SAY Award publishes announces 10-strong shortlist

The Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award has today revealed the 10 Shortlisted albums in the running for the £20,000 prize and coveted national title

SAY Award shortlisted albums
The winner from the 10 shortlisted albums will be announced at the SAY Award ceremony at the Albert Halls on 26 October

Paolo Nutini’s ‘These Streets’ has also been announced as the winner of 2023’s Modern Scottish Classic Award (chosen by this year’s Longlisted artists) and the five finalists for this year’s Sound of Young Scotland Award have also been revealed.

The SAY Award Shortlist for 2023 in alphabetical order is:

Andrew Wasylyk Hearing the Water before Seeing the Falls

Becky Sikasa Twelve Wooden Boxes

Bemz Nova’s Dad

Brìghde Chaimbeul Carry Them With Us

Brooke Combe Black Is the New Gold

Cloth Secret Measure

Hamish Hawk Angel Numbers

Joesef Permanent Damage

Paolo Nutini Last Night In The Bittersweet

Young Fathers Heavy Heavy

Music fans were given 72 hours to ‘have their SAY’ and vote for their favourite Longlisted album to secure a place on the Shortlist, with Paolo Nutini ‘Last Night in the Bittersweet’ revealed as this year’s public vote winner. The 9 remaining Shortlisted albums were chosen by The SAY Award Judging panel.

'Another exciting milestone'

Stirling Council leader, Chris Kane said, “The SAY Award Shortlist being unveiled is another exciting milestone in the countdown to Stirling hosting one of the biggest evenings in Scotland’s musical calendar. We can’t wait to welcome back the country’s leading musical artists to the iconic Albert Halls on October 26th.

“We’re committed to promoting Stirling as a hub of creativity where the most talented individuals can thrive and where major national cultural events such as the SAY Award can be staged.”

Robert Kilpatrick, Interim CEO and Creative Director of the Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA) said, “Congratulations to the 10 incredible albums that have made The SAY Award Shortlist, as well as to our Sound of Young Scotland Award finalists and this year’s Modern Scottish Classic Award winner – Paolo Nutini’s iconic debut ‘These Streets’. This is a fantastic representation of the strength and diversity of Scottish music; past, present and future.

“Our lives and our stories matter, and through championing our nation’s musical output, we can share our stories with the rest of the world and find new ways to connect. The SMIA is proud of its ongoing commitment to the value of music in Scotland, and The SAY Award is an essential part of that work. Thanks to our partners for their invaluable support, and we look forward to what will be an incredible night to remember at our Ceremony in Stirling later this month.”

The Modern Scottish Classic Award (in association with YouTube Music) is an annual recognition of an iconic album from Scotland’s past that still inspires today. 2023’s Modern Scottish Classic Award goes to Paolo Nutini’s ‘These Streets’ (2006).

Sound of Young Scotland Award

The five finalists for The Sound of Young Scotland Award (supported by Help Musicians, Youth Music Initiative and Youth Music) have also been revealed; an award designed to support the next generation of Scottish talent and give the winner the means to create their debut album.  In alphabetical order: Danny Cliff, Pearling, Pippa Blundell, No Windows and Queen of Harps.

2023’s SAY Award Shortlist, Modern Scottish Classic Award winner and Sound of Young Scotland Award finalists will be celebrated at this year’s SAY Award Ceremony, allowing a full-circle celebration of Scottish music throughout time; past, present and future. The SAY Award Ceremony, takes place in the heart of Scotland at The Albert Halls in Stirling on Thursday 26 October. Final tickets from

Modern Scottish Classic

The Modern Scottish Classic Award, presented in association with YouTube Music, is annually selected by the 20 artists making up The SAY Award Longlist. All 20 artists are asked to submit their top 5 Scottish albums in order of preference which pre-date the inception of The SAY Award (2011). The SMIA assigns points to each album, with the highest scoring album then being recognised via the artist-led award.

Paolo Nutini’s debut album ‘These Streets’ (2006) has been revealed as 2023’s winner with the record set to be celebrated at The SAY Award Ceremony in Stirling’s Albert Halls later this month. The Paisley singer-songwriter is also part of this year’s Shortlist with his latest album ‘Last Night in the Bittersweet’, showcasing a career spanning over 17 years which continues to inspire new and established artists alike.

‘These Streets’ was an instant classic, catapulting the then-19 year old singer-songwriter onto the UK’s music scene with huge hits like debut single ‘Last Request’, ‘These Streets’ and ‘New Shoes’ cementing him as a household name. The first of four critically-acclaimed albums, the record well and truly announced the arrival of Paolo Nutini as a songwriting prodigy and went on to sell over 1.5 million copies in the UK. Kickstarting a career which has seen the singer become one of the country’s most beloved artists and talented songwriters, ‘These Streets’ was where it all began for what is now one of the most recognisable voices in music.

Lizzie Dickson, Head of Label Relations, YouTube UK, “‘These Streets’ is a stunning, timeless record from a sensational talent that reflects Scottish artistry at its finest. Paolo Nutini set new standards for lyrical and vocal quality with this debut, and he continues to inspire artists and fans around the world. YouTube is committed to celebrating all music talent, both old and new, so we are proud to sponsor the Modern Scottish Classic Award.”

This year's ceremony

With Paolo Nutini named as the public’s choice on this year’s SAY Award Shortlist, the remaining nine albums were chosen by The SAY Award judging panel, who will reconvene to choose 2023’s winner at this year’s ceremony at Stirling’s Albert Halls on Thursday 26 October. These 10 outstanding albums are now in the running to win the final prize of £20,000 and the coveted title of Scottish Album of the Year, whittled down from a record-breaking 437 submitted eligible albums. Nine runners up on the Shortlist will each receive £1,000 plus a bespoke prize from The SAY Award Design Commission, created by Brutal Concrete Workshop. A Stirling-based artist using new low-carbon processes and recycled materials, Brutal Concrete will create 2023’s Shortlist prizes for a lasting reminder of the enduring links between art and music.

The Sound of Young Scotland Award aims to stimulate the future of Scottish music and provides a young and emerging artist with financial support to enable the creation of their debut album, supported by Help Musicians, Youth Music Initiative and Youth Music. As part of The SAY Award’s commitment to young artists, the winner will receive a funding package worth over £10,000 to help them create their debut album. The prize includes cash grants, recording studio use, business advice sessions and a run of up to 500 vinyl pressings from Seabass Vinyl, Scotland’s first vinyl pressing plant.

11 former SAY Award nominees make up the Sound of Young Scotland Award judging panel. From 119 applications, they determined the five finalists and will reconvene to decide this year’s winner; exclusively announced at The SAY Award Ceremony. The five Sound of Young Scotland Award finalists for 2023 are; Danny Cliff, Pearling, Pippa Blundell, No Windows and Queen of Harps

The cash grants provided via the Sound of Young Scotland Award include support directly from Help Musicians’ Recording & Release fund; designed to support artists towards creating their next release and distributing their music. Previous Sound of Young Scotland Award winners include Berta Kennedy (2022) and LVRA (2021), with LVRA’s debut album Longlisted for 2023 - testament to the importance of the award’s support of new artists.

Laurie Oliva, Director of Musicians Services at Help Musicians, “We are so excited to be supporting the future of Scottish music through the Sound of Young Scotland Award. Help Musicians offers musicians the support they need to build a sustainable career, and we look forward to helping this year’s winner to record and release their debut album with financial support and expert advice.

“We love music and want a world where musicians thrive. Congratulations to all of this year’s nominees who contribute so much to Scottish music and beyond.”

Daniel Williams, Engagement Director at Youth Music,  “We’re delighted to be supporting the Sound of Young Scotland Award again this year. Our goal at Youth Music is to equalise young people’s access to making, learning and earning in music. That’s why we’re proud to partner with the Scottish Music Industry Association to fully support the next generation of musical talent in Scotland. We’re excited to see Youth Music alumni in the list and wish all the amazing finalists the best of luck!”

The SAY Award is a Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA) production and has distributed over £330,000 in prize money to Scottish artists since its inception in 2012.  The SAY Award 2023 is delivered in partnership with Creative Scotland, Stirling Council, Stirling Alive with Culture, YouTube Music, Seabass Vinyl, Ticketmaster, Help Musicians, HMV, FOPP, PPL, Spotify, Go Forth Stirling, Youth Music Initiative, Youth Music, Music Declares Emergency and The Golden Lion Hotel. The SAY Award’s Charity Partner for 2023 is Tiny Changes; Scotland’s very first national children and young people’s mental health charity funding projects and ideas that help young minds feel better.

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).

Tickets for 2023’s ceremony at the Albert Halls, Stirling are on sale now via