Winners of the 12th Scottish Alternative Music Awards (SAMA) were honoured at a ceremony on Saturday 27th November at Saint Luke’s, Glasgow, which celebrated the creativity, innovation and resilience of musicians across Scotland over the past 12 months.
Hosted by Jim Gellatly and poet Leyla Josephine, the event saw AISHA, Bee Asha, Bemz, Dictator, Dvne, K4CIE and Lizzie Reid beat outstanding competition to become winners at this year’s SAMA.
BBC Radio DJs Vic Galloway, Shereen Cutkelvin and Phoebe Inglis-Holmes presented the awards to the seven winners during the celebratory evening which also featured exclusive live sets from double SAMA 2020 winner TAAHLIAH, recent Sound Of Young Scotland awardee LVRA and a brilliant set from Union Of Knives.
The seven SAMA 2021 winners were chosen by the public over a three-day online vote 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.
SAMA 2021 Winners and Categories
Winner of the Best Acoustic category was Lizzie Reid, 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, Radio X and a growing fanbase who identify with her reflective songs of heartbreak and personal discovery.
Hard dance enthusiast Rosie Shannon aka 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.
Emerging victorious from a particularly strong set of nominees as Best Hip Hop artist was Kacie McAdam aka K4CIE, 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.
Bemz was named as Best Live Act, voters likely inspired by magnetic performances to sold-out crowds with The Snuts and as headliner at Glasgow’s Poetry Club. 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.
Recently signed to the world-beating Metal Blade label, Edinburgh five-piece Dvne won Best Metal act for their ambitious and imaginative prog metal. Taking their name from the Frank Herbert sci-fi classic, Dvne’s current album Etemen Ænka is their finest distillation yet of land-rupturing weight and intricate melodic grace.
Best Newcomer winner was announced as Bee Asha, the unique Dunbar talent 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 with breath-catching insight and cutting wit.
Guaranteed for big things in 2022 is West Lothian foursome Dictator, winner of the Best Rock/Alternative category. Though members 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. Fan favourite Anthem For A Doomed Youth quickly followed that year, with Dictator’s early runs of sold-out gigs only being cut short by the pandemic. A slew of buoyant but reflective singles followed in 2021, as well as sustained support from actor Robert Carlyle and a deal with Edinburgh’s Blackhall Records, which released the atmospheric 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.”
Scottish Alternative Music Award Winners 2021
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
You can find out more information about SAMA via their website officialsama.com, or across social media at @officialSAMA.