Scottish Album Of The Year 2021

The Scottish Album of the Year Awards (SAY) are now in their tenth year and the shortlist is probably the strongest yet. Starting in 2012 SAY set out to recognise and reward the best of Scottish talent and provide an annual focus for the best releases each year. The awards are based on artistic merit rather than commercial success and have proved to be the launching pad for successful for careers for many bands and artists who were virtually unknown prior to making the shortlist. Previous winners include Kathryn Joseph, Young Fathers (twice), RM Hubbert and Sacred Paws. The 2020 award went to Nova for her brilliant album Re-Up.

This year’s shortlist ranges from an album that reached Number one in the UK album charts through to self-released albums from up and coming talent. It has been an especially exciting year for Scottish music with new albums from big hitters such as Arab Strap, Biffy Clyro and Mogwai. But it’s often the unexpected choice that takes the £20,000 first prize. The award ceremony in tonight (23 October).

Aiitee, a young Scots-Nigerian singer based in Aberdeen has been creating waves and might just snatch the top prize. Joesef, an “emotional sad boy” from Glasgow’s east end is another who might surprise us along with trad musician Rachel Newton or even Lizzie Reid‘s heartbreaking love songs on her album Cubicle. Bella favourites and hip-hop legends Stanley Odd must have a strong chance of winning with Stay Odd. The Snuts continue to reap the success of their hard work with their album reaching Number 14 in the UK album charts this year. But I have a sneaky feeling that The Ninth Wave‘s album Happy Days! – recorded in Great Bernera in the Outer Hebrides might just be the one for 2021.

Excerpts from the ten albums on this years’s shortlist are below – enjoy!


Arab Strap

Biffy Clyro


Lizzie Reid


Rachel Newton

Stanley Odd

The Ninth Wave

The Snuts



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