News: Introducing The 20 Outstanding Scottish Albums Making Up This Year’s SAY Award Longlist

Introducing the 20 outstanding Scottish Albums making up this year’s SAY Award Longlist; whittled down from a record breaking 369 eligible record submissions by 100 impartial music industry Nominators. Each Longlisted album is now in the running for the coveted SAY Award title and £20,000 first prize, with the winner to be announced at The SAY Award 2022 Ceremony taking place at Stirling’s Albert Halls on Thursday 20th October. This year’s twenty-strong longlist features one of the most diverse genre spreads in the eleven years of the award, showcasing Scotland’s eclectic musical landscape and highlighting a range of subcultures and artistic styles.

The announcement comes as our 2022’s host city, Stirling, celebrates with a free exhibition taking place at award-winning music venue The Tolbooth. Music fans can explore the 20 enlarged album artworks and use QR codes for an experiential discovery of the Longlist. The exhibition will provide a focal point for celebrating the records in the lead up to next month’s Ceremony where one will be announced as Scottish Album of the Year. 

In alphabetical order, The SAY Award Longlist for 2022 is as follows:

·         AiiTee – ‘Better Days’

·         Andrew Wasylyk – ‘Balgay Hill: Morning In Magnolia’

·         Annie Booth – ‘Lazybody’

·         Bemz – ‘M4’

·         C Duncan – ‘Alluvium’

·         Callum Easter – ‘System’

·         Constant Follower – ‘Neither Is, Nor Ever Was’

·         Declan Welsh and the Decadent West – ‘It’s Been A Year’

·         Duncan Lyall – ‘Milestone’

·         Fergus McCreadie – ‘Forest Floor’

·         Hamish Hawk – ‘Heavy Elevator’

·         Hen Hoose – ‘Equaliser’

·         Kathryn Joseph – ‘For You Who Are The Wronged’

·         Kobi Onyame – ‘Don’t Drink The Poison’

·         The Ninth Wave – ‘Heavy Like a Headache’

·         Niteworks – ‘A’Ghrian’

·         Proc Fiskal – ‘Siren Spine Sysex’

·         Rebecca Vasmant – ‘With Love, From Glasgow’

·         Seonaid Aitken Ensemble – ‘Chasing Sakura’

·         Walt Disco – ‘Unlearning’

Our Creative Director Robert Kilpatrick said: “Following a record-breaking 369 eligible album submissions, we’re delighted to announce the 20 outstanding records in the running for 2022’s Scottish Album of the Year Award.

As Scotland’s national music prize, The SAY Award exists to celebrate the cultural impact and contribution of our nation’s recorded output. 2022’s Longlist presents a dynamic and diverse collection of albums which spans multiple genres and showcases both established and rising talent from across the country. Despite the turbulence of recent times, the enduring impact and resonance of the album format remains. As vehicles of both self-discovery and connection with others, their power to ground, inspire and unite us is perhaps more important than ever.

As we now approach our 2022 Ceremony at Stirling’s Albert Halls next month, we look forward to championing Scotland’s ever evolving music scene and unique cultural identity; recognising the value and magic of music in our lives.”

Convener of Stirling Council’s Community Planning and Regeneration Committee, Cllr Gerry McGarvey said: “Congratulations to all the amazing artists from across Scotland that have made the longlist for this prestigious musical award.

“To reach this stage in the competition is an achievement in itself and it’s fantastic to have so many Stirling-based artists, and artists that have their roots in The Tolbooth’s Music Development workshops, in the final 20, demonstrating the area’s dynamic and diverse music scene.

“To celebrate the longlist announcement, we have created a special interactive exhibition in The Tolbooth where people can sample the best of Scottish music in 2022.

“In just over a month one of these incredible records will be recognised as Scottish Album of the Year in the Albert Halls Stirling, and today’s milestone signals the countdown is on to an exciting and inspiring night.”

SAY Award 2022 Longlist – Artist Quotes:

AiiTee said “‘I am so pleased that ‘Better Days’ has been Longlisted for the SAY Award 2022.”

Andrew Wasylyk said “I’m as astonished as I am grateful for this record to be included amongst such an inspiring  group of Scottish artists. May they all flourish. Thank you, SAY Award.”

Annie Booth said “Was very surprised and honoured to be included in the SAY Award Longlist – I’ve followed the awards for a long time. There were so many Scottish albums I enjoyed last year so it meant a lot that folk out there connected with ‘Lazybody’. The album was a real labour of love, brought to life by an amazing group of musicians and collaborators who truly gave their all.”

Bemz said “I am honoured to have made the Longlist for the second year in a row. This is special for me and my team. To be able to go from nothing to making it into the last 20, it’s an honour. Thanks to everyone who has put me forward for this.”

C Duncan said “I am absolutely thrilled that ‘Alluvium’ has been Longlisted for The SAY Award. Scotland has an absolutely amazing music scene, so to be included in this is extremely exciting and humbling.”

Callum Easter said “Everyone should feel included. There are no borders around my music. So I’m well chuffed to be included in the Longlist. ”

Constant Follower said “It’s utterly humbling to have my album recognised by The SAY Award nominators and included on this year’s Longlist. I’m delighted, but I’m even happier that the efforts of all of the people who worked with me on the album are being recognised. For me, the magic in music is in collaboration, and this would have been a very different album without all the people who played on it, helped me record it, created the artwork and films, and of course the co-production of Kramer, whose genius… well, I haven’t the words to describe. I’m thinking back to when I was writing these songs, my baby daughter asleep through the wall and me trying to sing quietly to not to wake her – never then would I have imagined the songs would have connected with people as they have, to the extent the album is being recognised for the SAY Award Longlist. It’s a very humbling thing, but okay to feel just a little proud too, I think.”

Declan Welsh and the Decadent West said “It’s always nice to have folk appreciate yer work, so we’re all very grateful. We’re proud of ‘It’s Been A Year’. It was a step forward, and contains some of our favourite songs we’ve ever released. It works well as a whole piece of art, takes ye on a bit of a journey and has some v nice melodies and harmonies. I’m glad other people like it too”

Duncan Lyall said “I am a huge fan and supporter of The SAY Award. It’s fantastic to have an inclusive, cross-genre, Scottish music award that creates a level playing field for all musicians, whether signed to a major label or recording in their bedrooms. ‘Milestone’ has been a labour of love and, as an independent artist, to be included in this year’s SAY Longlist is an honour and a dream come true.”

Fergus McCreadie said “I’m absolutely thrilled that ‘Forest Floor’ has been included on the Longlist for The SAY Award 2022 – it’s such a great celebration of music in Scotland and to represent Scottish Jazz on that list is an honour.”

Hamish Hawk said “I’m thrilled and in no small amount humbled to see ‘Heavy Elevator’ included on the Longlist for The SAY Award. To say I’ve been inspired by the award’s previous winners and nominees is an understatement. It’s an honour, and I’m immensely grateful.”

Hen Hoose said “It is an absolute honour to have been Longlisted for the SAY Award this year. ‘Equaliser’ has been a real labour of love. It has brought together likeminded individuals with a common goal, created a wonderful supportive community and it has given us an opportunity to showcase the talented women and non-binary writers and producers based here in Scotland. This album has been written, recorded, mixed and mastered by women and non-binary artists and to get this recognition for our work is incredible, it means a huge amount to us all.”

Kathryn Joseph said “I’m so proud that ‘For You Who Are The Wronged’ is on the Longlist. Thank you to everyone who was part of it. I feel so lucky to have got to work with the amazing Lomond Campbell at the lengths. Thank you for all of it.”

Kobi Onyame said “I feel much gratitude. Thank you for including my album in the Longlist. ‘Don’t Drink the Poison’ is my most important album and I’m grateful it is resonating.”

The Ninth Wave said “It feels amazing to be Longlisted for the SAY Award again. We’re over the moon that ‘Heavy Like a Headache’ has been recognised in this way, particularly from SAY who have championed Scottish music so brilliantly since it began. The Longlist is so strong and it goes to show the strength of the Scottish music scene at the moment.”

Niteworks said “We are delighted to be included in this year’s Longlist. With this album drew on inspiration from the richness the worlds of Scottish Traditional, Gaelic and Scots song has to offer, aiming to present our music in a more expansive way than before. To know that it has hit the mark is a very nice feeling!”

Proc Fiskal said “It’s an honour to be considered alongside such fantastic albums, thanks for thinking of the record! Cheers!”

Rebecca Vasmant said “It is a real honour and privilege to be in the SAY Longlist this year with my Album, ‘With Love From Glasgow’. I have watched in awe, for many years, the artists who have come through the SAY each year, and always dreamed of one day, making my own Album and it being considered, and now that it’s here, it feels absolutely crazy. My aim with my album was to promote Scotland, and Scottish Jazz out to the rest of the world, and it feels like it hopefully did Scotland some justice, with the critical acclaim that it received, and now leading onto us performing the Album live on tour later this year. This all feels like a wonderful dream, and I have the amazing musicians who played on the album, who have now become family, to thank first and foremost. I’m wholeheartedly honoured, happy, and as I always say – BUZZING!”

Seonaid Aitken said “This is an immense honour! This album is attached to a life-changing event for me and so it’s a very personal journey as much as an outpouring of joy for life which can be shared with everyone. My incredible team of musicians (and friends) inspired me to write this music for them and I’m delighted that its broad mix of styles has had this recognition”

Walt Disco said “To be included in this year’s Longlist is an amazing feeling, especially to see our album in the company of so many stellar Scottish releases we’ve been enjoying this year”

The SAY Award Longlist is the product of an extraordinary nationwide consultation, encapsulating the strength and diversity of Scotland’s music scene. 369 eligible album submissions were whittled down to the 20-strong Longlist by 100 impartial music industry nominators, populated by constituencies of people with backgrounds in certain sectors and genre specialisms. The newly announced Longlist will be further whittled down to a final 10 albums to make up this year’s Shortlist, one of which will be chosen by music fans in a 72-hour online public vote. From 3 – 5 October, music fans have the chance to ensure their favourite album from the Longlist makes it onto the Shortlist by voting at with the remaining 9 albums chosen by an esteemed judging panel.

This year’s SAY Award judging panel includes the likes of John Niven (Author), Jackie Wylie (CEO/Artistic Director, National Theatre of Scotland), Anneliese Harmon (General Manager, Music Managers Forum) and Khaleda Noon (Executive Director, Intercultural Youth Scotland), as well as writer, director and comedian Paul Black who presented the inaugural Sound of Young Scotland Award at last year’s SAY Award Ceremony to rising electronic singer/producer LVRA.

The 2022 Longlist honours both SAY Award alumni and new albums from emerging artists. 2015 winner Kathryn Joseph – whose debut album ‘Bones You Have Thrown Me And Blood I’ve Spilled’ earned her The SAY Award acclaim – is once again in the running alongside past nominees Declan Welsh & The Decadent West, The Ninth Wave, Callum Easter, Kobi Onyame and Fergus McCreadie (who also gained a coveted Mercury Prize nomination this year). The Longlist also recognises new music resonating in the Scottish scene, from Hen Hoose’s eclectic debut, to Glasgow glam-rockers Walt Disco, and the modern, seductive jazz of Rebecca Vasmant.

As Scotland’s most prestigious music prize, The SAY Award winner will take away not only the coveted Scottish Album of the Year title but also a £20,000 prize that is among the most lucrative in the UK. The nine runners-up also take away £1,000 each as well as a bespoke award created by a local Stirling artist commissioned by The SAY Award. The winner will be exclusively announced at this year’s Ceremony, taking place at the Albert Halls, Stirling in a celebration of Scottish music – past, present and future – and featuring exclusive live performances along with celebrations of the 2022’s nominees. As one of the most exciting nights in Scotland’s musical calendar, the Ceremony can now be attended by music fans, with tickets available to purchase here.

Returning for a second year, the Scottish Album of the Year Award will once again be accompanied by the Sound of Young Scotland Award and the Modern Scottish Classic Award. The Sound of Young Scotland Award – supported by Ticketmaster, Youth Music Initiative and Youth Music – aims to highlight the best of the country’s emerging musical talent, with the winner taking home a funding package worth up to £5,000 to facilitate the creation of their debut album. The winner will be chosen by a judging panel made up of previous SAY Award nominees, including Stina Tweeddale (Honeyblood), TAAHLIAH, Jubemi Iyiku (Bemz) and Declan Welsh (Declan Welsh and the Decadent West), and announced at The SAY Award ceremony. The Modern Scottish Classic Award – in association with YouTube Music – recognises an iconic album from Scotland’s past that still inspires today. The 20 SAY Award Longlisted artists announced today will together decide this year’s winner, announced on 6th October, and celebrated at the Ceremony on the 20th.

The legacy of the last Modern Scottish Classic winners, Frightened Rabbit, continues through this year’s charity partnership with Tiny Changes, set up in memory of late frontman Scott Hutchinson. Other partners for 2022 include Creative Scotland, Stirling Council, Stirling Alive With Scotland, YouTube Music, Go Forth, Ticketmaster, PPL, Youth Music Initiative, Youth Music and Music Declares Emergency. The SAY Award is developed and produced by the Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA), with accessibility, inclusivity and diversity at the heart of their flagship project. The criteria for SAY Award eligibility is six tracks and/or 30 minutes, with the aim of eliminating socio-cultural barriers for artists and embracing genres that typically favour short-form bodies of work.

Returning for its 11th edition – and its Stirling debut – previous winners of The SAY Award include Mogwai ‘As The Love Continues’ (2021), Nova ‘Re-Up’ (2020), Auntie Flo ‘Radio Highlife’ (2019), Young Fathers ‘Cocoa Sugar’ (2018), Sacred Paws ‘Strike A Match’ (2017), Anna Meredith ‘Varmints’ (2016), Kathryn Joseph ‘Bones You Have Thrown Me And Blood I’ve Spilled’ (2015), Young Fathers ‘Tape Two’ (2014), RM Hubbert ‘Thirteen Lost & Found’ (2013) and the inaugural winner Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat ‘Everything’s Getting Older’ (2012). To date, The SAY Award has distributed over £300,000 in prize money across ten previous campaigns, and 2022 is set to further amplify Scottish musical talent to a global audience.

To keep up to date with SAY Award 2022 news, follow us on social media across Twitter @SAYaward, Instagram @sayaward and Facebook @SAYaward.