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The Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award is today delighted to reveal 2021’s Shortlist, plus the winner of the inaugural Modern Scottish Classic Award, as voted by 2021’s Longlist.
The highly-anticipated Shortlist celebrates the country’s most outstanding albums and the incredible network of people who created them. From 327 eligible album submissions, to a Longlist of 20 records, these final ten albums remain in the running to win £20,000, one of the most lucrative prize funds in the UK, at this month’s ceremony in Edinburgh’s Usher Hall as Scotland’s national music prize celebrates its 10th year.
2021’s SAY Award Longlist also voted for the inaugural Modern Scottish Classic Award, recognising an album from Scotland’s past that still inspires music being made today, with the winner chosen as Frightened Rabbit – ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’. The album will be recognised on the night of The SAY Award Ceremony.

In alphabetical order, The SAY Award Shortlist for 2021 is as follows:
AiiTee – ‘Love Don’t Fall’
Arab Strap – ‘As Days Get Dark’
Biffy Clyro – ‘A Celebration of Endings’
Joesef – ‘Does It Make You Feel Good?’
Lizzie Reid – ‘Cubicle’
Mogwai – ‘As The Love Continues’
Rachel Newton – ‘To The Awe’
Stanley Odd – ‘STAY ODD’
The Ninth Wave – ‘Happy Days!’
The Snuts – ‘W.L.’
The winner of this year’s Public Vote was Stanley Odd – ‘STAY ODD’, with the remaining nine albums chosen by the esteemed judging panel. 2021’s panel includes the likes of Ian Rankin (Author), Jackie Kay (Poet), Daniel Portman (Actor) and Ashley Storrie (Comedian), as well as Tim Burgess (Musician, The Charlatans), whose “Tim’s Twitter Listening Parties” sound tracked the UK’s lockdown for many by bringing artists and audiences together to listen, discuss and celebrate albums both past and present.

Robert Kilpatrick, Creative Projects and Communications Director at the Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA) said, “The SAY Award Shortlist comprises 10 of the best Scottish records of the last year; all released throughout the pandemic. With some of the biggest names in Scottish music featured alongside some of our nation’s most exciting rising talents, 2021’s Shortlist showcases the exciting, diverse and resilient nature of our music community despite 18 months of significant challenges. It firmly recognises music’s cultural impact and life-changing value, and brings to the forefront a recorded output that all of us in Scotland can – and should – feel proud of.
Along with this year’s Shortlist announcement, we’re delighted to reveal the winner of the inaugural Modern Scottish Classic Award, as chosen by the 20 artists that made up this year’s Longlist. ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’ by Frightened Rabbit is a record that many of us hold close to our hearts, and for it to claim the inaugural prize is a special moment for both The SAY Award and Scotland’s music community as a whole. It’s a record we’re proud to be honouring this year, and one we know will continue to be both celebrated and cherished for many years to come.
As we quickly approach this year’s ceremony, we look forward to welcoming attendees from across the cultural landscape, as well as music fans for the first time as we get set to host our biggest event to date. On 23rd October we’ll be recognising both this year’s Nominees and 10 incredible years of The SAY Award, which since 2012 has played the important and privileged role of championing outstanding Scottish albums and rewarding artists for invaluable contributions to our cultural identity as a nation. We hope you can join us, and we’re looking forward to a much needed and well deserved night for our artists, industry and wider music community to come together after such a tough and turbulent time spent apart.”
The SAY Award Design Commission, in association with OVO Energy and curated by Local Heroes, highlights the enduring links between music, art, and design and will provide a lasting tribute for all 10 Shortlisted artists, as well as the inaugural winners of both the Modern Scottish Classic Award and the Sound of Young Scotland Award. Each year, an emerging designer is commissioned to create bespoke prizes for the artists, and in association with OVO Energy for 2021, the trophies will have a major sustainability focus. Stay tuned for the first look at 2021’s awards via SAY socials.
Colin Banks, Head of Sponsorship & Partnerships, OVO Energy said: “We’re delighted to come on board to support this year’s Scottish Album of the Year Award, especially 2021’s Design Commission. We can’t wait to reveal this year’s bespoke awards and know they will be a lasting memory for each artist and their album’s outstanding achievements over the past year. It’s been a difficult 18 months for the music industry so we’re looking forward to celebrating Scotland’s national album prize, while also helping the Award programme in becoming more sustainable.”

The winner of The SAY Award will collect £20,000 while all nine runners-up will be awarded £1,000 and their own bespoke award. Following a digital edition in 2020, the event returns as a physical ceremony, welcoming guests to Edinburgh’s Usher Hall on Saturday 23rd October. For the first time since the award’s inception, music fans are able to join the celebrations and purchase tickets HERE to attend one of the most exciting nights in Scotland’s musical calendar.

This year’s ceremony will celebrate the strength and diversity of Scottish music; past, present, and future. The event will recognise 2021’s Nominees and feature special one-of-a-kind live performances, along with the exclusive reveal of the Scottish Album of the Year. By the end of 2021’s campaign, The SAY Award will have distributed almost £300,000 in prize money to Scottish artists, with 2021 set to be another stellar year in showcasing the best of Scotland’s world-renowned musical talent.
2021 has seen the introduction of two new awards for SAY’s tenth year, with the ‘Modern Scottish Classic Award’ and the ‘Sound of Young Scotland Award’. A panel of previous SAY Award nominees including Kobi Onyame, Sacred Paws, SHHE, and more will choose the winner of ‘The Sound of Young Scotland Award’, with the winner receiving up to £5,000 funding to facilitate the creation of their debut album as well as 500 vinyl pressings of the finished record. Supported by Key Production, Youth Music and Youth Music Initiative (Creative Scotland)The Sound of Young Scotland Award was designed to invest in Scottish music’s future and provide vital support to an emerging artist. The winner will be announced at this year’s SAY Award Ceremony.

Developed and produced by the Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA), the 2021 campaign is delivered in partnership with Creative Scotland, the City of Edinburgh CouncilYouTube MusicSpotifyTicketmaster and PPL with Music Declares Emergency returning as the award’s Charity Partner for a second year. With COP26 taking place in Glasgow throughout November, sustainability is at the heart of The SAY Award’s plans, and the SMIA will look to use its flagship project to demonstrate and instill best practice for the music industry both now and in the future. Further to The SAY Award’s commitment to sustainability, the Scottish music initiative is also delighted to announce that it has partnered up with OVO Energy to create a more sustainable event, with more exciting information on the new partnership to be revealed over the next couple of weeks.

Now in its tenth year, previous winners of The SAY Award include 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 keep up with The SAY Award 2021 journey, make sure you follow the award on Twitter @SAYaward, Instagram @sayaward and Facebook @SAYaward.


AiiTee – ‘Love Don’t Fall’
‘Love Don’t Fall is an album which portrays different sides of love. It aims to tell a story, going from the more toxic sides of love to running away from love, to finding what love is really supposed to look like.

Arab Strap – ‘As Days Get Dark’
“It’s about hopelessness and darkness,” says Aidan Moffat. “But in a fun way.” As ‘Days Get Dark’, Arab Strap’s first album since their split in 2006, is a record that manages to feel like both evolution and revolution, a continuation of what has come before but also a bold leap into the future. As Malcolm Middleton, the other half of the band, says: “There’s no point getting back together to release mediocrity.”

Biffy Clyro – ‘A Celebration of Endings’
Released on 14th August 2020, Biffy Clyro’s eighth studio record, and third UK number one album, ‘A Celebration of Endings’ gained praise from the likes of The Independent, who branded it “an album that soothes, shakes and surprises at every turn” in their 4 star review, whilst the Sunday Times made it their album of the week, describing it as “combining feral sonic attack with an innate melodic touch and lyrics about empowerment, activism, love and connection”. The album won the award for Best Album at the Scottish Music Awards 2021.

Joesef – ‘Does It Make You Feel Good?’
This EP draws a line under a relationship that I’ve written about in Play Me Something Nice – if that EP felt more hopeful, this is the end game. The bitterness, and the lies that stem from fading love, to the aftermath of dealing with loss and regret, and finally taking responsibility for my own actions. I don’t really give much away ever, so it will always make me feel uncomfortable sharing such personal aspects of my life, but maybe if it can help me work some shit out, it could help somebody else too.

Lizzie Reid – ‘Cubicle’
Reid’s songs are microcosms of love, loss and heartbreak experienced in Glasgow’s streets, nightclubs and bars. She covers similarly personal topics on her EP ‘Cubicle’. Within she reflects on a formative summer which saw the end of Reid’s first same-sex relationship.

The EP was recorded in March 2020 with producer Oli Barton-Wood (Mellah, Nilufer Yanya, Molly Payton). Aware of the increasing seriousness of the covid19 situation, Wood packed a case of microphones, leads and equipment and travelled to Lizzie’s home in Glasgow to make the record. They finished the EP just days ahead of the UK-wide lockdown.

As the world outside descended into chaos and its structures threatened to fall apart, Reid created something both strong and vulnerable that will serve to offer solace and hope in the most testing of times.

Mogwai – ‘As The Love Continues’
‘As The Love Continues’ is the follow up to 2017’s Every Country’s Sun, and their third UK Top 10 charting album. It reached number 1 in the UK album charts, and No. 9 in Billboards US Album Sales Chart giving the band the highest scoring chart positions they have ever achieved.

Rachel Newton – ‘To The Awe’
‘To The Awe’ places women at the centre of its narrative, drawing on old poems and traditional song lyrics to follow the various stages of a woman’s life, often marking a coming of age and an acquisition of power. The record is a tribute to the women who have inspired Rachel and is influenced by her own recent work around representation in the music industry. Composed, recorded and mixed in lockdown, it was a challenging album to make, but ultimately a welcome focus and a vital connection with others in such strange and uncertain times.

Stanley Odd – ‘STAY ODD’
‘STAY ODD’ is about the oddities of the ordinary. It’s a collection of musical stories about about outsiders, outcasts and the universally Odd; the ordinarily unusual; the typically extraordinary. It navigates the geography of the Odd Universe from witches and stolen bikes, to moonlight flits and radical, rebellious women, through hedonism, parenthood, lying politicians and universal outsiderdom. The music is the centre of the album but the centre explodes outward into the films and Matt’s artwork, with the book as a pathfinder to plot the journey of the songs. We are Odd and so are you.

The Ninth Wave – ‘Happy Days!’
The Ninth Wave open an auspicious new chapter of their story with the release of ‘Happy Days!’. Recorded at the suitably gothly Black Bay studio on the island of Great Bernera the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, produced with Faris Badwan, it’s The Ninth Wave like you’ve never heard them before rawer, realer, more playful, and more revealing.

The Snuts – ‘W.L.’
Our debut album ‘W.L.’ is a lifetimes work. It’s a collection of milestones and melodies that time stamp a dream we had become a reality. It’s a record about being true, loving and resilient.

Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA)
The Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA) is a not-for-profit trade body and membership organisation which exists to strengthen, empower and unite Scotland’s music industry.

As a Creative Scotland Regularly Funded Organisation (RFO), we work to create and nurture an inclusive membership community which reflects the full spectrum of Scotland’s music industry. We give voice to our membership when speaking to Government, Parliament and development organisations, and we both produce and support projects and programmes that stimulate sustainability, domestic and international growth, development and innovation in Scotland’s music sector. Our services, projects and events are designed to strengthen and increase the value of Scotland’s music industry on the world stage: economically, socially and culturally.

For further information on the SMIA and its services, projects and events please visit

Keep up to date with the SMIA across our social media channels:
Twitter: | Facebook: | Instagram:

Creative Scotland
Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland distributing funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery. Further information at Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Learn more about the value of art and creativity in Scotland and join in at
Further information at
Follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

City of Edinburgh Council
The City of Edinburgh Council is the local government authority for the City of Edinburgh.

YouTube Music
YouTube Music is a new music streaming service made for music listening, on top of the magic of YouTube: making the world of music easier to explore and more personalised than ever. Whether you want to listen, watch or discover – all the ways music moves you can be found in one place – not just music videos, but official albums, singles, remixes, live performances, covers and hard-to-find music you can’t get anywhere else.

Spotify transformed music listening forever when it launched in 2008. Discover, manage and share over 70 million tracks, including more than 2.9 million podcast titles, for free, or upgrade to Spotify Premium to access exclusive features for music including improved sound quality and an on-demand, offline, and ad-free listening experience.
Today, Spotify is the world’s most popular audio streaming subscription service with 365m users, including 165m subscribers, across 178 markets.

OVO Energy
OVO Energy was founded in 2009 and redesigned the energy experience to be fair, effortless, green and simple for all customers.  The company has spent the last decade investing in the market leading technology, customer service operations and digital products to help members cut their carbon emissions. OVO is on a mission through its sustainability strategy Plan Zero to tackle the most important issue of our time; the climate crisis, by bringing our customers with us on the journey towards zero carbon living. OVO Energy has committed to being a net zero carbon business and achieve bold science-based carbon reduction targets by 2030, while helping members halve their carbon footprint at the same time.

Through our entertainment partnerships, OVO hopes to inspire people to become part of a movement towards a brighter, lower carbon future. One gig at a time.


Ticketmaster is the global and local market leader in live event ticketing, digital marketing, and mobile fan engagement tools that drive over 500 million tickets to fans in 32 countries.

Founded in 1934, PPL is the UK music industry’s collective management organisation (CMO) for over 120,000 performers and record companies. We license recorded music in the UK when it is played in public (shops, bars, nightclubs, offices etc.) or broadcast (BBC, commercial radio, commercial TV etc.) and ensure that revenue flows back to our members. These include both independent and major record companies, together with performers ranging from emerging grassroots artists through to established session musicians and globally renowned artists. PPL’s public performance licensing is carried out on PPL’s behalf by PPL PRS Ltd, the joint venture between PPL and PRS for Music.

We also collect performance rights internationally when music is played overseas in public and used on TV, radio and some online streaming services, as well as for private copying. International royalties are an increasingly important revenue stream for performers and recording rightsholders.

In 2020, in total, we collected £225.7 million across all of our revenue streams, while also distributing money to over 135,000 performers and recording rightsholders.

Music Declares Emergency
Since its launch in London in July 2019, Music Declares Emergency has worked with the music industry and artists to harness the power of music to educate, inspire and engage the public with the climate emergency and to facilitate industry wide conversations to encourage and envision a sustainable music industry. Our declarers now number over 5000 and include all the UK major labels and industry organisations across all sectors, globally famous recording artists, and performers and individuals working within the music industry. All are committed to using their influence to bring conversations around the climate emergency into the mainstream of public debate.

Inspired by the lead taken by the UK music industry, Music Declares Emergency now has sister groups operating in Germany, Switzerland, France, Chile and Canada with further countries set to join the fold soon. A demonstration of the power of music to unite across languages and culture, the continued growth of Music Declares Emergency places music at the heart of the message of hope for a green recovery from a global pandemic and a brighter future for all.

Supporters for The SAY Award 2021 include; Dumfries Music Conference, Help Musicians Scotland, Jupiter Artland, Resonate, SWIM, Scottish Refugee Council, The Touring Network, Wide Days, XpoNorth, Youth Music, Youth Music Initiative.

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