The AIM Independent Music Awards have revealed its first set of 2023 nominees, celebrating the vibrant and innovative breadth of talent across the UK’s independent sector. As the tastemaker Awards show, highlighting the stars of the future often before any other ceremony, the 2023 edition boasts a hugely exciting array of nominees. R&B-led pop singer RAYE and experimental dance act Shygirl lead the pack with three nods each, while further multiple nominees also include British jazz quintet Ezra Collective, London-based Nigerian songwriter Obongjayar, futuristic genre-defier Kelela, and experimental newcomer Jessica Winter who each land two.
As the highly-coveted ‘Best Independent Album’ category makes its return, the eclectic nominees list includes 2020’s Pioneer Award winner Little Simz who first received an AIM Award accolade back in 2016. Subsequently winning a BRIT and the Mercury Music Prize in 2022, she’ll be hotly-tipped as her album ‘No Thank You’ joins previous AIM Awards winners Nova Twins and Rina Sawayama, with ‘Supernova’ and ‘Hold The Girl’ respectively. Topping off an incredible category shortlist, they’re joined by Kelela, Oliver Sim, Wu-Lu, Avelino, RAYE, and Shygirl. Soul-influencer rapper Obongjayar also earns a nomination for ‘Some Nights I Dream of Doors’, in addition to his nod for ‘Best Independent Video’ (in association with Vevo) alongside Ezra Collective, Kelela, RAYE and Wesley Joseph.
This year’s ‘One To Watch’ (in association with BBC Music Introducing) is brimming with rising talent, with nods going to Jessica Winter, Juice Menace, FLOWEROVLOVE, Laughta and Master Peace. Previous winners of this category include Arlo Parks, who has since scooped trophies at the BRITs and Mercurys, and Georgia, who subsequently received nominations from the Mercurys and NME Awards.
Continuing to move from strength to strength, 2021’s One To Watch winner ENNY will also make a return this year, with the South London rapper in the running for ‘Best Independent EP/Mixtape’ alongside Saint Joshua, yunè pinku, Bellah and Jessica Winter. 2023’s ‘UK Independent Breakthrough’ category showcases a star-studded list of contenders, including electronic powerhouse duo Overmono, exuberant rapper Shygirl, alt-pop act Suki Waterhouse, high-energy producer I.Jordan and London-based jazz quintet Ezra Collective. Shygirl, RAYE and Overmono also find themselves in the running for ‘Best Independent Track’ (in association with Meta), all in good company along with Sudan Archives’ vibrant ‘Selfish Soul’, Four Tet’s epic odyssey ‘Three Drums’ and Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Perfume Genius’ collaborative ballad ‘Spitting Off The Edge Of The World’. Rounding out an impressive list of tracks, the talents of Connie Constance, Yves Tumor and Makaya McCraven also receive well-earned nods.
Also returning is the trophy for ‘Best Independent Remix’, with nominees including Jamie XX’s remix of Oliver Sim’s ‘GMT’, Soulwax’s remix of Charlotte Adigéry & Bolis Pupul’s ‘Cliche’, the Sega Bodega remix of Björk – ‘Ovule (feat Shygirl), the Boys Noize remix of Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ ‘Wolf’, and the Nu:Tone Remix of GLXY (feat. Hugh Hardie & Visionobi)’s ‘Butterfly Effect’.
This year, the ‘Best Live Performer’ decision will once again be put in the hands of music fans across the world, who can cast their vote for their favourite act here:
Returning to the Roundhouse on 26 September as the most anticipated night in the independent music calendar, the AIM Independent Music Awards recognise the achievements of independent labels, artists and entrepreneurs that make up the UK’s diverse and thriving independent music sector. The 2023 Awards will focus on celebrating the independent music community, incorporating more exclusive and intimate live performances set to take place throughout the ceremony.
Silvia Montello, CEO at AIM, commented: “This years’ AIM Independent Music Award nominees represent our diverse, dynamic and inclusive community, truly showcasing the incredible range of talent across all genres of the UK music scene. As the indie sector continues to grow, we look forward to celebrating the dedication of labels, artists, and their teams on the 26 September.”
UK Independent Breakthrough
Best Independent Track in association with Meta
Best Independent EP/ Mixtape
Best Independent Album
Best Independent Remix
One To Watch in association with BBC Music Introducing
Best Independent Video in association with Vevo
AIM is the not-for-profit organisation representing and supporting the UK’s independent music community, which makes up over a quarter of the UK’s recorded music market. Now in its 24th year, AIM’s members range from the largest, most respected record labels and associated music businesses in the world to DIY or self-releasing artists and the next generation ofentrepreneurs in music. These include 4AD, Black Acre, Beggars Group, Blue Raincoat, CTRL Music, Dirty Hit, Domino Recording Co, FAMM, Finesse Foreva, Hospital Records, Ninja Tune, Numbers, Partisan, Transgressive, Secretly Canadian, Stones Throw, Supernature, Warp, and XL Recordings.
AIM exists to level the playing field for UK independent music businesses – the beating heart of music. No matter their genre, their background, how much money they have, how they identify or their age, AIM provides access to the knowledge and contacts creative entrepreneurs need to create, build and win. AIM supports its members, not only through the difficult times, but also on a day-to-day level with practical support that makes a real difference to their lives and work, helping them take their businesses to the next level.
Find out more here.