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Scotlands biggest music stars came together tonight to celebrate the countrys music scene, while raising vital funds for music therapy charity Nordoff Robbins. For the first time in 22 years, the Specsavers Scottish Music Awards went virtual, hosting performances and big wins from the likes of Lewis Capaldi, Biffy Clyro, Amy Macdonald, Dougie MacLean, Texas, Wet Wet Wet and many more.
Hosted live by Edith Bowman from Glasgows SWG3, the online broadcast saw a star-studded line-up join forces to raise funds for Nordoff Robbins, with exclusive footage from Biffy Clyro, a special at-home acoustic performance from Lewis Capaldi, plus new, socially distanced performances from Amy Macdonald, Texas, Wet Wet Wet, Dougie Maclean, Luke La Volpe, HYYTS and more.
Edith Bowman kicked the show off by saying, "Ive known of the incredible work Nordoff Robbins does for many years now and it is genuinely a privilege to be here supporting this incredible charity and event. One day soon well all be able to watch live music together – fingers crossed!"
Raising money for Nordoff Robbins music therapy, the event included some incredible silent auction items and prize draws including tickets for SSE Hydro shows like Simply Red and Gary Barlow plus exclusive artist competitions. Viewers had the chance to win VIP tickets to TRNSMT Festival to watch Amy Macdonalds Main Stage set from the side of stage plus a diamond necklace worth £1300 from ROX – Diamonds & Thrills, a VIP Biffy Clyro experience including meet and greet with the band plus the ultimate GBX Anthem house party with one lucky fan winning the chance to have George Bowie play his famous set in their own house.
The Specsavers Scottish Music Awards have been the main fundraising event for Nordoff Robbins in Scotland for the past 20 years, and with the charity expected to lose 50% of their income in 2020 due to COVID-19, tonights ceremony was more important than ever. The audience learned how vital Nordoff Robbins work is, seeing just how music therapy sessions can benefit children like Thomas in Scotland. Watch Thomas story here.
Viewers heard from Janet McLachlan, a Nordoff Robbins music therapist working with children supported by CHAS (Childrens Hospices Across Scotland) including Thomas, who is 7 years old and has a spinal cord injury which means he is paralysed from the neck down. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Thomas has been stuck in his hospital room with only his nurses and mum visiting, so Janets Zoom music therapy sessions have become incredibly important.
Janet said, "Through music therapy Im able to reach in and connect with Thomas, find the joy in his life and he can flourish. Even down the Zoom line, music has the power to reach a child who is so isolated and it can be the only thing that connects in their week and in their life."
Eilidh Grant, Activities Co-Ordinator at CHAS said, "When we started the Zoom sessions with Thomas, he would come on and wouldnt be in the mood for anybody and then as soon as the session started his face would just relax and he would really get involved, which was amazing. It becomes a real partnership between the music therapist and the child, and they build their sessions together. Its a huge experience for the children, theyre able to communicate in their own way and through the sessions, they start to become more confident. Im quite tough, I can hold it together but music therapy is just so powerful - I was just sitting there in tears! To be able to bring that voice out of a child who doesnt have a voice is just huge."
Donald C MacLeod MBE, Chairman of the NR Fundraising Committee Scotland said, "What an incredible night! We are delighted we were still able to host one of Nordoff Robbins most important fundraisers during this difficult time. Our annual night of music and cultural celebration brought people from all over the country together virtually, to celebrate some of Scotlands biggest and best stars whilst raising vital funds for our music therapy work at Nordoff Robbins. Like so many charities, Nordoff Robbins have been severely impacted by COVID-19 and we truly cant thank everybody who came together to make this event happen enough. From Scottish music legends like Dougie MacLean and Wet Wet Wet, superstars like Lewis Capaldi and Biffy Clyro, and not to mention rising stars like Stephanie Cheape and Luke La Volpe – music has been a lifeline for so many of us during these unprecedented times and their support is so appreciated. And to our audience who joined in from their own homes tonight and so generously donated to Nordoff Robbins – your ongoing support ensures we can provide music therapy to those who need it most, particularly in these trying times when more people than ever are facing social isolation. Congratulations to all our winners!"
Specsavers returned as headline sponsor for the second year in a row and Susanne Akil, Chair of Specsavers in Scotland, said: "Specsavers was delighted to be the headline sponsor of the Scottish Music Awards once again and present the award for Outstanding Contribution in Music to Wet Wet Wet.
"This year has been especially challenging for live events and we would like to commend the organisers for the fantastic work in creating a superb digital format, ensuring fundraising efforts for music therapy charity, Nordoff Robbins, could continue during the pandemic."
Opening the Specsavers Scottish Music Awards for 2020 was one of Scotlands most successful musical exports. Amy Macdonald lit up the screen as she performed The Hudson and Fire from her just-released album The Human Demands. She finished off with her huge hit This Is The Life before taking home the first award of the night, the Women in Music Award sponsored by ROX – Diamonds & Thrills.
A longtime supporter of Nordoff Robbins music therapy, Amy said, "Please give what you can to Nordoff Robbins, they do such incredible work and need your help now more than ever. Thank you so much to Rox for this award, and thanks again to Nordoff Robbins for letting me perform live for the first time in ages - its been awesome!"
The Specsavers Scottish Music Awards has a long history of supporting the countrys best breakthrough talent, with everyone from Lewis Capaldi, Tom Walker, Be Charlotte and Joesef collecting awards since 2017. 2020 was no different, with the incredible Luke La Volpe and kitti picking up the Best Breakthrough Awards (Male and Female) sponsored by Notion Magazine. One of the biggest rising stars in Scotland today, Luke La Volpe has a sold-out show at King Tuts to look forward to in 2021 as well as dates at TRNSMT Festival and Belladrum, while Glasgow singer kitti made the BBCs Hot List for 2020. Two true stars in the making, tonights Scottish Music Award win looks to be only the beginning for Luke La Volpe and kitti who treated viewers to two incredible performances.
Luke La Volpe said, "Winning this award means the world to me, Ive been slogging at this since I was 9 years old so its amazing to get a bit of recognition after all the hard work. I love supporting Nordoff Robbins because its an unbelievable cause for these young kids that are getting helped through music, its beautiful to see. Thanks to Notion Magazine and Nordoff Robbins, its been a hard year for all of us and this makes it all worth it."
kitti said, "I support Nordoff Robbins because music is the most powerful thing in the world - its got me through so many issues in terms of my mental health and I can imagine it would do the same for a lot of people. Thank you to Notion Magazine and Nordoff Robbins for my award, I am completely utterly delighted, totally shocked and overwhelmed. Thank you so much for your support and this feels like the beginning of something really special."
Next it was time for the Nordoff Robbins Legend Award sponsored by Coors Light, with GBX legend and one of the most loved DJs in Scotland - George Bowie.
George said, "Its great to be here at the Specsavers Scottish Music Awards! I want to say thanks very much to Coors for this Legend Award and a big shout out to Nordoff Robbins for all the amazing work you do. Myself and Sparkos have got big plans for doing some big shows for you guys.
I really want to dedicate this award to everybody that works behind the scenes in the club scene. If youre in PR, DJing, bar staff, door staff - keep the faith. Sooner rather than later well be back in the clubs and itll be bigger and better than ever and now well appreciate it even more because we know what its like to lose it. Thank you for this and see you all soon on the dance floor!"
George Bowie and partner Marc Anderson had a Number 2 hit in Scotland earlier this year with guest singer Stephanie Cheape joining them for a rendition of David Bowies Heroes, raising money for NHS staff and frontline workers. Ensuring the Specsavers Scottish Music Awards virtual ceremony ended with a bang, George Bowie returned for the ultimate Saturday night DJ set to close the show.
The musical icons just kept coming as Texas recorded an exclusive set for this years ceremony, with a mesmerising performance of the bands classic hits Thrill Has Gone and Inner Smile.
Texas picked up the prestigious Icon Award sponsored by Raymond Weil and Sharleen Spiteri sent a virtual message to the audience, saying, "Icon Award for Texas, thank you very, very much! I hope youre all well and looking after yourselves. This really is something very, very special, especially after the amount of years as a band that weve been together. To be given this and for everybody to think that we deserve it, it means a lot. To be relevant, still making records and be successful this far down the line, for over 30 years, we feel very very lucky. Stay safe and hopefully I will see you all very soon in real life, at a safe distance! Im going to keep this and say Im the iconic one!"
Alt-pop duo HYYTS brought their carefully crafted sound to an empty SWG3 before deservedly winning the Best Pop Award sponsored by Bose, paving the way for an exciting 2021 for the up and coming band. With Adam from HYYTS having worked as a music therapist when the band started, the Glasgow act feel a strong connection with Nordoff Robbins music therapy work, saying "Thank you so much to BOSE and Nordoff Robbins for our award, its amazing to receive an award especially in these times. Music is therapeutic because its the time you get to have a cry, have a sing, have a dance, feel emotions and get them out. Its a communication with someone else, and its the purest form of therapy in my opinion."
Ambassadors of Rock sponsored by Hard Rock Cafe Glasgow was taken home by Glasgow band Gun who performed fan-favourites Better Days and Word Up in SWG3.
Gun said, "Its a great honour and privilege for us to be here to collect this award, kindly sponsored by Hard Rock Cafe. We are huge supporters of Nordoff Robbins and all the valuable work they do for all the kids out there...its a wonderful charity and we are delighted to be associated with them. Special thanks to everybody in Nordoff Robbins who makes this all happen and a special thanks to our good friend Donald MacLeod who goes beyond the call of duty for the charity."
For one of the most special moments in the stream, airing just two days before St.Andrews Day, it was time for one of Scotlands biggest stars to join the virtual party as Dougie MacLean took to the stage. Having hosted his own livestream concerts for the past eight months from his old village school in Perthshire, Dougie is no stranger to the virtual stage and entertained the Specsavers Scottish Music Awards audience with a stunning rendition of the one and only Caledonia. The legendary singer also performed his beautiful song The Gift, written after he visited a Nordoff Robbins music therapy session at Rachel House childrens hospice in Kinross.
Dougie MacLean said, "Its a great pleasure to be part of the Specsavers Scottish Music Awards and to receive this Special Recognition Award sponsored by Sir Reo Stakis Foundation, who like myself, have been great champions of Nordoff Robbins. I was invited down to Rachel House outside Kinross which is a hospice for terminally ill kids and I was privileged to sit in on one of the Nordoff Robbins music therapy sessions. They brought a wee girl into the room and she was obviously very sick but when they started to play the piano and sing her name, all of a sudden her face lit up and she started reaching her arms out, like she wanted to catch the music. It was a fantastic moment and fantastic to see the magic that is music therapy. Ive always believed music is magic and that wee moment proved it. I hope youll all give as much as you possibly can to the wonderful Nordoff Robbins, you all stay safe and Ill see you further on."
The Innovation Award sponsored by SSE went to Graeme Parks Hacienda Classical Orchestra, who provided the perfect lockdown Saturday night entertainment. The groundbreaking Aberdonian DJ, donned in a kilt and self-isolating so playing remotely, and Hacienda Classical played their massive version of Youve Got the Love. Graeme Park said, "Its an absolute joy to be part of the Specsavers Scottish Music Awards and Im proud, honoured and excited to have won the Innovation Award supported by SSE. Of course, this award is for my involvement with the Hacienda Classical show which wouldnt be possible without the amazing Manchester Camerata Orchestra and the support of Peter Hook. A big shout to everyone in our show, the singers,the choirs and everybody behind the scene who makes it possible. Thank you very much and if you can, please donate something to the wonderful Nordoff Robbins."
A highlight of the night included a special video message from none other than rock superstars Biffy Clyro, as the audience were captivated by exclusive, unseen footage from their very special 2020 performance at Glasgows Barrowlands Ballroom including Weird Leisure and the beautiful Space. The trio won the Best Album Award sponsored by Guitar Guitar for their critically acclaimed latest record A Celebration of Endings.
Accepting their Scottish Music Award, Biffy Clyro said, "Hello everybody, we hope youre well! Thank you so much for the Scottish Music Award Album of the Year, it means a lot to us. When we started recording this record last year, I guess like everyone else, we had no idea what 2020 held in store, but you know what, the power of music and art feels more important than ever this year. Well all be back together soon I hope, we love you guys, we miss you guys. Stay safe, stay healthy, stay positive, and mon the ******* Biff!"
Mercury Prize and Scottish Album of the Year Award winners Young Fathers were up next, winning the coveted King Tuts Wah Wah Hut Songwriting Award.
Graham Hastings from the award-winning band said, "Big thank you to King Tuts and big thank you especially to Nordoff Robbins for providing such a vital service to people at times like these. I think its important that we remember to support these charities. Music therapy can really help people so if you can text to donate please do. Thank you from Young Fathers, good night!"
One of the most highly anticipated performances of the night came from the self-proclaimed Scottish Beyoncé himself as Lewis Capaldi delighted viewers of the Specsavers Scottish Music Awards with a special intimate performance from his own home. Playing an acoustic rendition of two of his biggest tracks Before You Go and Someone You Loved, the West Lothian superstar has a long history with the awards ceremony, having won the Best Breakthrough Artist Award back in 2017 and taking home the Songwriting Award at last years ceremony.
Continuing his winning streak, Lewis won 2020s Best UK Award sponsored by SSE.
In true Capaldi style, the singer-songwriter couldnt hold back on the jokes and said, "Hello everybody its Lewis Capaldi here! I just want to say a massive thank you to the Scottish Music Awards, for giving me the award for SSEs Best UK Artist this year. I know people havent been releasing music or anything this year, so thats kind of an award just for existing I guess but... Ill take it!"
When it came to the final performance of the night, it could only be one band. Wet Wet Wet have sold 15 million singles and albums to date, with their albums certified 20 x Platinum in the UK alone. The iconic Scottish band have a historic relationship with Nordoff Robbins, having received the New Music Award at the charitys Silver Clef Awards back in 1988. From donating proceeds of over £200,000 from a 1992 one off concert to Nordoff Robbins, to performing at the Scottish Music Awards over 13 years ago in 2007, Wet Wet Wet have supported the charitys music therapy work for over 30 years and it was only right that tonight, they collected the final award of the night - Outstanding Contribution Award sponsored by Specsavers.
The band, who were performing together for the first time since February, gave the audience a rousing performance of some of their biggest hits including Sweet Surrender, Goodnight Girl and of course Love Is All Around Me.
Wet Wet Wet said, "We go back a long way with Nordoff Robbins... back to 1988, which is more years than I care to remember! They use music as a means of communication and we can relate to that because thats the way we communicate. Music opens up doors, it brings people together and it breaks down that barrier. We will continue to support the charity and it only gets more important as time goes on. Thanks very much!"
Despite 2020s Specsavers Scottish Music Awards going virtual for the first time ever, the ceremony remained a night of celebration for the Scottish music scene while shining an important light on the incredible work undertaken by Nordoff Robbins. Honouring living legends as well as rising stars, the awards reminded an audience from around the world exactly why Scotlands music scene is so revered, producing some of the biggest acts in music right now.
For further information on Nordoff Robbins visit www.nordoff-robbins.org.uk.
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