Chart-topping singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi was the big winner while Gerry Cinnamon was the big name loser as the organisers of the Scottish Album of the Year award revealed the 20 most outstanding LPs of 2020.

Scotland's national music prize which sets out to be the nation's answer to the Mercury prize, has completed the task of reducing a record-breaking 362 albums submitted for consideration to a longlist of 20, with the help of some 100 nominators.

The 20 includes previous SAY Award winners Anna Meredith and Sacred Paws as well as the likes of The Ninth Wave, Declan Welsh & the Decadent West, Karine Polwart, Honeyblood and Vistas.

It includes our pick for the album of the year, Blanck Mass's Animated Violence Mild.

READ MORE: Watch - And our votes for the 2020 Scottish Album Of The Year Award went to...

Lewis Capaldi's globally chart-topping debut album Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent was safely included amongst those vying for the £20,000 cash prize which was won last year by Auntie Flo's Radio Highlife.


Auntie Flo

Capaldi, who has celebrated chart-topping singles from the album including Somebody You Loved and Bruises typically quipped: “It's an absolute honour to be nominated for such an incredible award. It would be quite nice to win to not bring any further prolonged shame on my household after being named as the only ‘non essential’ worker in the house."

The biggest name to be omitted was Castlemilk-born singer-songwriter Gerry Cinnamon, best known for his hit Belter.

His second studio album The Bonny, released in April, was his first UK album chart number one.

It came after he became the first unsigned act to sell out Glasgow's Hampden Park - which was to be his biggest headline show to date.

The 35-year-old star was due to play the 50,000-capacity show at Scotland’s national football stadium on July 18 next year - but it had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The artists' gold-selling 2017 debut album Erratic Cinematic, released via his own Little Runaway label, peaked at number 17 in the UK album charts. Robert Kilpatrick, general manager of the Scottish Music Industry Association, which developed the awards, said: “2020 is the ninth year of The SAY Award, marking what is undoubtedly our most important campaign to date.

"As we all continue to navigate the personal and professional challenges we face, celebrating may feel unnatural for many of us. For our music community especially, which heavily relies on physical spaces and people coming together, 2020 has presented a vast array of challenges that last year were unimaginable.

"But as we celebrate our culture, we help further articulate its value, and we draw more eyes and ears to some of the best new music Scotland has to offer.

"This year’s Longlist showcases 20 outstanding albums, and it is arguably the most diverse range of albums of any SAY Award Longlist to date. Never have we been prouder to announce the Longlist, and never more than now has it felt truly special and important to do so.


A longlist show from Summerhall, Edinburgh was hosted by Vic Galloway and Nichola Meighan 

The longlist will be reduced to a shortlisted ten, with the final winning artist collecting one of the most lucrative prize funds in the UK; a £20,000 cash prize and nine runners up each awarded £1,000. The final award ceremony will take place on October 29.

Music fans will be given the chance to vote for the shortlist in a public vote from October 5 while a panel will then choose the SAY Award winner.

The favoured 20 was announced at the online Live at the Longlist on Thursday night been shot at both Edinburgh’s Summerhall and the city’s events space 54EP.

Alan Morrison, head of music at Creative Scotland added: “In this year like no other, music has given us the strength to get through whatever life has thrown at us.

"Scotland’s musicians have shown us, time and time again, that their creativity can thrive in the most difficult circumstances.

"These 20 albums were recorded when Covid-19 wasn’t even a blip on the horizon but there’s a glorious thread of that same creativity running through them all. This thread pulls together different genres, binds debut artists and seasoned stars, and makes The SAY Award such a wonderful expression of Scotland’s world-class musical talent.”

THE LONGLIST, as described by the organisers.

Anna Meredith - ‘FIBS’

FIBS is 45 minutes of technicolour maximalism, almost perpetual rhythmic reinvention, and boasts a visceral richness and unparalleled accessibility. It’s an overhauled and updated version of the composer’s soundworld, involving, in places, a literal retooling that has seen Meredith chuck out her old MIDI patches and combine her unique compositional voice with brand-new instruments, both acoustic and electronic, and a writing process that’s more intense than she’s ever known.

Blanck Mass - ‘Animated Violence Mild’

Animated Violence Mild was written throughout 2018/2019 at Blanck Mass’ studio outside of Edinburgh. These eight tracks are the diary of a year of work steeped in honing craft, self-discovery, and grief - the latter of which reared its head at the final hurdle of producing this record and created a whole separate narrative: grief, both for what I have lost personally, but also in a global sense, for what we as a species have lost and handed over to our blood-sucking counterpart, consumerism, only to be ravaged by it.

Bossy Love - ‘Me + U’

Glasgow-based, enigmatic, alt-pop duo Bossy Love - comprising Scottish producer, songwriter and drummer John Baillie Jnr (Dananananakroyd / BABE), and Indonesian/Australian vocalist and songwriter Amandah Wilkinson (Operator Please), released their highly-anticipated, debut, 12-track album, ME + U in November, amidst a storm of critical acclaim. Further developing their style for emotionally candid and confessional, yet anthemic, IDGAF lyrics, atop propulsive, rich, pop production, ME + U was selected by The Guardian in their list of Best Albums 2019, before highlighting Bossy Love a second time; in their list of Amazing Musicians To Watch Out For In 2020: “Me + U is the stuff fantasies are made of… best Scottish pop act since Chvrches.”

Callum Easter - ‘Here or Nowhere’

Callum Easter’s dark poetic vision find its most compelling form yet on Here Or Nowhere – a sparse, stark, deeply personal and by turns hopeful, menacing and despairing clutch of intuitively retro-futuristic songs united, as he explains, by “a feeling that the world is fucked up and a belief that people can fix it together.” It’s entirely written, performed, recorded and even mastered by the artist himself between his flat and his studio, save for backing vocals from Sisters Jacqui and Pauline Cuff (Soho/Leith Congregational Choir), as captured by Tim London.

Cloth - ‘Cloth’

Recorded at Scottish indie mainstay Chem 19 with engineer Derek O’Neill (King Creosote, The Phantom Band), Cloth is the self-titled debut album by the acclaimed Glasgow-based three-piece. At once hauntingly sparse and sonically grandiose, Cloth weaves a gentle spell over its 10 carefully crafted tracks. Minimal, chiming guitars, punctuated by deep electronic grooves, set a lush backdrop for Rachael Swinton’s soaring voice, as she recounts tales of lost friendships (‘Curiosity Door’) and melancholic reverie (‘Brooklyn’). The album artwork for Cloth was designed by Glasgow-based artist Jamie Johnson.

Comfort - ‘Not Passing’


All standards are falsehoods

I am no less a woman than a cis-gendered runway model

Prejudices are not opinions

There is no debate

Let them think i look like a man

Let them think I am mentally deluded

I am cultivating in the cracks of their disgust

I have nothing to live for but myself

My womanhood needs no permission

This record is for the people who don't make it

Who don't feel safe enough to live it

Who will be

Who are

We deserve our beauty

And the world will catch up to us

Declan Welsh & The Decadent West - ‘Cheaply Bought, Expensively Sold’

Recorded at 7west and produced by Glasgow staple Chris Marshall, the album affirms the message that politics are always personal. They’re tethered to our every day and whether it’s through music, social media or conversations with friends, this need for collective comfort and camaraderie is more important than ever. As opener and single ‘No Fun’ cheekily asks in a London accent, who even listens to guitar music anymore? For Welsh and The Decadent West, it’s a need to create messages of solidarity to those that feel lost and unheard, providing an insatiable, refreshing contrast to the squawking suppressors.

Elephant Sessions - ‘What Makes You’

‘What Makes You’ is the eagerly anticipated third album from award-winning Highland indie-folk quintet, Elephant Sessions. Their music draws upon influences from their highland traditional roots as well as electronic, rock and funk to create a sound that is truly unique. ‘What Makes You’ sees the front line of mandolin and fiddle pushing their limits further, matching the percussive rhythm of drums, bass and guitar, whilst fusing with electronic dance beats, synths and samples. This is traditional music turned on its head, a re-invention of expectation, a brand new sound.

Erland Cooper - ‘Sule Skerry’

‘Sule Skerry’ is the second album in a triptych by the contemporary composer and multi-instrumentalist Erland Cooper. Described by MOJO as “Sonic postcards from Cooper’s native Orkney”, the series examines the air, sea and land, as celebrated by Orcadian poet George Mackay Brown. Sule Skerry is bookmarked by Cooper’s solo debut, Solan Goose (an album of the year at 6Music, The Quietus, Music OMH and more) and by 2020’s Hether Blether. On Sule Skerry Erland Cooper takes inspiration from the sea, describing the album as “a nautical map, something to refer back to when you get lost at sea”.

Fat-Suit - ‘Waifs & Strays’ '

Waifs & Strays' is the band's 4th album and follow-up to 2017's Scottish Jazz Album of the Year 'Atlas'. Recorded and filmed live in Drygate Brewery in Glasgow over 4 days, the album features the huge ensemble's signature blend of modern jazz, folk, electronica, rock/pop and everything in between. The record is the band's most ambitious and expansive to date, as they invite a number of special guests to join the 20-something strong ensemble including Johnny Woodham (Tom Misch, Alfa Mist, Rex Orange County), Davie Dunsmuir (Billy Cobham) and Corrina Hewat (Karine Polwart, Lau).

Free Love - ‘Extreme Dance Anthems’

Free Love, the artists formerly known as Happy Meals return to Optimo Music with 'Extreme Dance Anthems' a phantasmic mini album from their hearts to yours. “We recorded EXTREME DANCE ANTHEMS in our studio, 'Full Ashram Celestial Garden' situated in a building that holds both a church below us and a sex club next door. The music is about celebrating the unquantifiable, unspeakable, indivisible EXPERIENCE as the throne from which all ideas are derived.”

Honeyblood - ‘In Plain Sight’

In Plain Sight’ sees Honeyblood’s Stina Tweeddale finally step forward and claim the mantle of her project as her sole vision. Three albums in, the project she birthed seven years ago finds its most steely-focus and ambitious form yet. Stina takes the solo reigns in collaboration with super-producer John Congleton (Angel Olsen, St Vincent) for her most definitive Honeyblood LP to date.

Karine Polwart - ‘Karine Polwart's Scottish Songbook’

In her first UK Top 40 album, Karine Polwart reimagines a clutch of beloved songs that cut across fifty years of Scottish pop. Eighties classics from Deacon Blue, The Waterboys and Big Country sit alongside the stadium balladry of Biffy Clyro, while maverick legend Ivor Cutler rubs shoulders with the electro pop of Chvrches and the immaculate song craft of John Martyn. “To me, these are songs of resilience and resistance, cries of despair, and dreams of something better," says Karine, "They’re pop songs, but also love songs to people and places we all recognise. They totally fill my heart.”

Lewis Capaldi - ‘Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent’

The debut album by Blackburn’s Lewis Capaldi went straight in at Number One in the UK Official Charts, spent another 9 weeks in the top spot and became the biggest selling album of 2019, recently passing an incredible 1 million UK sales. Someone You Loved hit Number 1 here and in the US - the first time a Scottish artist’s done that in almost 40 years - and Before You Go became his second Number 1 single ahead of two sold-out Hydro gigs, two BRIT awards and a Grammy nomination.

Mezcla - ‘Shoot The Moon’

‘Shoot the Moon’ is the debut album from Glasgow-based jazz-fusion ensemble Mezcla and represents the culmination of almost three years of gigging and growth as a band. Mezcla (the name means 'mixture') was started by bass player David Bowden as a way to combine all his musical influences into one voice. Across the album’s nine tracks there are elements of jazz, funk, folk and world music all combined with energetic grooves and electrifying improvisation.


«Re-Up» exists to replenish the underground and remind them what Nova is really about. DIY written all over the album’s DNA, Nova offers her unfiltered truth on crime, clubs, afters and getting money and self-growth. Bassy trap sits side by side with lo-fi hip hop and heavy grime features beats by $1000 Wallet, Inkke and Kami-O, AJM, T.Morgan & Evil M, all local producers based in Scotland, complemented with imagery of drunken street fights, a twisted game of Monopoly and sniper staring down the viewfinder.

Sacred Paws - ‘Run Around The Sun’

Run Around The Sun’ released in early summer 2019 brims with upbeat reflections on growing up and looking back. Shimmering guitar riffs dance between snappy beats and swooning melodies that will have crowds committing to far more than a simple head-bob.


SHHE’s self-titled debut album is a sparse, evocative and atmospheric journey of introspection and exploration of identity that demonstrates her ability to capture movement, change and the light and darkness that haunt the human condition. It was impacted by her time in Iceland, where she began work on a project that explores the connection between sound, landscape and sleep. The album is an encapsulation of Shaw’s breath-taking gift for wrapping carefully constructed electronic soundscapes around delicate yet self-assured vocals and lilting melodies. SHHE has found herself on the precipice of unlimited creativity and she’s ready to dive in head first.

The Ninth Wave - ‘Infancy’

From explorations of self-torment and paranoia (“This Broken Design”) to not being accepted by society (“Flower Into Wounds”) and the overwhelming fatigue of living in a superficial culture(“Half Pure”), “Infancy” is, at its core, a mirror of the darkest facets of living in modern society. The Ninth Wave’s uncompromising message is delivered in a gargantuan, electrifying sonic style that can’t fully be likened to anyone who’s come before them.

Vistas - ‘Everything Changes In The End’

Vistas debut album 'Everything Changes In The End' was written by lead singer Prentice Robertson from 2017-2019. Produced by Rich Turvey (Blossoms, The Coral, Cabbage, The Courteeners) in Liverpool's iconic Parr St. Studios / Ramsgate's Big Jelly Studios in the summer of 2019.  The album is self released but funded but by a Believemusic distribution charted at number 21 in the official album charts, number 1 in the official independent charts and number 1 in the vinyl charts in June 2020 and has sold over 5000 copies to date along with over 15 millions plays on DSP's.