GRANDMASTER FLASH BECOMES FIRST DJ TO WIN “NOBEL PRIZE FOR MUSIC”
Grandmaster Flash has become the first DJ to win the Polar Music Prize, often dubbed the "Nobel Prize For Music".
The prize was founded by Stig Anderson, better known as ABBA's lyricist and manager, in 1989. Previous winners include Led Zeppelin, BB King, Metallica, and Paul McCartney.
Flash, real name Joseph Saddler, accepted the prize from the King of Sweden, saying the award was "in honour of every DJ, every rapper, every graffiti artist, and every breakdancer".
He further commented: "This thing that I did had not existed before, and I am one of many where I come from. It ended up being called hip-hop, taking the drum break from pop, rock, jazz, blues, funk, disco, R+B, and using duplicate copies of records. I would take one section and repeat it over and over again."
We at DJ Mag HQ are quite glad that he did. The prize money equates to roughly $130,000.
Joseph Saddler's family emigrated to the United States from Barbados, in the Caribbean. He grew up in the Bronx in New York City where he attended Samuel Gompers High School, a public vocational school. There, he learned how to repair electronic equipment. Saddler's parents played an important role in his interest in music. His parents came from Barbados and his father was a big fan of Caribbean and African American records.
As a child, Saddler was fascinated by his father's record collection. In an interview, he reflected: "My father was a very heavy record collector. He still thinks that he has the strongest collection. I used to open his closets and just watch all the records he had. I used to get into trouble for touching his records, but I'd go right back and bother them."
Saddler's early interest in DJing came from this fascination with his father's record collection as well as his mother's desire for him to educate himself in electronics. After high school, he became involved in the earliest New York DJ scene, attending parties set up by early luminaries, like DJ Kool Herc.