Last night, as a who's who of the Austrian music community gathered in Volkstheater to collectively celebrate the achievements of this years Austrian Singer Songwriters Bands and Underground Musicians (ASSBUMs), I decided to put together a list of my own. I wanted to see what an award ceremony would look like if it included some of the most well known names from one of Austria's most invisible (but highly active) music scenes. These artists are all in some way connected to a group I would loosely describe as 'Expat Pop'. Each one of these performers took a chance to up-sticks and try their luck in a totally new land, with a new language and no contacts. That shit is worth an award in itself. Just as a side note this list is not meant to counter-point The AA Music Awards ceremony, it's winners or nominees in any way. I would only like to put forward the names I feel in my opinion would be worthy of miniature statue based recognition should anything like that be set up.
Best Male Solo Artist - James Cottriall (UK)
If we're talking about travelers from other lands having an impact in Austria, James Cottriall is way out in front. His first single 'Unbreakable' spent 20 weeks in the Austrian Top 40. Now spending time between LA and Austria, still finds time to gig regularly in Vienna.
WATCH: Unbreakable Music Video
Best Female Solo Artist – Lucila Amado (Guatamala)
From working as a jazz/blues solo singer, to her songwriting collaborations and work with expat group Mango Street Lucila Amado (originally from Guatamala) get's our very first 'Best Female Solo Artist'.
FACEBOOK: Mango Street
Album Of The Year - Louis Romegoux (UK/France) “Solo”
Now a native of Styria, this Sheffield born half English half French chanteur troubadour released his third recorded work at the turn of this year. The stripped back collection of originals and traditional folk classics is a tonal and vocal masterclass. With the striking ballad 'The Refugee' Louis nails the fear and uncertainty of those who have had no choice but to flee their homes.
BUY: Solo (Full Album)
Song Of The Year - Teddy Bear Cove (US/DE/CZ) “Golden”
The three piece from Washington State, Czech Republic and Germany piece together a big hook, powerful vocal delivery, spot on lyrical content and a cello solo for this irresistible track.
Best Live Band - Tall William (UK)
I don't even think it's biased to give my own group the award here. As opposed to other expat bands in Austria (and even a lot of native outfits) Tall William has a live show that comes out swinging, gives a range of tone and songwriting, great band chemistry and audience involvement from beginning to end.
READ: A review of a concert
Songwriter Of The Year - Mark Peters (UK)
When he first moved to the Austrian capital a few years ago he was good. Now, he's without question to my mind one of the best foreign songwriters in the country. Currently working on a debut EP 'Spirits' Mark Peters is an import to be reckoned with.
FACEBOOK: Mark Peters
Best Sound - Shane O’Fearghail (Republic of Ireland) - They Might See Dolphins
Using a mixture of traditional Irish and popular instruments Shane bridges the gap between his Irish roots and clear Indie/Folk sensibilities. Dan Fisher of Audio Heart Studio Vienna mentions "the mix is very well balanced and captures the energy of the songs very well. There's almost a punk rock energy too it, which I like a lot."
BUY: They Might See Dolphins
I hope you enjoyed the list, well done for reading this far down. As a reward, let me know if I missed anyone out! Who would be your awards nominees? One day we will do these awards for real!