This year's Polaris Music Prize winner Kaytranada has the stamp of approval from Madonna and the adoration of Janet Jackson fans — but he's still holding out for the love of Erykah Badu.
The Haitian-Canadian producer, 24, wasted little time after winning the Polaris prize for his album "99.9%'' before revealing his dream to collaborate with the soulful "On & On'' singer.
"Erykah Badu, please holler at me,'' the soft-spoken musician said as he spoke to reporters late Monday.
"Answer my text messages.''
Kaytranada performs on Day 1 of Lovebox festival taking place at Victoria park on July 17, 2015 in London.
Perhaps winning one of Canada's most prestigious music prizes — one that has been given to Arcade Fire and Caribou in the past — will help the producer get the attention of Badu, who is known for being incredibly selective of who she works with.
If that doesn't happen in the short term, Kaytranada still has the bragging rights of being the first Polaris winner in its 11-year history to have roots in the sounds of hip hop and soul.
"I know this is something that's been here for years,'' he said of the prize.
"Now my name is on the checklist for history.''
Kaytranada, who was born Louis Kevin Celestin, has been slowly gaining popularity in underground music circles ever since he released his first tracks in 2010.
Kaytranada performs on stage during day 3 of Sonar Festival 2016 on June 18, 2016 in Barcelona.
His reworking of Janet Jackson's 1993 hit "If'' went viral four years ago, which helped him grab the attention of Madonna. She handpicked him to open two stops on her Rebel Heart Tour last year.
But it was "99.9%'' that put him on the radar with mainstream critics and audiences, partly for the album's numerous collaborations with hip hop and R&B favourites like Anderson Paak, Little Dragon and U.K. singer Craig David.
Other songs with Chance the Rapper and Talib Kweli only contributed to the producer's credibility.
But part of Kaytranada's appeal is that he transcends genres with songs that fuse elements of hip hop, electronic, disco and soul music into a package that's hard to define.
If his approach serves as an example for younger musicians trying to find their sound then Kaytranada will be pleased.
"I hope the next generation are not afraid to do more,'' he said, dressed in overalls and a cap.
"They can just do whatever they want.''
""Now my name is on the checklist for history."
As part of his win, Kaytranada goes home with a $50,000 cash prize, which he says he'll consider using for new production gear.
An 11-member grand jury selected Kaytranada from a short list of 10 nominees, which included other favourites like pop singer Carly Rae Jepsen and electronic adventurer Grimes.
Kaytranada performs onstage at the 2016 Panorama NYC Festival.
The win capped a diverse show at the Carlu event hall in downtown Toronto that featured a strong presence of female musicians who were represented in six of the 10 nominated projects.
Several of those nominees performed, but not Kaytranada himself, who sat alongside the stage but opted not to step onto it before his win.
Jepsen sang "Your Type'' from her Polaris-nominated 2015 album "Emotion'' while hard rockers White Lung delivered a relentless double-whammy of their tracks "Below'' and "Sister'' that left the audience stunned.
Other surprises kept the evening alive, including celebrity video endorsements of the nominees which were introduced as a new feature this year.
"Stranger Things'' actor Finn Wolfhard delivered with his pledge of allegiance to Toronto punk rockers Pup.
"They are so, I guess, committed to being Canadian,'' said the 13-year-old actor, who plays Mike on the Netflix series.
Wolfhard, who previously starred in a Pup music video, then challenged the band to a game of Dungeons & Dragons, in a nod to his breakout summer TV show.
Appearances from Iggy Pop, who offered his support to nominee U.S. Girls and Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, backing up Regina singer-songwriter Andy Shauf, gave the event some of its lighter moments.
Earlier in the evening Polaris founder Steve Jordan dedicated this year's event to French-Canadian broadcaster Andreanne Sasseville, who is fighting breast cancer, and the Tragically Hip, whose frontman Gord Downie who has terminal brain cancer.
Jordan told the audience that inspiration from the Hip drove him to get involved in the music industry.
"I consider Gord Downie to be a godfather of Polaris,'' he said.
"And not in the gangster way... but maybe a little bit.''
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