Sufjan Stevens made enough Illinoise with his 2005 album to earn him the inaugural New Pantheon Music Prize.
Beating out artists like Arcade Fire, Fiona Apple, M.I.A., Antony and the Johnsons, and others, Stevens claimed the $5,000 cash prize and New Pantheon Music Prize trophy. The award picks up where the Shortlist Prize left off, honoring albums that have sold less than 500,000 copies in the U.S.
In November of last year, the Shortlist Prize was scrapped due to fighting amongst its founders, Tom Sarig and Greg Spotts when Spotts made a move away from music, towards politics. Sarig kept the dream alive by founding the New Pantheon award.
“We set up the New Pantheon simply to spotlight, honor, and grow the audiences for some of the most remarkable music of the last year,” Sarig said in a statement on the New Pantheon site.
Ninety-one initial nominees were announced in December and ten finalists were announced in January as selected by a panel of artists, actors, and music journalists, including Beck, Dave Matthews, ?uestlove, Ric Ocasek and Shirley Manson.
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