Scotland’s national music prize, The Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award, has announced its schedule for 2023, with eligible album submissions now open.
Artists, labels and music fans can now submit eligible albums for consideration at www.sayaward.com – submissions close at midnight on Friday 21st July 2023. Nominated albums must have been released between 1st June 2022 – 31st May 2023, with full eligiblity criteria on the website
The award ceremony will return to Stirling’s Albert Halls, where the artist with the winning album will collect a £20,000 prize alongside the title and trophy. And 2022 winner Fergus McCreadie, the first jazz/trad artist to ever collect the prize, will perform at this year’s event, on Thursday 26th October. Early-bird tickets are now on sale, priced at £18 (+ booking fee, students £15+bf).
The SAY Award winner will receive a £20,000 prize and the title of Scottish Album of the Year, whilst nine runners up each receive £1,000, as well as bespoke prizes created by a Stirling-based artist through the SAY Award Design Commission. Additional awards including Modern Scottish Classic and the Sound of Young Scotland will also be distributed on the night, while fans, journalists and artists will be treated to special live performances, including a set from 2022’s SAY Award winner, Fergus McCreadie.
Produced by the Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA), The SAY Award has distributed over £330,000 in prize money to Scottish artists since its inception in 2012, with a record number of eligible albums submitted in 2022.
Fergus McCreadie, winner of The SAY Award 2022 said, “I’m very excited to see The SAY Award make its return this year. Last year I was so honoured to win it with ‘Forest Floor’, and to represent the incredible jazz scene in Scotland in this way, in a mainstream industry prize.
“Many cross-genre awards don’t pay much attention to smaller scenes and so I believe The SAY Award is really important for highlighting all types of music across the board. I look forward to seeing who takes the prize this year and performing at the ceremony itself!”
Robert Kilpatrick, Creative Director of the Scottish Music Industry Association said, “As we embark on our twelfth annual edition of Scotland’s national music prize, The SAY Award will once again work to celebrate and champion the strength, diversity and cultural impact of Scotland’s recorded output.”
2023’s campaign will see the return of two additional prizes, the Modern Scottish Classic Award and the Sound of Young Scotland Award. The Modern Scottish Classic Award, presented in association with YouTube Music, recognises an iconic album from Scotland’s past that still inspires today, and past winners include ‘Heaven or Las Vegas’ by Cocteau Twins (2022) and ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’ by Frightened Rabbit (2021).
Supported by Help Musicians, Youth Music, and the Scottish Government’s Youth Music Initiative through Creative Scotland The Sound of Young Scotland Award will see a panel of previous SAY Award nominees choose an up-and-coming artist to receive a funding package worth up to £8,000 to facilitate the creation of their debut album. Artists must be 18–25 to apply, have not previously released an album and have made Scotland their creative base for at least the past two years. Past winners include Berta Kennedy (2022) and LVRA (2021).Applications open in late July.
Once all eligible albums have been collated for The SAY Award, 100 impartial ‘Nominators’, chosen from sectors including journalism, music retail and music venues across Scotland, nominate and rank their five favourite albums in order of preference. The SMIA assigns a score to each title in a Nominator’s Top 5, before announcing the 20 highest scoring albums as The SAY Award Longlist.
The Longlist will then be whittled down to a Shortlist of 10 albums, one of which will be chosen by music fans via a 72-hour online public vote. The remaining nine albums will be chosen by The SAY Award judging panel, with the judging panel then choosing the winning album at 2023’s ceremony.
The SAY Award is a Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA) production. The SAY Award 2023 is delivered in partnership with Creative Scotland, Stirling Council, Stirling Alive with Culture, YouTube Music, Ticketmaster, Help Musicians, HMV, FOPP, PPL, Go Forth Stirling, Youth Music Initiative, Youth Music and Music Declares Emergency.
Now in its twelfth year, previous winners of The SAY Award include; Fergus McCreadie ‘Forest Floor’ (2022), Mogwai ‘As The Love Continues’ (2021), 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).