Edinburgh rapper Nova has been announced as the winner of Scotland’s national music prize, The Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award, for her debut EP ‘Re-Up’.

Shaheeda Sinckler – who records under the Nova moniker – accepted her trophy and £20,000 prize remotely via video link, as she is currently isolating following a positive COVID-19 test.

The 24-year-old Edinburgh-based musician is the youngest ever winner in the competition’s nine-year history, and while pigeonholing acts is a tricky business, the release is being billed as the first rap/grime release to take the award.

However, a minor flurry of controversy has been created, with the EP – which clocks in at under 20 minutes – being deemed eligible due to the rule which states that any release with six tracks or more can be entered – a ruling which previously saw Young Fathers’ EP ‘Tape Two’ take the prize for 2013.

And just to add to the already surreal atmosphere around the event, the planned live feed of the ceremony was delayed by one hour due to technical difficulties, while a national newspaper announced the winner mid-afternoon.

Nova said of her win: “It is such an incredible feeling to have won the 2020 Scottish Album of the Year Award, just a couple of weeks shy of my 25th birthday! It is so affirming – any doubts that I might have had previously are now out of the window and I’m seriously so excited for the future.

“I’m excited to keep on this upwards trajectory, thrilled to encounter new experiences and take my professionalism to the next level. To think that my manager and I had no idea where we would end up when we started working together and now to have made it here is just fantastic!

“It hasn’t always been easy – there have been a lot of late nights, night buses and moments of uncertainty, to name a few challenges, but winning this award has solidified my belief that hard work and determination bring results. So don’t call me lucky because I worked my butt off to move forward – and you can too.

“There is so much possibility in the air and I feel so free, nurturing old bonds and making new ones is what I can see on the horizon. I’ve already begun working on my next project and I cannot wait to see how THAT is received. I’m sending much love and blessings to everyone who made this possible.”

‘Re-Up’ can be heard in full here, and a BBC piece on the award including an interview with Nova can be seen here.

More at www.sayaward.com.