American singer-songwriter, poet and visual artist Patti Smith is in Sweden to pick up this year's prestigious Polar Music Prize (she is sharing the honor with the Kronos Quartet).
She received the prize from the Swedish king, but it was not him that Smith is so excited about.
No, it is the fact that she will meet her idol, author Henning Mankell. It’s Mankell, actually, that made her come to pick up her prize in the first place.
“I can’t believe that I’m going to meet him after reading all of his books,” Smith mused. “It’s a happy part of life!” Smith, who was born in Chicago but grew up in New Jersey, went on to say that being a rocker is something everyone can do.
“I once met some troubled teens in a church in Dublin,” she said, “and one young boy, a beautiful young boy, said that he wished that he could have a band but he didn’t think that would happen. I said of course you can have a band, rock n’ roll belongs to the people, you have the right to enter the arena as much as everyone.” That boy turned out to be the drummer of U2 (Larry Mullen, Jr.).
For more info on the Polar Music Prize, see Polarmusicprize.org
Our earlier text about the announcement and the awardees: Patti Smith, Kronos Quartet to receive 2011 Polar Prize