What’s your involvement with the SAY Award?
I’M projects and operations manager at the Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA). We’re a trade body working across all sectors of Scotland’s music industry, with our two core aims being to strengthen the industry internally and to champion it domestically and internationally. The SAY Award is our flagship project, launched in 2012, and I’m project manager.
On May 24, the 20 albums in the running for the £20,000 prize will be announced at the Live At The Longlist event.
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How many albums were nominated, and how have they been whittled down to just 20?
This year we had just shy of 300 eligible albums submitted to the SAY Award website by artists, labels and members of the public. This is the most we’ve had, and it’s been great working my way through them and hearing some that hadn’t previously been on my radar. Each year we ask 100 impartial “nominators” to nominate their top five favourite albums in order of preference. The highest scoring 20 albums make up the longlist.
What albums have stood out for you personally?
The SMIA must remain impartial, so I’m not allowed to nominate, but I really enjoyed listening to eligible albums that I hadn’t heard before. A key one that stood out is Through Them Fingers Yours and Mine by Fair Mothers. I’ve had it on repeat for the last few weeks now and it’s so, so great – highly recommended.
Why did you decide to do a live show open to the public to announce the longlist this year?
Entering our sixth year, we wanted to try something new and involve the public more than ever. The announcement of the longlist is one of the most exciting parts of the SAY Award campaign, and is without doubt when the award is at its most potent. We’ve introduced Live At The Longlist to allow fans to join us in celebrating 20 outstanding Scottish albums, as well as to hear some great live music. We decided to select artists longlisted or shortlisted in previous years and were delighted to confirm Admiral Fallow, Steve Mason (acoustic) and Mungo’s Hi Fi for our inaugural Live At The Longlist.
The shortlist of 10 albums, one chosen by the public and nine by judges, will be announced on June 15 with the winner announced on June 28. What do you think judges are looking for?
The SAY Award is an arts prize and we ask our 11 judges to look at each album as a piece of artistic work. Regardless of record sales or label affiliation, it’s down to them to decide which of the shortlisted albums deserves the title of Scottish Album of the Year, as well as the £20,000 grand prize. We rely on our judges’ experience and passion for the arts to ensure that the winning album is deserving of the title. Our five previous winning albums are important, bold and progressive Scottish records – I’m without doubt that 2017’s winner will be the same.
The Scottish Album Of The Year 2017 longlist will be announced at Live At The Longlist on May 24 at O2 ABC, Glasgow, where Admiral Fallow, Steve Mason (acoustic) and Mungo’s Hi-Fi featuring YT will perform. Tickets (£15.50+bf) from sayaward.com