Scottish Alternative Music Awards return to shine a spotlight on emerging talent

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The Scottish Alternative Music Awards (SAMAs) are to return to a physical event with a spectacular awards ceremony at Saint Luke’s in Glasgow this Saturday.

The annual event celebrates Scotland’s diverse music scene, with awards presented across seven categories: Best Acoustic, Best Electronic, Best Hip Hop, Best Live Act, Best Metal, Best Newcomer and Best Rock/ Alternative.

12 years of the awards, which have previously been won by Lewis Capaldi, Gerry Cinnamon and The Snuts, and a new wave of musical acts is emerging.

Nominees include indie-pop outfit swim school, jazz-influenced Lizabett Russo and rising hip hop rapper Bemz.

SAMAs founder Richy Muirhead said:

“This year’s awards are a great space to jump in and really get a taste of what’s going on within the Scottish music scene across a lot of genres that perhaps aren’t often in the media.”

A panel of industry experts have selected a total of 28 nominees across the seven categories and over 15, 000 fans have voted for their favourite in each division.

The ceremony will also include the live return of cult noughties band Union of Knives, as well as performances from electronic producer and double SAMA 2020 winner TAAHLIAH, and LVRA – winner of this year’s Sound of Young Scotland Award.

Richy said there’s an excitement in the air about the occasion and all the musicians will be on song.

He said: “Everyone who’s on the nominations list and the artists who will be on stage have been releasing a lot of music and working really hard,”

“Hopefully this is a great platform to move things on nicely into next year and build on that momentum.”

Edinburgh band swim school are nominated for the Best Rock/ Alternative award and are looking forward to the night.

The four-piece said: “To be amongst the nominees is a huge achievement for us.”

“We’re a relatively new band and only released our debut EP this summer, but this has been followed by a mad year for us and we are so grateful for all the love and support we are receiving,” they added.

The Best Rock/ Alternative Award has previously been won by The Snuts in 2019.

The group became the first Scottish band in 14 years to top the charts with a number one debut album in April this year.

Nominees Dictator, a four-piece outfit from West Lothian, are delighted to be up for the same award as the chart topping stars.

Member Zach Tarimo Goodhur said: “We spend most of our time working on the band, so it’s really nice to gain some recognition,”

“At times it doesn’t feel real though, especially when bands like The Snuts have previously won the award and have now gone on to have such meteoric success.”

Edinburgh-based singer-songwriter Danny Cliff couldn’t believe he had been nominated in the Best Newcomer category.

He explained: “I often doubt myself musically and being acknowledged for the little I’ve already done is a huge achievement to me.”

The coveted awards can provide a huge boost for artists in the early stages of their career.

Last year, Dundee musician India Rose scooped a SAMA in the Best Hip Hop category.

India used this success to push for funding to invest in her music and was granted £10, 000 from Creative Scotland towards her latest music video ‘No Time’.

Speaking to The Clyde Insider, she said: “Winning Best Hip Hop also gave me a sense of responsibility to push harder for our genre of music in Scotland,”

“I will always be grateful to the team at the SAMAs.”

Scottish music journalist and new music champion Jim Gellatly, who is hosting the awards, said he always discovers new artists from the SAMA’s nominees list. A few months later “they are on everybody’s lips”, he said.

Jim explained: “[The SAMAs] have become one of the landmark dates in the Scottish music calendar and they’re brilliant because they really do highlight the underdog and emerging acts.”

He added “It’s just going to be so exciting to have a night of live music at one of Glasgow’s premier venues.”

The SAMAs 2021 take place on Saturday 27 November at St Luke’s in Glasgow. Tickets cost £10. For more information click here.

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