Listen to this year's winners of Sweden's Polar Music Prize

AFP/The Local
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Listen to this year's winners of Sweden's Polar Music Prize

Sweden's biggest music award will this year go to American hit-song writer Diane Warren and Russian-born star soprano Anna Netrebko.


The laureates will receive the Polar Music Prize, including one million kronor ($103,000) each, at a ceremony in Stockholm on June 9th attended by King Carl XVI Gustaf.

Known as the "New Callas", 48-year-old Netrebko is a master of both the Russian and bel canto styles as well as big dramatic roles like Tosca in Puccini's classic opera.

"When I get on stage, something happens and the quality of the performance is 10 times better, like I have a voice telling me what to do. It's always been with me," she said in a statement for the prize.

Warren, 63, nominated 11 times for an Oscar, has penned hits for artists such as Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Justin Bieber and Mary J Blige.

"I don't have confidence in myself as a human being, but I have unshakeable confidence in my music," Warren said. "When I know something is right, when I know a song is right for somebody… I believe, and it's unshakeable."

The Polar was established in 1989 by the late Stig Anderson, manager of Swedish pop superstars Abba, and selects two or three laureates each year.

The award aims to "break down musical boundaries by bringing together people from all the different worlds of music".

Past winners have included Grandmaster Flash, Metallica, the Afghan National Institute of Music, Sting, Bob Dylan, Pierre Boulez, Ravi Shankar and Dizzy Gillespie.

Listen to interviews with Diane Warren and Anna Netrebko here.


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