The winners of the 12th Scottish Alternative Music Awards (SAMA) were honoured at a ceremony on Saturday (27th November) at Glasgow’s Saint Luke’s which celebrating the creativity, innovation and resilience of musicians across Scotland over the past 12 months.
The event was hosted by Scottish new music champion Jim Gellatly and poet Leyla Josephine, while those presenting awards were BBC Radio DJs Vic Galloway, Shereen Cutkelvin and Phoebe Inglis-Holme.
The winners are as follows:
Best Live Act: Bemz
Best Acoustic: Lizzie Reid
Best Newcomer: Bee Asha
Best Rock/Alternative: Dictator
Best Electronic: AISHA
Best Metal: Dvne
Best Hip Hop: K4CIE
The winners were chosen by the public over a three-day online vote earlier in November. A record 15,000 votes were cast on a shortlist of 28 of Scotland’s best emerging artists as selected by the country’s top industry professionals.
Richy Muirhead, founder of SAMA, says: “The event was a fantastic celebration of our rich music culture here in Scotland as demonstrated with the 7 deserving winners. The live showcase performances were really powerful, energetic and show that artists really thrive in an environment where they can connect and interact with live audiences.”
Bemz was born in Nigeria as Jubemi Iyiku, Bemz has lived in Scotland since his early teens and, alongside artists such as Aberdeen’s Chef and Paisley’s Washington (both of whom feature on Bemz’s recent M4 EP), is at the forefront of the country’s burgeoning hip hop scene. Edinburgh five-piece Dvne take their name from the Frank Herbert sci-fi classic, and their current album Etemen Ænka is their finest distillation yet of land-rupturing weight and intricate melodic grace.
Lizzie Reid is a Glasgow artist whose emotional honesty and poise has earned her comparisons with Angel Olsen, Laura Marling and even Edith Piaf. Recorded with producer Oli Barton-Wood just days before the March 2020 lockdown, her Cubicle EP has been supported by BBC Radio and Radio X. Bee Asha, hails from Dunbar. Hitherto known as one third of Scotland’s foremost female rap group The Honey Farm. Like her impressive documentary project Spit It Out, her recent spoken word debut album From Girl To Men explores the intersections between bad sex, power and desire.
AISHA was named as Best Electronic act, both in recognition of her residency at Glasgow’s long-loved Animal Farm night and her own highly-charged productions such as April’s Sunna EP, her third collaboration with fellow techno stalwart Quail. K4CIE is a DJ and producer praised for her innovative approach to hip hop and trap as well as her efforts popularising the genres on Scottish dancefloors through her inclusive party night PEACH and as co-owner of Glasgow’s 644 Studios.
Members of Dictator first met at school in Livingston over a decade ago, Dictator only took life in 2019 over a couple of jam sessions and an appreciation for the cross-genre eclecticism of Gorillaz and Alt-J. The band have released a number of singles as well as sustained support from actor Robert Carlyle and a deal with Edinburgh’s Blackhall Records, which released the Candlemaker Row earlier this month.
Alan Morrison, Head of Music at Creative Scotland said: “Yet again the SAMAs have shown us where to look and listen if we want to know where the most exciting music in Scotland is being made. The 2021 winners revel in different styles and diverse backgrounds, fired up by the energy and creativity that has taken us through lockdown and out the other side. With the SAMAs as Creative Scotland‘s partner on the HANG conference and showcase, it’s particularly encouraging to see hip hop score so strongly at this year’s awards.”
Previous winners at the event have included Gerry Cinnamon, Lewis Capaldi and The Snuts.