The AIM Independent Music Awards has today (July 28) revealed Little Simz and AJ Tracey as the winners of two of its most coveted awards.
The winner of this year’s Pioneer Award is Little Simz, who will become the youngest ever recipient of the honour. The star will also appear for a special performance on the night.
Simz stated: "Delighted to receive the Pioneer Award this year and excited to perform. Big thank you and love to AIM Awards!”
AJ Tracey has also been confirmed as the winner of the Innovator prize and will return to the AIM Awards stage for 2020, having previously made a surprise appearance in 2019.
Speaking about the award, AJ Tracey said: "Being an independent artist is incredibly important to me and winning this award is a huge honour. I’m a massive fan of those who have received this before me so it really means a lot.”
The ceremony will be available to live stream on August 12 at 7pm (BST). The live stream is being delivered in partnership with SBTV and with support from YouTube – Music Week is also onboard as the ceremony's trade media partner.
The event will also feature a very special live set in honour of Afrobeat pioneer Tony Allen, who will receive the Outstanding Contribution To Music Award posthumously. Curated by his friend and drumming student, Ezra Collective’s Femi Koleoso, the tribute will bring together a group of musicians performing a medley of the late virtuoso’s work.
Following over 19,000 public votes, AIM has also confirmed this year’s shortlist for the Best Live Act Award as consisting of Ayanna Witter-Johnson, The Darkness, Red Rum Club, The Reytons and Five Finger Death Punch.
The shortlist for the PPL Award for Most Played New Independent Artist has also been revealed, featuring Freya Ridings, NSG, Jade Bird, Fontaines DC and Jaykae.
The nominees for Best Independent Label in association with [PIAS] and Best Small Label will be exclusively revealed today by AIM Awards social media presenter BBC Introducing’s Jess Iszatt via the AIM Awards app.
This year’s Indie Champion Award in association with MCPS will go to IMPALA’s executive chair Helen Smith to acknowledge her work representing the rights of independent companies and their artists across Europe. Smith's endeavours have included Europe's first ever class action court case on a merger, the adoption of the new EU copyright directive, the divestment process with WMG and Merlin and most recently the IMPALA Covid-19 Task Force.
Speaking about the honour, Helen Smith said: “AIM is where I started out in the independent sector, so this is a very special award to me. I feel very privileged to work in such an inspiring community which is incredibly dynamic and fast moving. AIM is one of the key contributors to IMPALA’s energy and it’s an honour to receive this award.”
Paul Pacifico, CEO of AIM said: “AJ Tracey and Little Simz are two of the most ground-breaking and talented artists to have emerged in recent years from the UK’s unparalleled music scene. It seems fitting for a year in which the AIM Awards have pivoted to become virtual, that these two innovators are recognised for their achievements. We couldn’t be more excited to have them both performing, as well as an incredible ensemble of musicians directed by Femi Koleoso for what will undoubtedly be a moving tribute to the great Tony Allen.”
Pacifico continued: “On the industry side, Helen Smith has been a stalwart advocate for the independent sector throughout her career. In her leadership of Europe’s independents at IMPALA, Helen has led several crucial lobbying campaigns, including on the recent European Copyright Directive. Her unrelenting dedication has ensured that the voice of our community has been heard and considered, resulting in a better deal for independents across the continent and, in fact, a more constructive landscape for all stakeholders. The Indie Champion award is a fitting tribute.”
The AIM Awards will be the UK’s first large scale awards show to go digital. It will be hosted by BBC Radio 1/1Xtra’s Tiffany Calver.
Calver said: "AIM’s dedication to celebrating artists that are really thriving and the businesses that support them is something I’m incredibly passionate about and I’m truly honoured to be hosting this year's awards ceremony. There are so many exciting artists represented in the list of nominees and it’s such a pleasure to champion their achievements.”
Alongside the Tony Allen tribute and performances from AJ Tracey and Little Simz, the show will feature a live set from Arlo Parks.
Viewers can purchase an exclusive VIP Dinner-For-Two Hamper or AIM Awards Pub In A Box from partners Signature Brew for the ceremony. The limited run is available until August 5 on Signature Brew’s website.