is what I still wake up every day and live to do. I never for a minute do not realize how lucky I am. That I can write a song to make someone feel good, feel seen, feel understood, feel less alone. How cool is that? Thank you for this award and for an amazing night I will never forget.”
Every year, the Polar Music prize honours two Laureates, one representing popular music and one classical. The honour was celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.