Top ten records shortlisted for Scottish Album of the Year revealed

Paolo Nutini's debut These Streets has been revealed as this year's winner of the Modern Scottish Classic Award.

Shortlist for 2023’s Scottish Album of the Year revealed as Paolo Nutini debut album voted ‘modern classic’ SAY Awards

The top ten shortlisted albums for this year’s Scottish Album of the Year have been announced.

The shortlisted artists are in the running for the £20,000 prize and coveted national title.

The news was accompanied by the announcement that Paolo Nutini’s ‘These Streets’ has been announced as the winner of the 2023 Modern Scottish Classic Award.

The Modern Scottish Classic Award, in association with YouTube Music, is an annual recognition of an iconic album from Scotland’s past that still inspires today.

Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) 2023 also revealed the five finalists for this year’s Sound of Young Scotland Award.

Music fans were given 72 hours to ‘have their SAY’ on their favourite of the longlisted albums to secure the shortlist.

Nutini’s Last Night in the Bittersweet has been revealed as this year’s public vote winner while the nine remaining shortlisted albums were chosen by the SAY Award judging panel.

Robert Kilpatrick, interim CEO and creative director of the Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA) said: “Congratulations to the ten incredible albums that have made The SAY Award Shortlist, as well as to our Sound of Young Scotland Award finalists and this year’s Modern Scottish Classic Award winner – Paolo Nutini’s iconic debut ‘These Streets’.

“This is a fantastic representation of the strength and diversity of Scottish music; past, present and future.”

He added that recent Scottish Government cuts to culture funding along with a “myriad of wider financial challenges” are currently impacting artists at all levels of the industry.

He continued: “The SAY Award’s role in celebrating, promoting and rewarding artistic endeavour remains crucially important.

“Culture is our identity; it’s how we see ourselves, how we see our place in the world and how we relate to others. It’s the stories of life in Scotland, and it underpins mental well-being – both collectively and individually – in many ways.

“Our lives and our stories matter, and through championing our nation’s musical output, we can share our stories with the rest of the world and find new ways to connect.

“The SMIA is proud of its ongoing commitment to the value of music in Scotland, and The SAY Award is an essential part of that work. Thanks to our partners for their invaluable support, and we look forward to what will be an incredible night to remember at our ceremony in Stirling later this month.”

The SAY Award Shortlist for 2023 is:

  • Andrew Wasylyk – Hearing the Water before Seeing the Falls
  • Becky Sikasa – Twelve Wooden Boxes
  • Bemz – Nova’s Dad
  • Brìghde Chaimbeul – Carry Them With Us
  • Brooke Combe – Black Is the New Gold
  • Cloth – Secret Measure
  • Hamish Hawk – Angel Numbers
  • Joesef – Permanent Damage
  • Paolo Nutini – Last Night In The Bittersweet
  • Young Fathers – Heavy Heavy

The albums are in the running to win the final prize of £20,000 and the coveted title of Scottish Album of the Year, whittled down from a record-breaking 437 submitted eligible albums.

Nine runners up on the shortlist will each receive £1,000 plus a prize from The SAY Award Design Commission, created by Brutal Concrete Workshop.

All the shortlisted artists will be celebrated at this year’s SAY Award Ceremony, allowing a full-circle celebration of Scottish music throughout time; past, present and future.

The SAY Award Ceremony, takes place in the heart of Scotland at The Albert Halls in Stirling on Thursday October 26.

Stirling Council leader, Chris Kane said: “The SAY Award Shortlist being unveiled is another exciting milestone in the countdown to Stirling hosting one of the biggest evenings in Scotland’s musical calendar. We can’t wait to welcome back the country’s leading musical artists to the iconic Albert Halls on October 26.

“We’re committed to promoting Stirling as a hub of creativity where the most talented individuals can thrive and where major national cultural events such as the SAY Award can be staged.”

The Sound of Young Scotland Award

The five finalists for The Sound of Young Scotland Award (supported by Help Musicians, Youth Music Initiative and Youth Music) have also been revealed.

This award is designed to support the next generation of Scottish talent and give the winner the means to create their debut album. 

The shortlisted artists are Danny Cliff, Pearling, Pippa Blundell, No Windows and Queen of Harps.

The winner will receive a funding package worth over £10,000 to help them create their debut album. The prize includes cash grants, recording studio use, business advice sessions and a run of up to 500 vinyl pressings from Seabass Vinyl, Scotland’s first vinyl pressing plant.

The judging panel is made from 11 former SAY Award nominees. From 119 applications, they determined the five finalists and will reconvene to decide this year’s winner; which will be announced at The SAY Award Ceremony.

Previous Sound of Young Scotland Award winners include Berta Kennedy (2022) and LVRA (2021), with LVRA’s debut album longlisted for 2023 – testament to the importance of the award’s support of new artists.

Laurie Oliva, director of Musicians Services at Help Musicians, said: “We are so excited to be supporting the future of Scottish music through the Sound of Young Scotland Award. Help Musicians offers musicians the support they need to build a sustainable career, and we look forward to helping this year’s winner to record and release their debut album with financial support and expert advice.

“We love music and want a world where musicians thrive. Congratulations to all of this year’s nominees who contribute so much to Scottish music and beyond.”

Daniel Williams, engagement director at Youth Music, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting the Sound of Young Scotland Award again this year. Our goal at Youth Music is to equalise young people’s access to making, learning and earning in music.

“That’s why we’re proud to partner with the Scottish Music Industry Association to fully support the next generation of musical talent in Scotland. We’re excited to see Youth Music alumni in the list and wish all the amazing finalists the best of luck!”

The Modern Scottish Classic Award

The Modern Scottish Classic Award, presented in association with YouTube Music, is annually selected by the 20 artists making up The SAY Award Longlist.

All 20 artists are asked to submit their top five Scottish albums in order of preference which pre-date the inception of The SAY Award in 2011.

The SMIA assigns points to each album, with the highest scoring album then being recognised via the artist-led award.

Paolo Nutini’s debut album These Streets, which was released in 2006, will be honoured at this year’s ceremony.

The Paisley singer-songwriter is also part of this year’s shortlist with his latest album Last Night in the Bittersweet, showcasing a career spanning over 17 years which has been credited with continuing to inspire new and established artists alike.

SAY have described These Streets as an “instant classic” which catapulted the then 19-year-old Nutini onto the UK music scene with long-lasting hits Last Request and New Shoes.

Nutini, now a household name, went on to release three more critically acclaimed albums following ‘These Streets’, which went on to sell over 1.5 million copies in the UK.

Lizzie Dickson, head of Label Relations, YouTube UK: “These Streets is a stunning, timeless record from a sensational talent that reflects Scottish artistry at its finest.

“Paolo Nutini set new standards for lyrical and vocal quality with this debut, and he continues to inspire artists and fans around the world. YouTube is committed to celebrating all music talent, both old and new, so we are proud to sponsor the Modern Scottish Classic Award.”

Tickets for 2023’s ceremony at the Albert Halls, Stirling are on sale now via

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