The Sound of Young Scotland Award Opens Applications in Search for Best New Scottish Talent

Berta Kennedy

Berta Kennedy, 2022’s Sound of Young Scotland winner

  • Award support the creation of a debut album, with a prize fund worth over £10,000
  • Plus, the SAY Award receives record number of submissions and partners with young people’s mental health charity Tiny Changes
  • Apply now via

The Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award has opened applications for an award to support new Scottish talent; the Sound of Young Scotland Award. Emerging Scottish artists can now apply to win a funding package worth over £10,000 to support the creation of their debut album, with the award supported by Help Musicians, Youth Music and the Scottish Government’s Youth Music Initiative through Creative Scotland. Plus, The SAY Award reveal a record-breaking 430 eligible album submissions and announce that Tiny Changes – Scotland’s young people’s mental health charity – returns as Charity Partner for a second year.

Artists can apply for The Sound of Young Scotland Award for FREE via until midnight on Monday 14 August.

Introduced by The SAY Award in 2021 to mark 10 years of Scotland’s national music prize and stimulate the future of Scottish music, the Sound of Young Scotland Award provides a young and emerging artist with vital financial support to enable the creation of their debut album. To be eligible for the award, artists must be: 18 – 25, have never released an album and be a ‘Scottish’ artist (born in Scotland, 50% of band/group born in Scotland, or have made Scotland their creative base for the past two years). View full eligibility criteria and prize fund details at

The Sound of Young Scotland Award winner will be unveiled at the prestigious SAY Award Ceremony in Stirling’s Albert Halls on Thursday 26th October, alongside the winner of The Scottish Album of the Year Award and the Modern Scottish Classic Award. A limited number of early-bird tickets are on sale now via www.sayaward.comThe SAY Award also continues its commitment to the support of young people in Scotland by partnering with the country’s young people’s mental health charity, Tiny Changes. Set up in memory of artist and Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison, the organisation aims to help young minds feel better through a community of tiny change makers.

Berta Kennedy, 2022 winner of Sound of Young Scotland Award signed with record label Enough Records last year and is currently working on her debut album.

Berta said, “Winning The Sound of Young Scotland Award in 2023 was one of the most monumental moments in my career so far - it gave me a whole new platform to showcase my music and the whole experience was massively encouraging. It's so important for young musicians to feel embraced and supported by the Scottish music community and that's what this award can do for emerging artists. I definitely recommend getting involved.”

Helping to ensure the country’s music scene can evolve and flourish despite the significant challenges caused via the cost of living crisis, Scotland’s national music prize is furthering its commitment to young artists with an increased funding package for the Sound of Young Scotland Award winner2023’s prize fund includes:

  • Cash grants totaling £5,500 to go towards activities such as studio hire costs, session musician fees, equipment rentals and more.
  • In-kind use of The Tolbooth’s recording studio in Stirling – up to 6 days recording time and 3 days mixing/mastering, or use of venue space for filming and photo requirements
  • A performance slot at 2024’s SAY Award ceremony, one of the biggest nights in Scotland’s musical calendar, in front of industry professionals, journalists and music fans
  • A bespoke art prize from The SAY Award Design Commission
  • One-to-one tailored business advice sessions with industry experts, arranged via Help Musicians
  • A personal health check-in with the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM) covering physical and mental health, arranged via Help Musicians
  • A run of up to 500 vinyl pressings of the album created via the prize; provided in-kind by Seabass Vinyl, Scotland’s first vinyl pressing plant

The cash grants provided via the Sound of Young Scotland Award include support directly from Help Musicians’ Recording & Release fund; designed to support artists towards creating their next release and distributing their music. Previous Sound of Young Scotland Award winners include Berta Kennedy (2022) and LVRA (2021), with LVRA’s debut album now in the running for 2023’s SAY Award - testament to the importance of the Sound of Young Scotland’s support of new artists.

Creative Scotland’s Youth Music Initiative Manager, Morag Macdonald said: “Scotland’s youth music scene is brimming with talented young musicians who are continuing to push boundaries and genres, creating music that feels fresh and uniquely Scottish. With support from the Scottish Government the Youth Music Initiative is delighted to support this award that not only removes the financial barriers to making a debut album, but also provides access to industry professionals who can offer tailored guidance and support.”

Kara Brown, Tiny Changes said, “The team at Tiny Changes are thrilled to be back as The SAY Award's charity partner for 2023. At Tiny Changes, we're focused on helping young minds feel better and music plays such an important role in the lives of so many young people across the country. We're looking forward to celebrating some of Scotland's incredible musicians and hopefully inspiring the next generation of new artists in a country filled with outstanding talent."

A cross-genre judging panel of 11 previous SAY Award nominees will review eligible SYS submissions, whittling applicants down to five artists. The five Sound of Young Scotland finalists will be announced alongside The SAY Award Shortlist, before the judging panel reconvenes to choose the final winner; exclusively announced at The SAY Award Ceremony on Thursday 26 October at Stirling’s Albert Halls.

The SAY Award received a record breaking number of submissions for 2023, with 430 eligible albums now being considered for Scotland’s national music prize. Albums from some of the UK’s most successful artists were submitted, including records from Lewis Capaldi, Paolo Nutini, Bemz, Joesef and many more; all now in the running for the £20,000 prize and  coveted title of Scottish Album of the Year.

The Sound of Young Scotland Award is supported by Help Musicians, Youth Music and the Scottish Government’s Youth Music Initiative through Creative ScotlandHelp Musicians is a charity for professional musicians of all genres, giving them the support they need at all stages throughout their career, whilst Youth Music is the country’s leading young people’s music charity, believing that every young person should have the chance to make, learn and earn in music. The Scottish Government’s Youth Music Initiative is administered by Creative Scotland and aims to provide access to music-making opportunities for children and young people who may not normally have the chance to participate. Together, the three organisations will support the delivery of this year’s Sound of Young Scotland Award; paving the way for future generations of Scottish musicians to thrive and succeed.

Alongside The SAY Award winner, the Sound of Young Scotland Award winner will receive a bespoke prize designed and created by a Stirling-based artist through The SAY Award Design Commission. Expressions of interest to undertake the commission are now open, with artists and designers in the Stirling Council area able to register interest to create bespoke prizes for this year’s winners and nominees. Register your expression of interest by 4 August.

The SAY Award is a Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA) production and has distributed over £330,000 in prize money to Scottish artists since its inception in 2012.  The SAY Award 2023 is delivered in partnership with Creative Scotland, Stirling Council, Stirling Alive with Culture, YouTube Music, Seabass Vinyl, Ticketmaster, Help Musicians, HMV, FOPP, PPL, Spotify, Go Forth Stirling, Youth Music Initiative, Youth Music and Music Declares Emergency. The SAY Award’s Charity Partner for 2023 is Tiny Changes; Scotland’s very first national children and young people’s mental health charity funding projects and ideas that help young minds feel better.

Now in its twelfth year, previous winners of The SAY Award include; Fergus McCreadie ‘Forest Floor’ (2022), Mogwai ‘As The Love Continues' (2021), Nova ‘Re-Up’ (2020), Auntie Flo ‘Radio Highlife’ (2019), Young Fathers ‘Cocoa Sugar’ (2018), Sacred Paws ‘Strike A Match’ (2017), Anna Meredith ‘Varmints’ (2016), Kathryn Joseph ‘Bones You Have Thrown Me And Blood I’ve Spilled’ (2015), Young Fathers ‘Tape Two’ (2014), RM Hubbert ‘Thirteen Lost & Found’ (2013) and the inaugural winner Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat ‘Everything’s Getting Older’ (2012).

Early-bird tickets for 2023’s ceremony at the Albert Halls, Stirling are on sale now via with 2022’s winner Fergus McCreadie set to perform.

Don’t miss The SAY Award 2023 news - follow the award on social media across Twitter @SAYaward, Instagram @sayaward, Facebook @SAYaward and TikTok @thesayaward


The Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA) is a not-for-profit trade body and membership organisation which exists to strengthen, empower and unite Scotland’s music industry.

As a Creative Scotland Regularly Funded Organisation (RFO), we work to create and nurture an inclusive membership community which reflects the full spectrum of Scotland’s music industry. We give voice to our membership when speaking to Government, Parliament and development organisations, and we both produce and support projects and programmes that stimulate sustainability, domestic and international growth, development and innovation in Scotland’s music sector. Our services, projects and events are designed to strengthen and increase the value of Scotland’s music industry on the world stage: economically, socially and culturally.

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland distributing funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery. Further information at Follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. Learn more about the value of art and creativity in Scotland and join in at

Stirling Council serves more than 94,000 residents and a thriving business community in area that stretches from the scenic Campsie Fells to the vibrant city of Stirling and the outstanding natural landscape of the Trossachs. Stirling is steeped in history having first being declared a Royal Burgh in the 12th century. The nation’s most cherished landmarks are found here, including the National Wallace Monument and Stirling Castle, making Stirling alive with history and culture while a growing modern artistic scene nurtures new creative talent.

YouTube Music is a completely reimagined streaming music service with music videos, official albums, singles, remixes, live performances, covers and hard-to-find music you can only get on YouTube. It’s ALL here! YouTube Music serves music based on your tastes and what’s moving the community around you. Discover something new or keep up with what’s trending. Basic functions such as playing music and watching videos are totally free, and you can upgrade to YouTube Music Premium to explore the world of music ad-free, offline, and with the screen locked. YouTube Music is now available in over 90 countries and regions. For additional information, visit

Seabass Vinyl is Scotland’s first vinyl pressing plant. We are an independent, family-owned business, manufacturing records from our factory in East Lothian, with an emphasis on quality and sustainability. We offer fair prices, short production runs and optimised production lead times. Our ambition is to become a valuable partner to the Scottish music industry and our local community.

Ticketmaster is the world’s largest ticket marketplace and the global market leader in live event ticketing products and services. Through official partnerships with thousands of venues, artists, sports teams, festivals, performing arts centres and theatres, Ticketmaster processes 500 million tickets per year across 30+ different countries. Ticketmaster is a part of Live Nation Entertainment (NYSE: LYV).

Help Musicians is a charity that loves music and for over 100 years has been working hard to make a meaningful difference to the lives of musicians across the UK. It offers a broad range of help to support music creators in times of crisis and opportunity - ensuring musicians across the UK can achieve their creative potential and sustain a career in music.

HMV, for the fans since 1921. A leading specialist retailer of music, film, pop culture and technology products, with over 100 stores around the UK & Ireland offering a wide selection of new release and catalogue titles

Founded in 1934, PPL is the UK music industry’s collective management organisation (CMO) for performers and recording rightsholders. We license recorded music in the UK when it is played in public (shops, bars, nightclubs, offices etc.) or broadcast (BBC, commercial radio, commercial TV etc.) and ensure that revenue flows back to our members. These include both independent and major record companies, together with performers ranging from emerging grassroots artists through to established session musicians and globally renowned artists. PPL’s public performance licensing is carried out on PPL’s behalf by PPL PRS Ltd, the joint venture between PPL and PRS for Music.

Spotify transformed music listening forever when it launched in 2008. Discover, manage and share over 80 million tracks, including 4.7 million podcasts, for free, or upgrade to Spotify Premium to access exclusive features for music including improved sound quality and an on-demand, offline, and ad-free music listening experience. Today, Spotify is the world’s most popular audio streaming subscription service with 515m users, including 210m subscribers, in over 180 markets.

Go Forth Business Improvement District (BID) involves Stirling businesses working together and investing collectively in local improvements.

The Scottish Government’s Youth Music Initiative (YMI), administered by Creative Scotland, creates access to high quality music making opportunities, enables young people to achieve their potential in or through music and supports the development of the sector for the benefit of young people. In 2021/22, more than 362,483 children and young people from Scotland’s 32 local authority areas were given free access to music-making experiences. To find out more about the YMI programme please visit

Youth Music is the UK’s leading young people’s music charity. We believe that every young person should have the chance to make, learn and earn in music. Yet our research shows that many can’t because of who they are, where they’re from or what they’re going through. We leverage our insights, investment, and influence to build a national grassroots infrastructure that ensures the future of music is more inclusive, diverse, equitable and accessible. Youth Music is funded thanks to the National Lottery via Arts Council England, players of People's Postcode Lottery and support from partners, fundraisers and donors.

Formed by a group of UK based artists and music industry professionals in London in 2019, Music Declares Emergency has now expanded to four continents and works with over 6000 declarers from all sectors and areas of the global music industry, placing music at the heart of conversation and action in relation to the climate emergency.

Tiny Changes is Scotland’s first national young people’s mental health charity. We run projects with young leaders that help young minds feel better. The charity was set up in memory of artist and Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison. Through his music and art Scott made tiny changes that had a big impact on people from all walks of life.

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Colette Baptie | [email protected] | 07807 887 527