THE SCOTTISH ALBUM OF THE YEAR AWARD ANNOUNCE 2021’S LONGLIST FOR BUMPER 10TH YEAR
20 OUTSTANDING SCOTTISH ALBUMS ANNOUNCED VIA VIRTUAL ‘LIVE AT THE LONGLIST’
ARTISTS IN THE RUNNING FOR £20K PRIZE AND COVETED TITLE INCLUDE BEMZ, BIFFY CLYRO, JOESEF, LIZZIE REID, MOGWAI, TAAHLIAH, THE SNUTS AND MORE
MUSIC FANS GIVEN CHANCE TO ‘HAVE THEIR SAY’ IN PUBLIC VOTE
SAY AWARD CEREMONY OPEN TO MUSIC FANS FOR THE FIRST TIME, WITH TICKETS ON SALE NOW FOR 23RD OCTOBER EVENT AT EDINBURGH’S USHER HALL
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 the award’s tenth year; whittled down from 327 eligible albums by 100 impartial music industry Nominators. All twenty albums were released during the COVID-19 pandemic, amidst huge turmoil for the music industry, making it an even more extraordinary feat for each and every artist.
In alphabetical order, The SAY Award Longlist for 2021 is as follows:
AiiTee – ‘Love Don’t Fall’
Andrew Wasylyk – ‘Fugitive Light And Themes Of Consolation’
Arab Strap – ‘As Days Get Dark’
Bemz – ‘Saint of Lost Causes’
Biffy Clyro – ‘A Celebration of Endings’
Carla J. Easton – ‘WEIRDO’
Erland Cooper – ‘Landform (Feat. Marta Salogni)’
Fergus McCreadie – ‘Cairn’
Jenny Sturgeon – ‘The Living Mountain’
Joesef – ‘Does It Make You Feel Good?’
Kübler Ross – ‘Kübler Ross’
Lizzie Reid – ‘Cubicle’
Matt Carmichael – ‘Where Will the River Flow’
Mogwai – ‘As The Love Continues’
Paul Towndrow – ‘Deepening The River’
Rachel Newton – ‘To The Awe’
Stanley Odd – ‘STAY ODD’
TAAHLIAH – ‘Angelica’
The Ninth Wave – ‘Happy Days!’
The Snuts – ‘W.L.’
Robert Kilpatrick, Creative Projects and Communications Director at the Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA) said, “Each year, the announcement of the 20-strong SAY Award Longlist provides an important focal point to both reflect on and celebrate the strength and diversity of Scotland’s recorded output; recognising the impact that music has on our lives and in driving our ever-evolving cultural identity as a nation.
“With each of this year’s Longlisted albums having been released throughout the pandemic, that reflection sees a new depth, and “strength” in the context of 2021 embodies much more than artistic merit – it’s underpinned by resilience, passion and endurance throughout challenges that our artists and music industry in particular have sorely felt.
“Music’s power often comes from its ability to tap into inner parts of ourselves; inspiring us, comforting us and ultimately helping us better understand both ourselves and each other. It brings us together, and at a time of mass uncertainty and turbulence where we’ve had to be apart, never has its intrinsic power felt more special and important.
“With a massive congratulations to 2021’s Longlist also comes a thank you – to the artists and their teams for providing escape, connection and outstanding bodies of work at a time when we’ve never needed them more. We can’t wait to celebrate these records – and ten years of SAY – at this year’s ceremony; our biggest to date, and what will undoubtedly be an incredible night to remember for artists, industry and music fans alike.”
Alan Morrison, Head of Music at Creative Scotland said: “If you need proof that the Scottish music scene is emerging strong and defiant from months of lockdown, then look no further than this year’s SAY Award Longlist. With three Official UK Charts No1 albums, an explosion of diversity from some stars of tomorrow and positive recognition of our flourishing grassroots jazz scene, 2021’s contenders make a bold statement about the energy that fuels the music Scotland has to offer and the strength of our creative voice.”
SAY AWARD 2021 LONGLIST – ARTIST QUOTES
AiiTee said, “I’m still so in awe that ‘Love Don’t Fall’ has been included in the Scottish Album of The Year Award Longlist. I’m so grateful to everyone who has taken time out to listen to my music and I hope I can make more music to bring smiles to people’s faces and uplift them.”
Andrew Wasylyk said, “The SAY Award do wonderful work highlighting the creativity in Scottish music. I’m surprised and deeply humbled to be included amongst such great artists. Thank you.”
Arab Strap said, “We’re both humbled and proud to make the Longlist this year, and we’re sure we’ll be in excellent company – The SAY Award is a brilliant celebration of Scotland’s diverse sounds, and we look forward to making new discoveries too.”
Bemz said, “This project has made a lot of things possible – I just want to say thanks to all those involved in helping me make it & thanks to those who Nominated it.”
Biffy Clyro said, “We are delighted to have made the Longlist for The SAY Award with ‘A Celebration of Endings’, alongside some incredible albums from the last year. We’re really proud of this record and we want to thank those involved for the nomination. We hope to see you all soon!”
Carla J. Easton said, “It’s so wonderful to be included in this year’s Longlist. What a difficult and challenging year our industry has faced! I’m so thankful for all the continued support. I think this year The SAY Award is more vital than ever for building back our scene and community. I was a bit worried my album would become a ‘lost work’ due to the circumstances surrounding its release so to be able to celebrate it with all those who helped shape it and make it happen really means a lot to me, especially as an independent artist.”
Erland Cooper said, “It says a great deal to me about the ecosystem of the Scottish music industry that my experimental record, created out of abstract layers of sound and field recordings, has been recognised in this way. Thank you. It’s an album grounded in place and time.”
Fergus McCreadie said, “I am delighted and honoured to have been nominated for such a prestigious award in the Scottish music industry. ‘Cairn’ was a composite of where I was at that time as a musician and composer, and how the band sounded after playing so much together in recent years. To be on the Longlist with so many other great artists is very exciting to me, and I am especially honoured to be representing the jazz scene in Scotland, which I am always so happy to be a part of.”
Jenny Sturgeon said, “I’m over the moon to have been included in The SAY Award 2021 Longlist. Scotland has such a vibrant and thriving music scene and The SAY Award does a brilliant job of amplifying this creativity. It’s always a highlight of the year getting to hear new music through SAY.”
Joesef said, “I’m proud to say I love these tunes and to be acknowledged by The SAY Award in this way means a lot to me. I thought my managers were joking at first but aye cheers!”
Kübler-Ross said, “We are utterly shocked and delighted to be included in the selection for The SAY Award. Thank you!!!!”
Lizzie Reid said, “To be a part of The SAY Award Longlist alongside these incredible bands and artists feels totally insane! It fills my heart to think that people have been listening and enjoying my little album. Thank you thank you thank you!”
Matt Carmichael said, “I’ve discovered a lot of great music by following The SAY Award in the past and I’m very grateful to be included this year after releasing my first album. The awards are great exposure and it’s nice to think that ‘Where Will The River Flow’ will find its way into the ears of new listeners who wouldn’t have otherwise discovered the music. Despite COVID, I think the past year has been particularly exciting for new albums in the Scottish music scene and I’d highly recommend checking out the other eligible albums on The SAY Award website and supporting your favourite artists if you can.”
Mogwai said, “We are immensely proud to be included in this year’s SAY Award Longlist alongside so many other great Scottish albums.”
Paul Towndrow said, “I’m delighted and honoured to have ‘Deepening The River’ be part of The SAY Award Longlist for 2021. I hope people will take the time to listen to the album, which only exists thanks to the unbelievable talent and commitment of the musicians featured on the recording, all of whom are artists I admire greatly and whose music I would urge people to investigate. Scotland’s music scene has huge strength in depth, massive resilience, and reflects rich diversity. I hope this album goes a little way towards shining a light on some of that talent and potential.”
Rachel Newton said, “‘Making ‘To The Awe’ got me through the early days of lockdown and was funded entirely by direct support from fans, so it means a great deal to me and I’m delighted for it to be included in this year’s Longlist.”
Stanley Odd said, “Yas! Absolutely pure delighted to be on The SAY Award Longlist. It’s been an amazing year for new music releases despite the ongoing global madness and we’re over the moon to see ‘STAY ODD’ resonate with folks.”
TAAHLIAH said, “‘Angelica’ was created out of love for myself and the experiences I’ve had in life which have led me to be who I am today. For my debut project to be recognised in this way feels wonderfully gratifying.”
The Ninth Wave said, “We were taken aback when our first album was Longlisted for The SAY Award last year, and when it made the Shortlist we were even more excited. For the follow up to that album to be Longlisted is truly amazing, especially since it includes the first pieces we’ve ever recorded that were completely self-produced. Thank you to everyone who’s supported us on our journey and evolution across these releases.”
The Snuts said, “We are delighted for our debut album ‘W.L’.’ to be in the running for The SAY Award. It’s an album that’ll always be close to our hearts and the hearts of our fans.”
The SAY Award Longlist is the product of an extraordinary nationwide consultation; encapsulating the strength and diversity of Scotland’s music scene.
This year, 327 album submissions, all released during the pandemic, 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 online public vote. From 27th – 29th September, music fans have the chance to ensure their favourite album from the Longlist makes it onto the Shortlist by voting at www.sayaward.com, with the remaining 9 albums chosen by an esteemed judging panel.
This year’s SAY Award judging panel includes the likes of Ian Rankin (Author), Jackie Kay (Poet), Daniel Portman (Actor) and Ashely Storrie (Comedian), as well as Tim Burgess (Musician, The Charlatans), whose “Tim’s Twitter Listening Parties” sound tracked the UK’s lockdown for many by bringing artists and audiences together to listen, discuss and celebrate albums both past and present.
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 will be awarded £1,000 and their own bespoke award. Following a digital edition in 2020, the event returns as a physical ceremony, welcoming guests to Edinburgh’s Usher Hall on Saturday 23rd October. For the first time since the award’s inception, music fans are able to join the celebrations and purchase tickets to attend one of the most exciting nights in Scotland’s musical calendar. This year’s Ceremony (marking the award’s 10th birthday) will celebrate the strength and diversity of Scottish music; past, present and future. The event will recognise 2021’s Nominees and feature special one-of-a-kind live performances, along with the exclusive reveal of 2021’s Scottish Album of the Year. To date, The SAY Award has distributed over £232,000 in prize money across nine previous campaigns, with 2021 set to be another stellar year in showcasing the best of Scotland’s world-renowned musical talent.
2021 has also seen the introduction of two new awards for SAY’s tenth year, with the ‘Modern Scottish Classic Award’ and ‘Sound of Young Scotland Award’. This year’s Longlist will choose the winner of the ‘Modern Scottish Classic Award’, recognising an iconic Scottish album which has inspired music being made today with a special performance at the Ceremony to celebrate the winning album. Additionally, a panel of previous SAY Award nominees including Kobi Onyame, Sacred Paws, SHHE and more, will choose the winner of ‘The Sound of Young Scotland Award’, with the winner receiving up to £5,000 funding to facilitate the creation of their debut album, plus a showcase performance slot at The SAY Award Ceremony in 2022. Supported by Youth Music and Youth Music Initiative (Creative Scotland), The Sound of Young Scotland Award was designed to invest in Scottish music’s future and provide vital support to an emerging artist.
Developed and produced by the Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA), the 2021 campaign is delivered in partnership with Creative Scotland, the City of Edinburgh Council, YouTube Music, Spotify, Ticketmaster and PPL with Music Declares Emergency returning as the award’s Charity Partner for a second year. With COP26 taking place in Glasgow throughout November, sustainability is at the heart of The SAY Award’s plans, and the SMIA will look to use its flagship project to demonstrate and instill best practice for the music industry both now and in the future.
Now in its tenth year, previous winners of The SAY Award include Nova ‘Re-Up’ (2020), 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).