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Buffy Sainte-Marie Wins 2015 Polaris Music Prize

09/22/2015 11:41 EDT | Updated 09/22/2015 11:59 EDT

When Buffy Sainte-Marie found out she'd be taking home the 2015 Polaris Music Prize, she was a little stunned she beat out her competitors.

"I really am surprised," she said at Monday night's gala.

“I bought everybody’s album and listened to every cut and they’re all so good."

The award goes to the best full-length Canadian album based on artistic merit, regardless of genre, sales, or record label. An 11-person jury of music critics, bloggers and broadcasters named her album "Power in the Blood" the best record released last year.

“I’m very very grateful," she said in a press release. "I’ll use some of the money to upgrade my studio."

The 74-year-old singer-songwriter is the oldest artist to receive the $50,000 prize, and is the second indigenous recipient. Last year, Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq took home the prize.

“Aboriginal music has been good for a very long time, but nobody has been listening to it,” Sainte-Marie said.

"Power in the Blood" is Sainte-Marie's 20th album, which ranges in genre from blues to rockabilly, according to The Globe and Mail.

“The biggest difference between "Power in the Blood" and the other albums I’ve made — that have been very diverse and had all different kinds of music — is that this one got heard," she told the Globe.

The album features a modified version of UB40's "Sing Our Own Song," which is about the Idle No More movement.

“Ever since the sixties I’ve been making diverse albums, and every single album has had big love songs, which has managed to support me, like 'Up Where We Belong,'” she told the Globe.

“But on every album there’s been songs that have some kind of social meaning to them.”

"Power in the Blood" beat out albums by Alvvays, BADBADNOTGOOD, BRaids, Jennifer Castle, Tobias Jesso Jr., Drake, Ghostface Killah, The New Pornographers, Viet Cong, and 2008 winner Caribou. Each runner-up will receive $3,000.

At the gala, five artists — including Alvvays, Braids, and Sainte-Marie — performed songs from their shortlisted albums.

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