The independent judging panel has been announced for this year’s Scottish Album of the Year Award. The panel encompasses a broad range of tastemakers from across the creative industries. The judging panel is as follows:

Bob Last (Co-founder of Fast Product)

Caroline MacLennan (Director at HebCelt Festival)

David Martin (Creative Director at Hidden Door Festival)

Davy Wales (Performer Development Specialist at PPL)

Derek Robertson (Editor-in-Chief at Drowned in Sound)

Lynne Ramsay (BAFTA winning film director)

Mark Mackechnie (Promoter at Riverside Festival / Electric Frog / Melting Pot)

Rhiannon Mair (Producer / Laura Marling, Bryde, Emma McGrath and Kimberly Anne)

Rose McDowall (Musician, formerly of Strawberry Switchblade)

Sarra Wild (DJ/Promoter)

Stephen Allen (Head of Learning and Partnerships and curator of ‘Rip It Up: The Story of Scottish Pop’ at National Museums Scotland)

The 11 judges were initially tasked with listening to the twenty outstanding albums that made up this year’s SAY Award Longlist, chosen by 100 impartial music industry ‘Nominators’ and announced on 1 August at ‘Live at the Longlist’; a live music event in Glasgow hosted by journalist and broadcaster Nicola Meighan. The event saw performances from previously nominated acts and raised money for Help Musicians Scotland, The SAY Award’s chosen charity partner for 2018.

The judging panel have now undertaken the task of narrowing the Longlist down to curate a Shortlist of ten albums, which includes, Golden Teacher’s ‘No Luscious Life’, Mogwai’s ‘Every Country’s Sun’ and Young Father’s ‘Cocoa Sugar’. Of the 10 Shortlisted albums, Franz Ferdinand’s ‘Always Ascending’ was automatically guaranteed a coveted spot on the Shortlist, as the winner of this year’s 72-hour online public vote which took place at from 20th– 22nd August.

Stephen Allen, curator of the exhibition Rip it Up: The Story of Scottish Pop at the National Museum of Scotland said: “The Rip It Up exhibition, and all of the associated programming with BBC Scotland, Edinburgh International Festival and others are, we hope, inspiring people to engage with and celebrate Scottish pop music. The SAY Award showcases the best of new Scottish pop celebrating its innovation, quality and diversity, and the six previous winning albums are on display in the exhibition. We’ll be bringing that up to date with the inclusion of the 2018 winner, and so I’m delighted to have been invited to contribute to the selection process”.

The Shortlist was announced on August 23rd at a special BBC Radio Scotland Quay Sessions show, presented by Roddy Hart live from BBC Scotland’s HQ at Pacific Quay in Glasgow. The live show and broadcast included new material from pop-duo Sacred Paws whose album, ‘Strike a Match’, won the acclaimed SAY Award in 2017.

The winner of this year’s SAY Award will be chosen by the judging panel on the night of this year’s Ceremony, which takes place on Thursday 6th  September in the elegant surroundings of Paisley Town Hall, with support from Renfrewshire Council.

Now in its seventh year, The SAY Award is Scotland’s most popular and prestigious music prize. The winning artist will pick up a £20,000 prize – provided by long-term Award partner Creative Scotland – with the nine runners-up each receiving £1,000.

 The SAY Award is produced by the Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA), in partnership with Paisley Is, Renfrewshire Council, Creative Scotland, Harviestoun, TicketWeb and PPL. The SAY Award is delighted to be supporting Help Musicians Scotland in 2018, as the award’s official Charity Partner.

Launched in 2012, The SAY Award celebrates, promotes and rewards the most outstanding Scottish albums released each year. Respected by artists and valued by the industry, it is responsible for a surge in musical discovery and an explosion of impassioned debate on social media. Previous SAY Award winners are Sacred Paws’ ‘Strike A Match’ (2017), Anna Meredith’s ‘Varmints’ (2016), Kathryn Joseph’s ‘Bones You Have Thrown Me And Blood I’ve Spilled’ (2015), Young Fathers’ ‘Tape Two’ (2014), RM Hubbert’s ‘Thirteen Lost & Found’ (2013) and Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat’s ‘Everything’s Getting Older’ (2012).

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