The Snuts, Andrew Wasylyk, Arab Strap, Mogwai and Biffy Clyro are among the 20 acts in the running for the 2021 Scottish Album of the Year, aka the SAY Award.

Now in its tenth year, the contenders for the honour (and £20,000 first prize) were whittled down from 327 eligible submissions by 100 music industry nominators, and announced at a virtual ‘Live at the Longlist’ event.

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.”

Alan Morrison, Head of Music at Creative Scotland added: “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.”

This year’s SAY Award judging panel includes the likes of Rebus author and music fan Ian Rankin (Author), poet Jackie Kay, Game of Thrones actor Daniel Portman, and radio presenter Ashely Storrie, as well as a musician in the shape of Tim Burgess, of Charlatans fame as well as the creator of “Tim’s Twitter Listening Parties” which have provided the soundtrack to the pandemic and featured several of the nominated releases.

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.

The winner will be announced at a ceremony, open to fans for the first time, at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall on October 23rd, with tickets available at

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).

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