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Jazz musician Fergus McCreadie wins Scottish Album of the Year Award for 2022

Fergus McCreadie
Fergus McCreadie

Jazz musician Fergus McCreadie has been named winner of the 2022 Scottish Album of the Year (SAY)Award.

The pianist’s album Forest Floor, which was also shortlisted for this year’s Mercury Prize, scooped the accolade at a ceremony in Stirling on Thursday night.

Judges hailed the 25-year-old, whose sound is heavily influenced by Scottish folk music, as ‘one of Scotland’s most exciting talents’.

McCreadie, who plays in a trio alongside David Bowden and Stephen Henderson, said: “I’m absolutely honoured and thrilled that Forest Floor has been selected as this year’s Scottish Album of the Year. I’m really proud of how the trio comes across on the record and it’s such a privilege for us to have that recognised by the SAY award panel.

“I’m also so excited by what this can do for Scottish jazz – we’re the first jazz act to win the prize and I really hope we won’t be the last.

“Scottish jazz is full of incredible musicians and bands that I respect so much, and I really hope this will be only one step of an incredible journey for a scene which truly punches above its weight.”

As winner of the coveted SAY Award, McCreadie receives a unique trophy and a prize of £20,000.

Previous winners include Young Fathers, Kathryn Joseph, RM Hibbert and Auntie Flo.

Robert Kilpatrick, Creative Director of the Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA) / The SAY Award, said: “Fergus McCreadie is not only at the forefront of Scotland’s jazz scene, but he’s a shining example of someone who’s making some of the most exciting and innovative jazz music worldwide.

“With a Mercury Prize nomination and a SAY Award win now under his belt, 2022’s been a phenomenal year for one of Scotland’s most exciting talents, and firmly places ‘Forest Floor’ as one of the defining records of this year.”

The ceremony at Stirling’s Albert Halls featured performances from local group Constant Follower, Glasgow indie band The Just Joans, and Seonaid Aitken Ensemble who paid homage to the 2022 Modern Scottish Classic Award Winner – Cocteau Twins’ Heaven or Las Vegas – with a specially curated reimagined set.

Accepting the Modern Scottish Classic award remotely, Robin Guthrie, a founding member of Cocteau Twins, said: “Some 40 years ago, Cocteau Twins played our first ever show in what was then a nightclub called Le Clique, just 500m down the road [from Albert Halls].

“We were teenagers, we had six songs, we didn’t know much. There wasn’t the type of support the Scottish music industry now brings – but we stuck at it. Fast forward to 1989 and the stars aligned with a new studio, Elizabeth was a wee bit pregnant, and we were very slowly becoming adults.

“The soundtrack to this time we recorded as ‘Heaven or Las Vegas’. I’m really pleased to accept the Modern Scottish Classic Award on behalf of myself, Elizabeth and Simon. We’d like to thank the award’s Longlist who chose to recognise that this album should become a Scottish icon.”

Berta Kennedy

Also on the night, the Sound of Young Scotland Award saw five finalists – Berta Kennedy, Dead Pony, KLEO, Psweatpants and Uninvited – recognised with the overall winner chosen by a panel of former SAY Award nominees.

Ceremony hosts Nicola Meighan and Vic Galloway presented the award to this year’s winner, Berta Kennedy, who will receive a funding package worth up to £5,000 to facilitate the creation of her debut album, including recording time at Tolbooth Stirling.

Ahead of her surprise live performance, Kennedy said: “I’d like to thank my amazing band – I’m so honoured to share the stage with them, they’re so talented. And thank you to The SAY Award and SMIA for supporting and uplifting people like me.”

She also gave a shout out to her parents who yelled with excitement as Vic and Nicola announced their daughter’s win.