10 June 2021
Arlo Parks & Working Men’s Club Head Up AIM Awards Nominations As First Names Revealed
  • Arlo Parks & Working Men’s Club top the shortlist with four and three nominations respectively 
  • Multiple double-nominees announced – AJ Tracey, Bicep, Che Lingo, ENNY, Floating Points, Fontaines D.C., Lava La Rue, Tkay Maidza
  • Paulette Long OBE to receive brand new Diversity Champion award
  • Tiffany Calver & Jamz Supernova to co-host the virtual event on 25 August

Critically acclaimed singer-songwriter and poet Arlo Parks leads the AIM Independent Music Awards nominations with four nods while Yorkshire synthpop band Working Men’s Club are shortlisted for three awards. The virtual ceremony will take place as a global livestream on 25 August with hosts 1Xtra & 6 Music’s Jamz Supernova and Radio 1 & 1Xtra’s Tiffany Calver joining forces to host the most anticipated night in independent music. 

One of the fastest rising acts around, Arlo Parks is in the running for coveted categories Best Independent Album (in association with Spotify) and Best Independent Track (in association with Facebook) for her gripping debut ‘Collapsed in Sunbeams’ and its final single ‘Hope,’ as well as UK Independent Breakthrough (in association with YouTube Music) following a sell-out US tour, and Best Independent Video (in association with Vevo) for the warm introspective imagining of ‘Hope’.  

On her four nominations, Arlo Parks reacted: “What an honour to be nominated for four AIM Awards!! This is far beyond my wildest dreams and I’m so glad my work has reached this far and touched so many, especially in these tumultuous times.”

Hailing from Yorkshire, post-punk and techno-inspired band Working Men’s Club have racked up an impressive three nominations, including Best Independent Album (in association with Spotify) for the release of their critically acclaimed self-titled debut album after going from strength to strength in spite of the pandemic. On their nominations, the group said: “It’s a real honour to be nominated for three AIM Awards, many thanks to AIM and to everyone that has backed our record. We can’t wait to be back out playing in front of real people as soon as possible.”

After scooping the prestigious Innovator award last year, AJ Tracey returns to the shortlist with nominations for Best [Difficult] Second Album (in association with BBC Radio 6 Music) and Best Creative Packaging for second album ‘Flu Game’, while rappers Che Lingo, Lava La Rue and Tkay Maidza also record two nominations each. Fiercely unique rapper ENNY has also received nods in both the One To Watch (in association with BBC Music Introducing) and Best Independent Track (in association with Facebook)  categories, with the latter recognising the sublime ‘Peng Black Girls’ (feat. Amia Brave). On her nominations, the fast-rising rapper said: “Such an honour to be nominated for one award let alone two, it’s exciting to see your art getting recognition especially so early on!’”

Flying the flag for the dance community, electronic bloggers turned producer duo Bicep receive two nominations along with multi-talented producer Floating Points. They’re joined by some impressive talent in the post-punk scene as Fontaines D.C. receive some well-deserved recognition in the International Breakthrough (in association with Deezer)  and Best [Difficult] Second Album (in association with BBC Radio 6 Music) categories for Brit and Grammy nominated ‘A Hero’s Death.’ 

Alongside the artist nominees, the AIM Awards also looks to highlight the stellar work of the teams behind some of the best releases of the past year. Partisan Records, Transgressive Records and Forever Living Originals all receive nods in the Best Independent Label category, while the Best Small Label (in association with Believe) award names Killing Moon, Strut Records and Sonic Cathedral among its contenders.

On her return as presenter, Tiffany Calver said: Having presented the ceremony in 2020, this will be marking a year of the world being in a global pandemic, a year where music and community really helped so many of us get through the tough times. To be able to celebrate the innovators and independent artists that flourished through such a challenging period is a true honour. I’m so excited to be co-hosting alongside Jamz this time, and continuing to champion great music as we have both done on a weekly basis with our individual shows and channels.”

Continuing to celebrate the music community’s champions, AIM has also announced Paulette Long OBE as the first recipient of a brand new Diversity Champion award. A leading industry figure who has worked across music publishing, PR, artist management and marketing in a career spanning more than three decades, Long has remained tirelessly devoted to encouraging diversity and inclusion in all areas of the business. From creating the UK music industry’s first Diversity Charter and sitting as Deputy Chair of UK Music’s Diversity Taskforce, her impressive commitment to the music industry saw her receive an OBE for her lifelong work. A new AIM Awards trophy themed to honour the award will be revealed in the coming weeks.

For the first time ever, AIM are also announcing two separate winners of the Indie Champion award (in association with MCPS). Bandcamp will be honoured for their ‘Bandcamp Fridays’ initiative, which saw the company support artists financially throughout the pandemic by waiving their revenue share and raising over $40 million in 2020 alone. Meanwhile, Love Record Stores will also be awarded for their work supporting physical music and independent record shops, helping stores survive one of the most difficult years the community has faced. There are more nominees to be revealed, as the nominees for the Best Live [Streamed] Act and PPL Award for Most Played New Independent Artist will be announced next month.

Separately, public voting for Best Live [Streamed] Act (in association with ON AIR) has now opened, allowing fans to support their favourite acts who have kept the spirit of independence thriving, and entertained throughout the lockdowns. To cast your vote, head to the ON AIR website here: Voting closes at 2pm on 5th July 2021. 

This year’s ceremony will be a free public event. AIM have confirmed three broadcast partners, where music fans can tune in to watch the awards: ON AIR, YouTube and Facebook. 

ON AIR’s live streaming platform:

Subscribe to AIM’s YouTube channel:

AIM Awards’s Facebook Event:

This year will also see the return of the AIM Awards App allowing access to exclusive Awards content and offers. To download the app head to the app store and search: AIM – Official.

In the run-up to the awards, Jess Iszatt of BBC Music Introducing returns as this year’s Social Media Host with exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes content, which will be documented across the AIM socials. 

Said AIM CEO Paul Pacifico: “Every year I find myself saying how exciting and diverse the list of nominees is at the AIM Independent Music Awards, and 2021 is no exception. These awards genuinely represent the incredible array of talent and breadth of success in our community. 

“The artists and creative entrepreneurs we recognise are innovators at the cutting edge of culture. Building on our first ever virtual event last year, we’ve got some very special plans for the show in August and look forward to delivering a dynamic and spectacular interactive show.”

This year’s charity partners are Tomorrow’s Warriors, who continue to champion and mentor aspiring young artists, and the Refugee Council, who provide vital support for those in need.

Enver Solomon, CEO of the Refugee Council, added: “We’re absolutely delighted to have been chosen by AIM to be one of their charity partners for this year’s awards. Refugees and people seeking asylum face significant challenges and we are extremely grateful to AIM for supporting our work to help some of the most vulnerable people in our society have food on their tables, a safe place to sleep and support to begin rebuilding their lives.”

Gary Crosby OBE, Artistic Director and Co-founder & Janine Irons MBE, CEO and Co-founder of Tomorrow’s Warriors commented: “We are absolutely delighted that Tomorrow’s Warriors has been chosen as a charity partner for this year’s AIM Awards. AIM is doing important work for the independent music community, so we are excited and grateful to be part of such an inspiring global event at the AIM Awards and to collaborate as a charity partner.”

Aly Gillani, European Artist and Label Rep, Bandcamp, said: “First, congratulations to Love Record Stores who have also been named an Indie Champion. We salute all the work you’ve done to support independent record stores this past year. On behalf of everyone here at Bandcamp, thanks to AIM and its members for this award. We’ve always sought to put artists first and to treat music as art, and are humbled you’ve chosen to highlight our work this past year and look forward to continuing to do that for many years to come.”

Co-founder of the Love Record Stores campaign, Jason Rackham added: “The team behind the Love Record Stores campaign are thrilled to receive this award. In the depths of lockdown last year we were motivated to create a social media activation to help drive revenues into record stores whilst they were forced to shutter. The campaign grew into a movement driven by the independent community and the June and December LRS events helped drive over 1.5 pounds million worth of revenues into stores. The support and passion for record stores shown by artists, labels, distributors, and the broader independent community was quite something to behold. It illustrated what a powerful engine the sector is when it comes together to create a positive call to action, and the campaign was fully embraced by the stores themselves.”

Full List of Nominees

UK Independent Breakthrough in association with YouTube Music

Arlo Parks (Transgressive Records)

Conducta (Kiwi Rekords)

India Jordan (Ninja Tune)

Rina Sawayama (Dirty Hit)

Working Men’s Club  (Heavenly Recordings)

International Breakthrough in association with Deezer

Bicep (Ninja Tune)

Fontaines D.C. (Partisan Records)

Jayda G (Ninja Tune)

박혜진 Park Hye Jin (Ninja Tune)

Tkay Maidza (4AD)

Best Independent Track in association with Facebook

Arlo Parks – Hope (Transgressive Records)

Bonobo & Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs – Heartbreak (OUTLIER – Ninja Tune)

ENNY – Peng Black Girls ft. Amia Brave (FAMM)

Katy J Pearson – Take Back The Radio (Heavenly Recordings)

Lava La Rue – Magpie (Marathon Artists)

Mustafa – Air Forces (Young)

serpentwithfeet – Fellowship (Secretly Canadian)

Shygirl – TASTY (Because Music)

Squid – Narrator ft. Martha Skye Murphy (Warp Records)

Tkay Maidza – Shook (4AD)

Best Independent Album in association with Spotify

Arlo Parks – Collapsed in Sunbeams (Transgressive Records)

Che Lingo – The Worst Generation  (7Wallace Music)

Dry Cleaning – New Long Leg (4AD)

Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders & The London Symphony Orchestra – Promises (Luaka Bop)

Krust – The Edge of Everything (Crosstown Rebels)

Moses Sumney – græ (Jagjaguwar)

Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher (Dead Oceans)

Speaker Music – Black Nationalist Sonic Weaponry (Planet Mu)

Rian Treanor – File Under UK Metaplasm (Planet Mu)

Working Men’s Club – Working Men’s Club (Heavenly Recordings)

Best [Difficult] Second Album in association with BBC Radio 6 Music

AJ Tracey – Flu Game (Revenge Records)

Bicep – Isles (Ninja Tune)

Dream Wife – So When You Gonna… (Lucky Number)

Fontaines D.C. – A Hero’s Death (Partisan Records)

Leon Vynehall – Rare, Forever (Ninja Tune)

Best Independent Remix in association with SoundCloud

Bon Bon (Mike Lindsay Remix) – Songhoy Blues (Transgressive Records)

Fair Chance ft. Ty Dolla $ign & Lil B (Floating Points Remix) – Thundercat (Brainfeeder)

megapunk (Elkka Remix) – Ela Minus (Domino)

soulboy (IZCO Remix) – p-rallel, Greentea Peng (Different Recordings)

Sweat ft. LIZ (SOPHIE Remix) – Sonikku (Bella Union)

One To Watch in association with BBC Music Introducing

Che Lingo (7Wallace Music)


Lava La Rue (Marathon Artists)

Nova Twins (Nova Twins Ltd)

TSHA (Ninja Tune)

Best Creative Packaging

AJ Tracey – Flu Game (Special Edition) (Revenge Records)

Figaro de Montmartre – Emotion Soap (Figaro de Montmartre)

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Eco Wax Editions (Heavenly Recordings and Flightless Records)

Sleaford Mods – Spare Ribs (Rough Trade Records)

Working Men’s Club – Working Men’s Club (RAW Edition) (Heavenly Recordings)

Best Independent Video in association with Vevo

Arlo Parks – Hope (Transgressive Records)

Julien Baker – Hardline (Matador Records)

Kojaque – No Hands (Different Recordings)

Novo Amor – If We’re Being Honest (AllPoints)

Wesley Joseph – Thrilla (EEVILTWINN)

Best Independent Label in association with [Integral]


Dead Oceans

Forever Living Originals 

Partisan Records 

Transgressive Records

Best Small Label in association with Believe

Athens of the North

Finesse Foreva

Killing Moon

Sonic Cathedral

Strut Records

Indie Champion in association with MCPS


Love Record Stores

Diversity Champion

Paulette Long