Sarathy Korwar, Flying Lotus and FKA twigs among 2020 AIM awards winners

Independent Music awards for artists outside major label system also honour Moses Boyd, Arlo Parks, Yaeji and AJ Tracey

Flying Lotus, FKA twigs and Sarathy Korwar are among the winners at this year’s Independent Music awards, an event recognising artists working outside the major label system and run by the UK-based Association of Independent Music (AIM).

British-Indian artist Korwar, whose music encompasses jazz, hip-hop and spoken word, won best independent album for More Arriving, beating better established artists including Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Laura Marling.

Korwar was born in the US and raised in India before moving to the UK. He recently criticised the Mercury prize, stating that he was not eligible due to his nationality despite long being based here. “[The AIM award] means a lot to me,” he said. “Being independent in today’s music industry means I get to tell my own stories without compromising on anything and I’m hugely grateful for that.”

Flying Lotus, AKA Los Angeles producer Steven Ellison, won best independent track for More, featuring Anderson .Paak. Ellison said: “It feels like a true blessing to be able to receive an award and to be acknowledged in these times, when they make us feel like our work isn’t essential.”

The award for independent breakthrough was won by jazz drummer Moses Boyd, who is nominated for the Mercury prize this year, while Korean-American dance producer Yaeji won international breakthrough following her acclaimed album What We Drew 우리가 그려왔던. Metal band Five Finger Death Punch won best live act, and London-raised singer Arlo Parks won the “one to watch” award, following her listing in the BBC’s influential Sound of 2020 poll.

The unusual award for best second album went to FKA twigs for Magdalene, who thanked her label Young Turks, saying: “Being an independent artist means every vision is my own.”

The awards ceremony was conducted virtually, with performances from Parks, AJ Tracey (winner of the innovator award), Little Simz (winner of the pioneer award), and Erasure, whose Vince Clark was given the special recognition award.

Tony Allen was posthumously awarded outstanding contribution to music, with the award received by his brother Ignatius. Blur frontman Damon Albarn performed a special tribute to Allen with former collaborators including drummer Femi Koleoso, who also led a jazz medley in tribute.

Tony Allen.
Tony Allen. Photograph: Ennio Leanza/EPA

Independent Music award winners 2020

UK independent breakthrough: Moses Boyd
Best creative packaging: Digga D – Double Tap Diaries
Special recognition award: Vince Clark
Indie champion: Helen Smith, Impala
Best small label: Speedy Wunderground
Best independent remix: Lafawndah – Tourist x Nídia rework
One to watch: Arlo Parks
Best independent video: The Howl & the Hum – The Only Boy Racer Left on the Island
Innovator award: AJ Tracey
Best (difficult) second abum: FKA twigs – Magdalene
International breakthrough: Yaeji
Pioneer award: Little Simz
Most played new independent artist: Freya Ridings
Best independent album:
Sarathy Korwar – More Arriving
Best live act:
Five Finger Death Punch
Best independent track
: Flying Lotus – More (feat Anderson .Paak)
Best independent label: Jazz re:freshed
Outstanding contribution to music: Tony Allen


Ben Beaumont-Thomas

The GuardianTramp

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