Bridie Monds-Watson, aka SOAK, has won this year’s Northern Ireland Music Prize. Could her next award be the Mercury Music Prize?
The 19 year old’s debut album, ‘Before We Forgot How To Dream’ was selected as the best release by a selection of music industry and media figures from Northern Ireland. She was presented with the award by Stuart Bailie at a special event in the Mandela Hall.
2015 has been a magnificent year for SOAK. She was included in BBC’s ‘Sound Of’ list in January, indicating the best new prospects for the year. She has also been shortlisted for the prestigious Mercury Prize. The winner of this will be announced on November 20.
The Northern Ireland Music Prize is presented by the Oh Yeah Music Centre, Belfast’s dedicated music hub. It is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. The event is the culmination of a nine day celebration of gigs, workshops and community events called Sound of Belfast.
Stuart Bailie, CEO of Oh Yeah said: “There were many great records on the shortlist this year, but we’re delighted that SOAK was the winner. It’s a remarkable statement and a milestone for Northern Ireland music. The Sound of Belfast programme has once again shown so much amazing potential from our music makers and SOAK is one of the artists that will take us into the future.”
The Belfast event also saw the presentation of a special Oh Yeah Legend Award to The Divine Comedy, led by Neil Hannon. He played a one hour set of his greatest songs as the culmination of the awards night.
The Sound of Belfast programme featured 27 events in 9 days and involved 7 different locations. It attracted over 5,000 people to experience live music from Northern Ireland, introduced around 50 industry professionals and trade bodies and generated over £250,000 of income for Belfast.