Scotland’s national music prize, the Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award, has officially announced the twenty outstanding Scottish albums which have made it onto this year’s coveted Longlist. In alphabetical order:

Anna Meredith FIBS
Blanck Mass Animated Violence Mild
Bossy Love Me + U
Callum Easter Here Or Nowhere
Cloth Cloth
Comfort Not Passing
Declan Welsh & The Decadent West Cheaply Bought, Expensively Sold
Elephant Sessions What Makes You
Erland Cooper Sule Skerry
Fat-Suit Waifs & Strays
Free Love Extreme Dance Anthems
Honeyblood In Plain Sight
Karine Polwart Karine Polwart’s Scottish Songbook
Lewis Capaldi Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent
Mezcla Shoot the Moon
The Ninth Wave Infancy
Sacred Paws Run Around The Sun
Vistas Everything Changes In The End

General Manager of the SMIA, Robert Kilpatrick said, “2020 is the ninth year of The SAY Award, marking what is undoubtedly our most important campaign to date.
As we all continue to navigate the personal and professional challenges we face, celebrating may feel unnatural for many of us. For our music community especially, which heavily relies on physical spaces and people coming together, 2020 has presented a vast array of challenges that last year were unimaginable.
But as we celebrate our culture, we help further articulate its value, and we draw more eyes and ears to some of the best new music Scotland has to offer.
This year’s Longlist showcases 20 outstanding albums, and it is arguably the most diverse range of albums of any SAY Award Longlist to date.  Never have we been prouder to announce the Longlist, and never more than now has it felt truly special and important to do so.
A huge congratulations to each of this year’s Nominees, and a heartfelt thank you to our partners’ incredible commitment to championing Scottish music at a time it’s never been more needed.”
Alan Morrison, Head of Music at Creative Scotland said, “In this year like no other, music has given us the strength to get through whatever life has thrown at us. Scotland’s musicians have shown us, time and time again, that their creativity can thrive in the most difficult circumstances. These 20 albums were recorded when Covid-19 wasn’t even a blip on the horizon but there’s a glorious thread of that same creativity running through them all. This thread pulls together different genres, binds debut artists and seasoned stars, and makes The SAY Award such a wonderful expression of Scotland’s world-class musical talent.”


Anna Meredith said, “In such an absolute stinker of a year I’m just very happy to be part of the amazing SAY Award and its stonking Longlist again!”

Blanck Mass said, “I am truly honoured to be considered for The SAY Award and to be Longlisted. ‘Animated Violence Mild’ was created at a time of great personal turbulence and it feels extremely cathartic to have been able to share it with everyone. Thank you for listening.”

Bossy Love said, “It’s humbling, to say the least, to be Longlisted from such a strong eligible list. The SAY Award has become an annual reason to celebrate and pore over the immense talent that Scotland is producing, and we’re very grateful to be included alongside such amazing and diverse artists.”

Callum Easter said, “‘Here or Nowhere’ is like a strange memory now, recorded in the gaps of my day to day. It feels great to make The SAY Award Longlist. Thanks to everyone that helped me see it through.”

Cloth said, “We’re delighted and extremely proud to have our debut album make The SAY Award 2020 Longlist. The SAY Award has a history of shining a light on some of Scotland’s best music, so to be included this year is something we couldn’t be happier about.”

Comfort said, “It’s great to be recognised by SAY at a time in which blatant transphobia exists within our government and mainstream media. Our “modern” Scotland has yet to legally recognise non-binary people and it is vital that queer voices be amplified during times like these. The ferocity of our record matches our determination, we feel it is important for ‘Not Passing’ to be recognised by the mainstream as we firmly believe our message must be heard. Bigotry is given a home under its many guises and it must be resisted at every chance.”

Declan Welsh & The Decadent West said, “To be recognised for our album is a very nice feeling and we’re very thankful to those who nominated us. In a very strange year where we can’t get out to see folk at gigs, it’s a welcome reminder that some folk out there connect with the tunes. Much appreciated.”

Elephant Sessions said, “We are absolutely delighted to be included in The SAY Award Longlist, particularly this year which has been so difficult for everyone. This is a huge highlight for us and it’s an honour.”

Erland Cooper said, “This is a record about the sea, our relationship with the outside world and forces outside of our control but also, as birds do, navigating through wilder weather and nurturing our own sea havens, those nests and sheltered bays we step out from each day – whether that be a home, a room, a landscape, a bed, a relationship, a friend or a book. I was inspired by the work of Margaret Tait in remembering to find the magic in the everyday. As a child, taking refuge alone in a music room in Stromness Academy to my work now being recognised in Scotland’s arts industry, I’m really honoured. To be able to create and collaborate with like minded folk is a dream. When I see a musician play, it’s like spotting a bird of prey, the air above them just sings and it inspires me to write. Thank you for including me and my music in your wider world.”

Fat-Suit said, “It really is a huge privilege to make the SAY Longlist, as we’ve followed The SAY Award since it came about in 2012. As a band we don’t place much importance on genre or classification, embracing lots of different influences and musical backgrounds, and as SAY embodies a similar ethos, it means a lot to make it this far in the process. This album came so close to not happening at all – we crowdfunded it in large part through Pledge Music, which collapsed shortly before we were set to make the record. We remade our plans on the fly and then spent a year in debt slowly paying the album off. We knew it was the right decision to go ahead and make the album at the time, despite all the difficulties, but it’s even clearer in hindsight with the current situation and restrictions placed on us. Taking over a brewery in Glasgow for 4 days, inviting all of our musical friends along and shaping the album together remains one of our career highlights.”

Free Love said, “We are extremely honoured to have ‘Extreme Dance Anthems’ included in this year’s Longlist. More now than ever it’s important to us to be able to connect with people and to know that this record is a beautiful thing.”

Honeyblood said, “I am astounded and grateful to be Longlisted for my record ‘In Plain Sight’. As always, being recognised by my peers within the industry is an unbelievable honour and I am sure to be surrounded by 19 other exceptional Scottish albums.”

Karine Polwart said, “On behalf of the ‘Scottish Songbook’ band, I’m really chuffed our album is Longlisted for The SAY Award this year. To me, it’s not just an album of covers. It’s a personal labour of love and a proper mining of memory and connection. Beyond that, from our sell out show at Leith Theatre back in August 2018 to our album release last year and the final sold-out Usher Hall gig in 2019, the whole process of pulling the ‘Scottish Songbook’ together has been one big joyful collaboration. Massive thanks to everyone whose name isn’t on the front cover.”

Lewis Capaldi said, “It’s an absolute honour to be nominated for such an incredible award. It would be quite nice to win to not bring any further prolonged shame on my household after being named as the only ‘non essential’ worker in the house.”

Mezcla said, “To have our debut album featured in this year’s SAY Award Longlist is a massive honour and a little bit of a shock! A big part of our ethos has always been to bring Jazz and improvised music to a wider audience, so it’s really invigorating for us to have ‘Shoot the Moon’ recognised in this way. It’s great to have an award in Scotland that represents all genres equally, shining a light on so many amazing projects – we’re looking forward to checking out some great new music!”

NOVA said, “‘RE-UP’, being my second rap project following my mixtape ‘Risin’ Up’, was an opportunity for me to experiment with different sounds, different flows, different producers and subject matters! It was about expressing myself and the things that were on my mind at the time of writing. My manager Sof and I had a great time putting it together, programming the launch events and promoting the release. A big thank you goes out to all the producers who contributed and everyone who has streamed ‘RE-UP’ – and now The SAY Award for the recognition!”

Sacred Paws said, “We are honoured to be part of this year’s incredible Longlist. The people at SAY help promote Scottish music in such an inventive and celebratory way and they continue to help us believe in ourselves too. Thank you!”

SHHE said, “Thank you to The SAY Award, SMIA and all nominators for including my album on this year’s Longlist. It’s been an incredible year for Scottish music and I’m honoured and proud to be a part of a community that supports, champions and celebrates artists in the way that The SAY Award does.”

The Ninth Wave said, “When making ‘Infancy’, The SAY Award was always in the backs of our minds. With some of our biggest inspirations having won in the past, the thought of being up there among those names was ever-present, wondering if people will be as inspired by your album as you have been by theirs. We make music to connect to people on a personal level, and the fact that so many people thought of us when nominating their favourite Scottish Album of the Year makes us feel like maybe we’re doing our jobs right. Scotland has such a wealth of talent and we are so proud to be part of this powerful scene.”

Vistas said, “It’s an absolute honour to be included in this year’s SAY Award Longlist and to be recognised for our debut album makes it even more special. The songs on ‘Everything Changes In The End’ tell stories of youth and friendship growing up in Scotland so the fact it’s garnered support from figures in the Scottish music scene is wonderful. We are incredibly proud that many of the themes, lyrics, sounds and influences that helped shape our album are rooted in Scotland. Thank you very much for the nomination.”
Following a turbulent few months in the Scottish music industry, The SAY Award’s Live at the Longlist virtual event brought artists, industry professionals and music fans together from across the globe. Filmed at Edinburgh venues 54EP and Summerhall and co-hosted by Nicola Meighan and Vic Galloway, the digital event saw the exclusive reveal of the highly-anticipated Longlist, with viewers treated to special, socially distanced performances from former SAY Award nominees Free Love, Kinnaris Quintet and Sacred Paws.
The SAY Award Longlist is the product of an extraordinary nationwide consultation; encapsulating the strength and diversity of Scotland’s music scene. This year, a record-breaking 362 album submissions were narrowed down to the 20-strong Longlist by 100 impartial nominators representing a variety of genres including jazz, classical, hip-hop, pop, trad folk, rock, electronic, indie and many more. The newly announced Longlist will now be whittled down to a final 10 albums to make up this year’s Shortlist, one of which can be chosen by music fans in a 72-hour public vote. From 5th – 7th October, music fans have the chance to ensure their favourite album from the Longlist makes it onto the Shortlist by voting at The top 10 albums to make the Shortlist will then be announced on 8th October 2020 ahead of the winner announcement on Thursday 29th October
The winner of The SAY Award will collect £20,000, one of the most lucrative prize funds in the UK, while all nine runners-up are each awarded £1,000 and their own bespoke award. To date, The SAY Award has distributed over £232,000 in prize money across eight previous campaigns, with 2020 set to be another stellar year in showcasing the best of Scotland’s music industry.
Developed and produced by the Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA), the 2020 campaign will be delivered in partnership with Creative Scotland, City of Edinburgh Council, YouTube Music, 54EP, Sweetdram, Culture & Business Fund Scotland via Arts & Business Scotland, PPL, Summerhall, Ticketmaster and new charity partner Music Declares Emergency.
Previous winners of The SAY Award include Auntie Flo ‘Radio Highlife’ (2019), Young Fathers ‘Cocoa Sugar’ (2018), Sacred Paws ‘Strike A Match’ (2017), Anna Meredith ‘Varmints’ (2016), Kathryn Joseph ‘Bones You Have Thrown Me And Blood I’ve Spilled’ (2015), Young Fathers ‘Tape Two’ (2014), RM Hubbert ‘Thirteen Lost & Found’ (2013) and the inaugural winner Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat ‘Everything’s Getting Older’ (2012).
To keep up with The SAY Award 2020 journey, make sure you follow the award on Twitter @SAYaward, Instagram @sayaward and Facebook @SAYaward

Leave a Reply