PRODUCER and DJ Auntie Flo has told of his "huge surprise" after landing the Scottish Album of the Year award with competition from the likes of Chvrches and Mogwai.

His Radio Highlife album was crowned this year’s SAY winner as he played a live set at Skye Live Festival and dished champagne out to the crowd.

Brian d’Souza, aka Auntie Flo said: “It feels absolutely incredible to win The Scottish Album of the Year. It might be a cliché, but I literally did not expect to win so it came as a huge surprise and is still sinking in.

“If Radio Highlife does stand for diversity, connectivity and inclusivity, then receiving an accolade such as this means everything. It’s where the music can become more important and transcend the cultural niches it often rests in.”

He wins a £20,000 prize after competing against 293 eligible albums - the highest number of any SAY Award campaign to date.

The winner was announced at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh for the very first time.

“On purely musical grounds, it means a lot - I’ve always tried to do something different, say something unique and sound true to myself with my productions, so it’s hugely satisfying that this approach has lead to recognition in this way," he said.

“The songs and sounds that make up Radio Highlife have been the literal soundtrack to my life as a DJ over the past seven years - every tune loaded with layers of personal memories that make it an extra special album for me.

“At the same time, I really don’t feel the record is about me alone, if anything, it’s proof that if you approach everything you do with an open mind and open spirit, doors open and beautiful serendipities happen - anywhere in the world - as proved through the collaborations that went into this record.

“I hope it proves an inspiration to others, where cultural, languages and racial barriers can be broken down through the universal language of music. I also hope ‘Radio Highlife’ continues to earmark Scotland as a place of openness, diversity and compassion in a time when all the above seem to be getting questioned.”

Speaking about the moment Auntie Flo found out about the win he said: “Unfortunately, I couldn’t make the ceremony as I was DJing at Skye Live Festival. The announcement actually happened towards the end of my set.

"I noticed my phone going a little crazy and then when the organisers showed up with a bottle of champagne, I knew I must have won! I celebrated by playing one of my all-time favourite tunes (Laurent Garnier - Man With The Red Face) and serving champagne to the crowd who were none the wiser, they probably thought I do that every set! It was almost poetic to be in one of the most beautiful places in Scotland and doing what I love doing the most when I found out the news.”


Addressing the other shortlisted albums, he added: “My personal favourite was Andrew Wasylyk’s album. I bought it after being recommended it by Mari from Worldwide FM where I do my radio show.

"It is absolutely beautiful. I also loved the Free Love album and after seeing them in their element at Skye Live have a lot of respect for Niteworks. Big congratulations to all the nominees though, Scotland has a brilliant musical output that continue to punch above its size.”

Robert Kilpatrick, general manager of the Scottish Music Industry Association said: “A huge congratulations to Auntie Flo for winning 2019’s Scottish Album of the Year Award. ‘Radio Highlife’ is a truly uplifting record, and one which transcends borders. Featuring a wide range of field recordings and sounds from years of traveling the globe, ‘Radio Highlife’ combines house, electronica and world influences to create a unique blend of groovy hypnotic funk. It’s a record that makes you want to dance, no matter who or where you are. It’s visceral.

“At a politically turbulent time for Scotland, it feels apt for such an outwardly looking record to take the coveted title of Scottish Album of the Year. With valued influences from across the world blended together in this LP, the result is something unique, inspiring and unifying. This is a record which brings sounds, people and cultures together, and that’s definitely something to be celebrated.

While Auntie Flo claimed the coveted prize, the remaining nine shortlisted albums each won £1,000.

This year’s shortlist was comprised of ten albums, with nine chosen by the SAY Award Judging Panel, while Mastersystem’s Dance Music was chosen by music fans via an online public vote.

The SAY Award Shortlist for 2019, in alphabetical order:

Aidan Moffat and RM Hubbert – Here Lies The Body

Andrew Wasylyk – The Paralian

Auntie Flo - Radio Highlife

C Duncan – Health

Carla J. Easton – Impossible Stuff

Fergus McCreadie Trio – Turas

Free Love – Luxury Hits

Karine Polwart with Steven Polwart & Inge Thomson – Laws of Motion

Kathryn Joseph – From When I Wake The Want Is

Mastersystem – Dance Music