Jamie Cullum, Tomas Ledin and Heston Blumenthal during the Polar Music Talks. Photo: Jorge Herrera

The Power of Music

The Polar Music Prize is one of the most prestigious and unique music prizes in the world. The 2016 Laureates are the exceptional Swedish songwriter, record producer and singer Max Martin and the amazing Italian mezzo-soprano opera singer Cecilia Bartoli. To celebrate the winners we all gathered at the residence for Polar Talks – chaired by Marie Ledin, managing director of the Polar Prize – to hear about the power of music.

If you combine the maestro on popular science Professor Robert Winston, the British chef Heston Blumentahl and the singer and producer Christer Björkman you get a very potent and inspiring mix. And then you add the musician and sing-a song-writer Jamie Cullum. That was the set up for yesterday’s Polar Talks at the Swedish residence in London. What an evening!

Professor Lord Winston and Ambassador Nicola Clase. Photo: Jorge Herrera

Hestom Blumenthal directing an experiments with wine and music. Photo: Jorge Herrera

Christer Björkman interviewed by Russ Kane. Photo: Jorge Herrera

There you had professor Winston explaining the role of music through the lens of a scientist. Through him we made some important discoveries about our relationship of the brain with music. Heston Blumentahl taught us about the connection between food and sound. We learned that background music does matter when you taste your wine. Then on a different note the singer Christer Björkman explained why Swedes are great at writing catchy pop songs. Björkman is the person in charge of Melodifestivalen – the national selection process – that chooses the song that will represent Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest. It was a very special treat to have the great artist Jamie Cullum perform Max Martin songs at the residence.

After an evening like that you are reminded about the importance of music in our lives. There is so much that can be said about music, but the most important aspect that I felt was a recurring theme throughout the evening was how music influences.

The Polar Music Prize was founded in 1989 by the late Stig ”Stikkan” Anderson, one of the true greats in the history of popular music. As the publisher, lyricist and manager of ABBA, he played a key role in their enormous success. “The Polar Music Prize is awarded to individuals, groups and institutions in recognition of exceptional achievements”. Among earlier laureates you will find artists like Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney. This year’s ceremony will be held on June 16 in the Stockholm Concert Hall. The Prize is presented by His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf. 

Connected to the Polar Prize are the seminars Polar Talks. “These seminars are a way of focusing on the power of music, where the role of music is discussed from both creative and business perspectives and applied internationally. The Polar Talks invite key figures from around the world to explore all kinds of contexts and connections to music, and strive to constantly create a new dialogue thanks to music.”

The evening ended with Jamie Cullum performing songs by 2016 Polar Music Prize laureate Max Martin. Photo: Jorge Herrera

Watch a short clip with Jamie Cullum interpreting “Can’t Feel My Face” originally sung by The Weeknd. The song is written by 2016 Polar Music Prize laureate Max Martin.

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