The SAY Award will return to Stirling’s Albert Halls for this year’s award ceremony, where the artist with the winning album will collect a £20,000 prize alongside the coveted title. Artists, labels and music fans can now submit eligible albums, for free, at www.sayaward.com – submissions close at midnight on Friday 21st July 2023.
2022 winner Fergus McCreadie, the first jazz/trad artist to ever collect the prize, will perform at this year’s prestigious Ceremony at Stirling's iconic Albert Halls, in the heart of Scotland, on Thursday 26th October. Early-bird tickets are now on sale via www.sayaward.com.
To be considered for The SAY Award 2023, eligible albums must have been released between 1st June 2022 – 31st May 2023. To submit albums for FREE, plus view eligibility criteria and guidelines for 2023’s award, visit www.sayaward.com.
Previous SAY Award winners include Mogwai, Young Fathers, Anna Meredith, Kathryn Joseph and more. The last twelve months has been another bumper year for Scottish albums, with artists including Lewis Capaldi, Joesef, Bemz, Nina Nesbitt, The Snuts, Paolo Nutini and more all releasing albums which could be submitted for consideration. 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.
The SAY Award winner will receive a £20,000 prize and the prestigious 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, plus fans, journalists and artists will be treated to special live performances, including a set from 2022’s SAY Award winner, Fergus McCreadie.
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!"
From classical, electronic, hip-hop, jazz, pop, rock and trad, The SAY Award album submissions reflect an evolving and diverse Scottish music scene. As the award returns to Stirling for the second year in a row following an incredible inaugural year in 2022, the country’s music industry will descend on the city to celebrate Scottish music and the cultural impact of outstanding Scottish albums. Stirling is a young city with ancient roots, with the Albert Halls also recently named one of the best music venues in the UK by TimeOut this year. Stirling Council is committed to nurturing creative talent in the local area including the launch of Generation Tolbooth Records, a label run by young people to support the local music scene in the city. For more information on Stirling’s cultural programmes, visit www.stirlingevents.org.
'Great recognition for Stirling and the Albert Halls'
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. Its role in instilling civic pride and driving audience development continues to play a vital part in how we understand our collective cultural identity as a nation, and it both encapsulates and articulates an ever-evolving idea of what Scottish music and culture is to those around the world.
“Just as crucially, The SAY Award prize fund continues to provide key financial support to Scottish artists. With multiple challenges caused by the cost of living crisis, this support is perhaps more vital than ever, and the SMIA is committed to seeing the continued value of music in Scotland with a firm focus on its life-affirming impact.
“Following an incredible Ceremony at Stirling’s Albert Halls last year, we’re delighted to return for a second year on Thursday 26 October. As of today, eligible album submissions are open, and tickets are on sale to attend 2023’s event. We’re over the moon to have last year’s winner Fergus McCreadie performing on the night, and we look forward to championing Scottish music’s rich past, invaluable present and vibrant future in the lead up to the event.”
Stirling Council Leader, Cllr Chris Kane said: “After a hugely successful event last year, we are delighted that The Scottish Album of the Year Award ceremony is returning to Stirling and our amazing Albert Halls venue.
“The 2022 awards was a fantastic occasion that showcased Stirling’s thriving music scene, creative talent and the city’s credentials as a top-class events location.
“Having The SAY Award coming back for a second year is great recognition for Stirling and the Albert Halls, and we can’t wait to welcome artists and visitors to the city for another exceptional event that celebrates the very best of Scottish music.”
The SAY Award Design Commission is set to open expressions of interest on 6th July - meaning artists and designers based in the Stirling Council area can register interest to create bespoke prizes for this year’s award winners and nominees; highlighting the enduring links between music, art and design in Scotland. The commissioned artist will be tasked with designing an award with sustainability at the forefront, with last year’s awards created by Stirling based studio Art Futuro.
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). Stay tuned for further Sound of Young Scotland Award announcements and full eligibility criteria; 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).
Early-bird tickets for 2023’s ceremony at the Albert Halls, Stirling are on sale now via www.sayaward.com
General - £18 + booking fee
Student - £15 + booking fee (must show valid student ID on entry)
The Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA) is a not-for-profit trade body and membership organisation which exists to strengthen, empower and unite Scotland’s music industry.
For further information on the SMIA and its services, projects and events please visit www.smia.org.uk.