THE ELEVENTH Scottish Alternative Music Awards (SAMA) ceremony was held – with the privations of the virus this year – online on Wednesday gone, November 18th.

This year’s virtual ceremony to recognise the best new Scottish music was streamed globally via Twitch, with viewers from across Europe, the USA and even Brazil.

Radio DJ and avid proponent of new Scottish music Jim Gellatly chaired proceedings in tandem with spoken word artist Leyla Josephine; while Glasgow goth-glammers quintet Walt Disco and 2020 Scottish Album of the Year Award winner, Edinburgh rapper Nova, performed at the event.

Following a three-day public ballot, receiving more than 10,000 votes, this year’s winners are:

Best Acoustic, sponsored by BTO BeCreative: Jenny Sturgeon
Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jenny Sturgeon is known for her stunning presentation of evocative folk music doused in rich imagery. Her most recent album, The Living Mountain, is inspired by Nan Shepherd’s classic book of the Cairngorms of the same name. In 2018 she was nominated as Composer Of The Year at the Scots Trad Music Awards.

Best Electronic, sponsored by citizenM hotels and Best Newcomer, sponsored by The Academy of Music & Sound: TAAHLIAH
The first black trans artist to be nominated, and also the first ever to be nominated – and win – in two categories in the same year, TAAHLIAH is a performer whose roots lie in the underground queer dance scene. She works within fluid and vivid electronic genres, creating art and music that is both captivating and politically charged.

Best Hip Hop, sponsored by Help Musicians Scotland: India Rose
A rising star of the Scottish hip hop scene, Dundee’s India Rose is only just getting started, having been recording and releasing for two years. She grew up on the road and is inspired by her upbringing, travelling around Europe with her parents before they settled in Scotland more than a decade ago. Her music is noted for its heady mix of emotive vocals, a passionate lyrical identity and an infectious flow.

Best Live Act, sponsored by the Musicians’ Union: Callum Easter
Edinburgh musician Callum Easter has built up a strong reputation as one of the most eclectic and original singer-songwriters working in Scotland. With his gripping voice and matching minimalist allure, he’s received plaudits from Marc Riley and Gideon Coe; his debut album for Lost Map, Here Or Nowhere, made the shortlist for the 2020 Scottish Album of the Year Award.

Best Metal, sponsored by Hard Rock Cafe Glasgow: Saor
Meaning ‘free’ in Gaelic, Saor create self-proclaimed Caledonian metal – an expressive blend of black metal, Celtic folk and traditional Scottish sounds. The band’s founder Andy Marshall is accompanied by an ensemble of talented musicians who all contribute to the intensity and power of the songs.

Best Rock/Alternative, sponsored by Rock Rose Gin: Fauves
Glasgow six-piece Fauves describe their sound as art funk, merging elements of indie, pop, R&B and electronica. They take their name and visual identity from the early 20th-century French art movement Fauvism, which is characterised by strong, vibrant colours and distinctive brushwork: their music has a similarly colourful, warm and inviting energy.

Making history with her double scoop, TAAHLIAH said: “I’m delighted to have won! Especially, winning twice. It is a real honour to be the first black trans artist to win, but I know and hope I will not be the last. It means a lot to be recognised so highly, so early on my career as an artist.”

If you’re interested in not just the winners but the nominated runners too, we’ve embedded the SAMA 2020 Spotify playlist for you below; you’ll also find a 45-minutes highlight video over at the SAMA homepage.