“We believe that awards in music should no longer be reserved for a selection of elite, well established, international recording artists that have the funding, support and weight of major record companies behind them.” – UMA Founders
On 27 October 2016 the inaugral Unsigned Music Awards took place at the beautiful Troxy venue in London. Well over a year in the planning it came from the creative brain of founder Simon O’Kelly, and grew through the hard work, determined contribution and vision of Simon and fellow young, dynamic founders Georgina Thomas and Ben Connor.
Their dedication created an Awards to be proud of, that can be built on year on year. Designed to be able to sit comfortably alongside other music awards such as The Brits as a credible awards for the independent scene, I think they achieved that goal on the night.
With a lot to prove about the validity and worth of independent awards, the UMA met the challenge head on. The result was there to be seen in a glossy, exciting ceremony with some interesting and influential people in the industry presenting the awards, and two presenters in Laura Whitmore (MTV) and Chris Stark (Scott Mill’s Radio 1 show) who are current and credible in the music industry. All in all I think the combination of industry judges, professionals in the music industry, well known presenters, top quality nominees, incredibly good winners who proved their worthiness for the awards, and the excellent acts who performed at the ceremony (some such as Elle Exxe and Broken Witt Rebels went on to win awards) made it authentic and credible. I can see the UMA ceremony becoming more polished and glamorous as it progresses, but for the first year they did a good job. It all pointed to an exciting prospect for the years to come.
I have to mention the supremely good live performances on the night from Elle Exxe, Broken Witt Rebels, Hunter & The Bear, Alex Francis, Dani Sylvia, AKS,SKIES, Chasing Cadence and Darby Ward. We were treated to a diverse set of performances that impressed us throughout the night. The standard was very high and it helped to set the tone for the evening; showcasing how great the quality is within the unsigned music scene. For viewers watching it on Freeview etc I hope it came across at that high standard via TV as it did live at The Troxy. If it gained a few more fans for all the artists involved – winners, nominees and performers – then that’s a great incentive for everyone.
I have to give a special mention to Elle Exxe and Momac who are both from my home city of Edinburgh. I was so delighted to see them showing what talent there is here. Elle has great songs and put in a dynamic performance of her single ‘Home With You’ at the ceremony. I had the pleasure of meeting Elle after the ceremony and she is lovely and just as dynamic when you meet her in person, definite star quality. I scouted Momac for the UMA and was so delighted for Molly when she won the Youth Music Award. She was presented with it by Andy Parfitt who gained widespread recognition as controller at Radio 1. An impressive person to collect the award from, and Molly was very assured up on the stage. Well done Momac! She’s a star of the future definitely. I encouraged Momac to apply for the UMA because of her amazing voice, great songs, striking videos and cool look. She is the whole package, a ready made star. I recommend checking out her music.
If you didn’t watch the Unsigned Music Awards this year or didn’t attend the ceremony then you missed out on a great night. The good news is there are the 2017 awards to look forward to. I’m certain that Georgina, Ben and Simon will again put all of their hearts and souls into the awards they passionately believe in, and strive to make each year better than the last. But what makes the Unsigned Music Awards special is the talented independent musicians within the industry who are a part of the UMA. They showed why the UMA exists; why it’s important for the UMA to support them and nurture that talent.
My thanks to the UMA founders for including PR Owls in what is a fantastic venture.I’m delighted to be a small part of a much needed awards.
Find out more about UMA here:
Interviews with UMA winners: