C DUNCAN knows what it means to be nominated for a SAY award, because this year will be his third year to make the cut with third album, ‘Health’. 

“It’s very, very exciting to be a part of it all again,” Chris tells the Evening Times. 

“It’s just that it gives me confidence to continue doing what I’m doing, for one. The SAY Awards are to do with music rather than press surrounding the album, or who your friends are. 

“It’s very much about the music and being a part of that is just a nice feeling. It’s humbling as well. 

“The longlist is a staggering list with so many amazing albums on it. There’s so much varied stuff: folk music next to jazz next to pop. It’s how much awards should be and it’s great that the Scottish are spearheading that.”

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Born and raised in Glasgow, C Duncan (real name Christopher Duncan) started making music at a young age and attended the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland to study in composition.

Although starting out a self-confessed ‘bedroom musician’, every release from C Duncan has been critically acclaimed. 

His self-recorded debut ‘Architect’ was nominated for the Mercury Prize and SAY Award in 2015, and his sophomore album ‘The Midnight Sun’ was shortlisted for the SAY Award in 2016. 

“Being nominated for the debut was a really surreal experience, as I’d just started releasing music.

“Recording at home on a shoestring budget makes recording music seem achievable for anyone starting out. 

“I think it reflects how music is being made now. It’s a changed thing, and music is more accessible than ever.”

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This year, ‘Health’ is the third of C Duncan’s records to make the shortlist. Released in 2019, the record sees C Duncan ditch his bedroom studio setup to work with other producers, engineers and musicians including Elbow’s producer Craig Potter. 

“After doing two records from home I wanted to see what it would be like in a studio” explains Chris. “I thought it was time to try something new.”

Indeed, ‘Health’ is C Duncan’s biggest and most personal record to date, navigating themes of love, anxiety and sexuality complete with gender pronouns reflective of Chris’s own experience as a gay man. 

“I think it’s absolutely important to have an award like this in Scotland – it’s vital.”

"There are no Scottish nominees on the Mercury shortlist this year, and there is no reason why not. The quality of music in Scotland is so high. 

“I do think its really important that we have a voice to showcase the best music in the country. It’s a great thing to be celebrated.”