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Jorja Smith, SOPHIE, Idles and more crowned winners at AIM Independent Music Awards 2018


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On Tuesday night, Britain’s independent music community came together to celebrate the best acts of the year at the 8th annual AIM awards.

Jorja Smith - winner of UK Breakthrough of the Year

Image credit: Callum Baker

The awards, hosted by BBC Radio 1’s Mistajam and HQ Trivia’s Sharon Carpenter, aim to showcase the best of the UK’s independent musical talent, with the likes of SOPHIE, Jorja Smith and IDLES amongst this year's winners.

Jorja Smith scooped the UK Breakthrough of the Year Award for her debut album Lost & Found, which has received countless praise since its release in June. Meanwhile, up-and-coming punk rock band, IDLES, bagged the Hardest Working Group Or Artist Award for their acclaimed album, Joy As An Act of Resistance.

Tracey Thorn - winner of Outstanding Contribution to Music with guest presenter John Grant

Image credit: Callum Baker

The prestigious Outstanding Contribution to Music prize was this year awarded to Tracey Thorn to honour and celebrate her musical career as an independent icon. While on stage to accept her award, Thorn remarked that it “couldn’t get more independent” than her, where she then went on to thank the AIM awards.

Nadine Shah lit up the stage with a live performance on the night as well as claiming the award for Best Album for Holiday Destination - her third studio album. In her acceptance speech, she stayed true to the political themes in her album by condemning the rise of nationalism in the last few years, thanking her label who encouraged her to “be louder, to say more”.

SOPHIE - winner of the Innovator Award

Image credit: Callum Baker

SOPHIE, the cutting-edge figure of electronic music, was awarded The Innovator Award. She released her full-length debut album OIL OF EVERY PEARL'S UN-INSIDES earlier this year, and collected her award onstage by saying that "independent artists and thinkers are innovators in themselves".

The artists are voted for by a panel of 25 figures from music journalism and radio, including Steve Lamacq, DJ Target, and the Guardian’s deputy music editor, Laura Snapes.

Donations were collected throughout the evening for the Young Urban Arts Foundation, the charity sponsor for this year's awards. YUAF is a grassroots charity providing support for young adults and children who are from deprived, underprivileged backgrounds.

See the full list of winners from the AIM Independent Music Awards 2018 below:

Independent Album of the Year - in association with Ingrooves

Nadine Shah - Holiday Destination (1965 Records/[PIAS])

Independent Track of the Year - in association with Spotify

Peggy Gou - It Makes You Forget (Itgehane) (Ninja Tune)

Best Sophomore Release - in association with Radio X

Let's Eat Grandma - I'm All Ears (Transgressive)

UK Breakthrough of the Year - in association with YouTube

Jorja Smith (FAMM)

International Breakthrough of the Year - in association with Deezer

Phoebe Bridgers (Dead Oceans)

Best Live Act - in association with Songkick

Erasure (Mute Records)

Hardest Working Group or Artist

IDLES (Partisan Records)

Outstanding Contribution to Music (in association with Merlin)

Tracey Thorn

Pioneer Award


Innovator Award (in association with Fuga)


Best Creative Packaging - in association with MCPS

Black Sabbath - The Ten Year War (BMG)

Independent Label of the Year - in association with Believe

Ninja Tune

Best Small Label - in association with Awesome Merchandise

Black Acre Records

Indie Champion Award - in association with [PIAS]

Femi Adeyemi - Founder of NTS Radio

PPL Award For Most Played New Independent Act

Dave (Dave)

Independent Video of the Year - in association with Vevo

Novo Amor - Birthplace (AllPoints) / Directed by Sil van der Woerd & Jorik Dozy

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