Iggy Pop and Diane Warren Honored with Polar Music Prize

Iggy Pop, born James Newell Osterberg and the Ensemble intercontemporain were presented with the 2022 Polar Music Prize at a gala prize ceremony held in Stockholm, Sweden. In addition, Diane Warren received the 2020 Polar Music Prize, after the ceremony was delayed due to Covid. The honour was presented to the three Laureates by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden. Each recipient will receive prize money of one million Swedish Krona (GB £81k / US $101k). This year marks 30 years of the Polar Music Prize, which is globally recognised as the world’s most prestigious award for music.

Iggy Pop, on receiving the award, 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 of Ensemble intercontemporain, in a joint speech 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 honored.

“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.”

Diane Warren, one of the most successful contemporary songwriters of our time and 13-time Academy Award nominee, is the 2020 Polar Music Prize Laureate and was also in attendance at tonight’s ceremony to receive her prize.

Diane Warren 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 fantasized 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 honor…

“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.”

The ceremony and banquet took place at The Grand Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden. Musical performances throughout the evening are always a huge highlight, and this year was no exception. Swedish stars Molly Sandén and Darin performed songs written by Diane Warren. Molly sang ‘I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing’ and Darin performed ‘Because You Loved Me.’ Another stand out moment was Bod Hund’s Swedish version of Iggy Pop’s ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’, translated as ‘Din Hund.’

Each year, the Polar Music Prize honours two Laureates, one representing popular music and one classical. It was founded in 1989 by the late Stig “Stikkan” Anderson, a legend in the history of Swedish music and publisher, lyricist and manager of ABBA, to celebrate excellence in music. Stig Anderson believed that music was equally as important to society as, for example, science, medicine and literature, and should have a prize to reflect this.

The first recipient of the Polar Music Prize was Sir Paul McCartney in 1992. Bruce Springsteen,  Björk, Patti Smith, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Grandmaster Flash, Ann-Sophie Mutter and Metallica  and more have all been awarded the prize.

The 2022 event was broadcast live on Swedish national television (TV4) at 8pm CET and can be viewed throughout Europe via TV4 Play. The ceremony will be broadcast on YouTube from 5.30pm CET youtube.com/c/Polarmusicprizeofficial, the banquet starts at 8pm and ends at 10pm.