The shortlist for the ninth edition of the Welsh Music Prize were announced on Monday, once again showcasing a collection of 12 of the most interesting artists within the Welsh Music Industry this year.
Co-founded by long-standing champion of Welsh music; Huw Stephens, and music consultant John Rostron in 2011; the awards have been exhibiting the best music in Wales for the past nine years, including Heavenly Recordings signees; Gwenno and Boy Azooga, and Gruff Rhys of the Super Furry Animals. The winning album will be selected by panel of judges with expert merit in the music industry including Dexter Batson (Spotify), Sean Griffiths (Mixmag), Kaptin (Boomtown), Daniel Minty (Minty’s Gig Guide), Carolyn Hitt (Journalist) and Chris Roberts (Son Am Sin).
The awards ceremony will take place at the Coal Exhange in Cardiff Bay, on the 27th of November, in conjunction with other events, showcasing emerging talent. An industry mixer will also be held prior to the awards, with the opportunity to network with members at the forefront of the wider UK industry.
The nominees for 2019 are…
Echo the Red by Accü (Libertino Records)
The half Welsh, half Dutch musician created this magic debut album in her caravan in Carmarthenshire. Accü creates ethereal spell-binding electronica, enough to prepare for life on planet Mars. The album includes vocals by comedian Stewart Lee on one of the songs.
Now! (in a minute) by audiobooks (Heavenly Recordings)
The avant-electro pop surrealisms of audiobooks play on moments experienced by Evangeline Ling and David Wrench. Their stories are told through a meld of elegant synth hooks and dancefloor thumpers that leave no choice but to get up and dance.
Joia! by Carwyn Ellis & Rio 18 (Banana & Louie)
Taking his Welsh language all the way to Rio, the cultural influences are very apparent – joia meaning ‘groovy’ in Brazilian. With tropical Latin American flavour and grooves to make the hips move, Ellis’ musical intelligence makes what he does hard to pin down but definitely leaves listeners wanting more.
Reward by Cate Le Bon (Mexican Summer)
Growing up on a rural farm in Carmarthenshire, Cate Le Bon’s airy synths and her trademark saxophone with licks of wavy percussion take you back to her place of solitude. Her melodies are sweet but beneath the surface emerges essences of a post-punk world. Reward was also nominated for this year’s Mercury Music Prize.
Lover Loner by Deyah (self-released)
Rapper Deyah brings RnB soul to this album with smooth, intimate and personal lyrics about introspective experiences of releasing past thoughts and feeling. She wants listeners to heal through messages of forgiveness, value and love.
You Say I’m Too Much I Say You’re Not Enough by Estrons (Gofod Records)
Maintaining intensity throughout the album, Estrons fiery energy deliver statements of female empowerment and the damaging male ego. Cutting guitars, beastly bass and red-hot vocals from vocalist Tali Källström.
Inspirational Talks by HMS Morris (Bubblewrap Records)
For their second album, HMS Morris maintain mysterious futuristic alt-pop psych with bi-lingual lyrics covering subjects appearing in many an album this year, Brexit, Trump, and the want to jump off the edge of the earth.
Gwn Glan Beibl Budur by Lleuwen (Sain)
Her most experimental album to date, Lleuwen unites ancient Welsh history with personal compositions to master this album. The work features a variety of musical talent from harpist Llio Rhydderch to alt-rock country musicians, Aled and Dafydd Hughes.
Touchy Love by Lucas J Rowe (self-released)
A Cardiff based singer song writer; Lucas supported Sean Paul at Motorpoint Arena this year shortly after releasing his first album. A soulful blend of RnB on this album fuses influences from the likes of Craig David, Usher and Justin Timberlake.
Oesoedd by Mr (Strangetown Records)
A man with a wealth of experience Mark Roberts has been in various Welsh bands over the years. After countless gigs and tours with Y Cyrff, Y Ffyrc, The Earth and Catatonia, Mark – under the name ‘Mr’ – presents his first solo album, Oesoedd. This album is filled with bouncy bars and relatable humour of the modern world.
Melyn by Adwaith (Libertino Records)
After a successful first eighteen months of being, Adwaith’s debut album was delivered with much excitement. The project is sharp, groovy and confident, marking a growth in their creative boundaries.
Tŷ ein Tadau by VRï (Recordiau Erwydd)
The folk trio return with this memoir of Welsh heritage loaded with inspirations from traditional hymns and Sunday morning church bells. The album is earthy, rooted and beautiful.
For more information leading up to the awards, follow @welshmusicprize.