26 August 2021

What a night that was! Thanks so much to everyone who tuned in for a very special 11th edition of the AIM Independent Music Awards last night. We had an amazing time celebrating the hard-working independent community and the brilliant music it produces.

If you missed the show, or would just like to rewatch it, you’re in luck! You can rewatch the whole thing to your heart’s content for the next week until Wednesday 1 September on our YouTube channel here.


ENNY, winner of Best Independent Track in association with Facebook and One To Watch in association with BBC Introducing performing at the AIM awards 2021



We had some amazing augmented-reality performances from

Tricky (!K7 Music), Working Men’s Club (Heavenly Recordings)ENNY (FAMM) and  Lava La Rue (Marathon Artists) featuring some stunning music and visuals to match. You can now check each of these out individually on our YouTube too here!

Arlo Parks, winner of Best Independent Album in association with Spotify and UK Independent Breakthrough in association with YouTube Music


Adding two more wins to her AIM Awards tally after scooping the One To Watch in 2020, bona fide star Arlo Parks takes home coveted trophies for UK Independent Breakthrough in association with YouTube Musicand Best Independent Album in association with Spotify, the latter championing her phenomenal debut, Collapsed In Sunbeams. Another artist with two wins under their belt for 2021 is ENNY, who caps a sublime year by triumphing in the Best Independent Track category in association with Facebook for ‘Peng Black Girls ft. Amia Brave’ and One To Watch in association with BBC Music Introducing, which tips rising stars heading for greatness.

Well and truly overcoming the sophomore slump, A Hero’s Death by Fontaines D.C. has ridden a wave of critical acclaim since its release and reigned supreme in the Best [Difficult] Second Album category in association with BBC Radio 6 Music, with Wesley Joseph’s exquisite self-directed visuals for Thrillarecognised in Best Independent Video in association with VEVO.

The electronic music community is well represented too, as Jayda G scoops International Breakthrough in association with Deezer and Elkka’s vibrant twist on Ela Minus’ ‘megapunk’ lands Best Independent Remix in association with SoundCloud.

Working Men’s Club took the prize for Best Creative Packaging with the RAW Edition of their infectious self-titled debut, released by Heavenly Recordings. American singer songwriter Lauv notches his first AIM Awards win with the PPL Award For Most Played New Independent Artist, while the public voted in their droves to crown Ben Böhmer the winner of Best Live [Streamed] Act in association with On Air. The strength of independent labels are deservedly highlighted once again, as Forever Living Originals and Strut Records take home Best Independent Label in association with [Integral] and Best Small Label in association with Believe respectively for their essential records and work unearthing new sounds.

As well as highlighting fresh talent, the AIM Awards is also about honouring those who have paved the way. An uncompromising trailblazer, Joan Armatrading CBE scoops Outstanding Contribution To Music in association with Merlin after reinventing folk, pop, soul, blues and rock across an almost five decade career at the top. Two British trailblazers who continue to push the musical envelope, Tricky and Adrian Sherwood, win Pioneer in association with FUGA and Innovator in association with Amazon Music respectively.

Receiving both the Best Independent Album and UK Independent Breakthrough trophies, Arlo Parks said: “I want to say a big big thank you to my fans, to my team, I’m grateful to be growing every day as an independent artist and this period has been so difficult, so chaotic and so confusing, so to be able to bring people light in this time of need has been really special.”

Winning the Outstanding Contribution to Music award, Joan Armatrading said: “Well I’d just like to say thank you to AIM for thinking of me for this Lifetime Achievement award and yes I did take it, because it is an honour. Very often you hear people saying that they don’t like awards because awards are meaningless, but I think mostly, they’re the people who haven’t been given an award… and I think it’s a great honour, so thank you, thank you for thinking of me, thank you for staying with that thought and for actually inviting me to receive the award. Thank you.” 

On winning the International Breakthrough Award, Jayda G added: “Thank you everyone. This award is for all the female black music producers working in electronic music. There’s room for us!”

As ENNY took home both the One To Watch & Best Independent Track awards, she commented “Very very very unexpected, especially how early on everything has started happening, so I’m just really filled with a lot of gratitude.  Wanna big up my team and everyone that’s been a part of this journey so far. Thank you!”

On the AIM Awards 2021, AIM CEO Paul Pacifico said: “Having been through one of the toughest times in music history, this years’ Awards celebrate the humanity at the heart of the independent music community. The relationships between people, whether artists and their teams, independent distributors, and the platforms and independent record stores out there surviving and thriving in spite of challenges of the day. And of course, the fans, the people that make all of this possible. We’re a mutually reinforcing community that stands and succeeds together. Congratulations to all of our winners!”

For the first time ever, the winners of the Local Heroes Awards in association with BBC Music Introducing have been announced. Nominated by BBC Introducing presenters throughout the regional territories, the new category shines a light on individuals, artists or companies who have demonstrated unwavering support for their local community. These winners have brought people closer together at a time of isolation, using their voice(s) to make lasting change, provide support, expertise or funds. The full list of winners are listed below.


UK Independent Breakthrough in association with YouTube Music
Winner: 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)
Winner: 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)
Winner: 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
Winner: 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)
Winner: 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)
Winner: 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)
Winner: ENNY (FAMM)
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)
Winner: 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)
Winner: Wesley Joseph – Thrilla (EEVILTWINN)

Best Independent Label in association with [Integral]
Dead Oceans
Winner: Forever Living Originals 
Partisan Records
Transgressive Records

Best Small Label in association with Believe
Athens of the North
Finesse Foreva
Killing Moon
Sonic Cathedral
Winner: Strut Records

PPL Award For Most Played New Independent Artist
Arlo Parks
Central Cee
John Summit
KC Lights
Winner: Lauv

Best Live [Streamed] Act in association with On Air
Arlo Parks
Winner: Ben Böhmer
Kate Rusby
Lucy Spraggan

Pioneer Award in association FUGA

Winner: Tricky


Innovator Award in association with Amazon Music

Winner: Adrian Sherwood


Outstanding Contribution To Music in association with Merlin

Winner: Joan Armatrading CBE


Indie Champion in association with MCPS

Winner: Love Record Stores

Winner: Bandcamp 


Diversity Champion

Winner: Paulette Long OBE 


Full list of Local Heroes Awards winners in association with BBC Music Introducing:

Sammy Clarke (BBC Music Introducing in Kent)

Billy Lockett (BBC Music Introducing in Northampton)

David Plumtree & his Cafe Indie Team (BBC Music Introducing in Humberside)

Bryony Williams (BBC Music Introducing in the West Midlands)

Bridgitte Tetteh (BBC Music Introducing in Berkshire)

Chloe Mogg & Amy Crouch (7 Arts Still Exist) (BBC Music Introducing in Hereford & Worcester)

Georgie Keen (BBC Music Introducing in Suffolk)

Ladies of Rage, Cardiff (BBC Music Introducing in Wales)

Ace Ambrose (BBC Music Introducing in Coventry & Warwickshire)

Tramlines Festival (BBC Music Introducing in Sheffield)

Lavz (BBC Music Introducing in Beds, Herts and Bucks)

Zahra Tehrani (BBC Music Introducing in Oxford)

Jennifer John (BBC Music Introducing in Merseyside)

Yasin El Ashrafi (BBC Music Introducing in the East Midlands – Notts, Derbys, Leics, East Staffs, Rutland)

Xidus Pain (BBC Music Introducing in Cambridgeshire)

Come Play With Me (BBC Music Introducing in West Yorkshire)

Joe Townsley, Noise Academy (BBC Music Introducing in Lincolnshire)

Hot Box Live Events (BBC Music Introducing in Essex)

Guy Britton (BBC Music Introducing in the West)

Harkirit Boparai & Joe Coates (BBC Music Introducing in York)

Save Our Scene – George Fleming (BBC Music Introducing in London)

Wendy House (BBC Music Introducing in Norfolk)

Ensemble (BBC Music Introducing in Scotland)

Nelson Navarro (BBC Music Introducing The South)

Trademark Blud (BBC Music Introducing in Shropshire)

Young Musicians Project – Laura Brewis (BBC Music Introducing in the North East)

Sarah Wilson (BBC Music Introducing Tees)

Danni Brownsill (BBC Music Introducing in Stoke)

Nikki MacRae (BBC Music Introducing in Northern Ireland)

Emma Twamley (BBC Music Introducing in South West)

The Lottery Winners (BBC Music Introducing in Lancashire)

Rivca Burns (SFTOC, MIF Festival) (BBC Music Introducing in Manchester)

Tyrone Gordon (BBC Music Introducing Solent)

Kiya Ashton (BBC Music Introducing in the Channel Islands)

Josh Duncan (JD) & Josh Spedding (Swerve) (BBC Music Introducing in Cumbria)


We’d like to thank our Annual Platinum PartnersAmazon Music, Facebook, Merlin, PPL, Spotify and YouTube Music, whose support helps to make our annual programming possible. We’d also like to thank all of our category sponsors and charity partners this year, listed here.