Inaugural Northern Music Awards honor stars at Manchester ceremony


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illustrate, Former One Direction star Louis Tomlinson named artist of the year

  • author, Ian Youngs
  • Role, Entertainment and Arts Reporter

Louis Tomlinson, The Courteeners and Aitch are among the winners of the inaugural Northern Music Awards, which organizers hope will become “Northern British”.

The event, which takes place in Manchester on Tuesday, celebrates talent from across the north of England.

Former One Direction star Tomlinson, from Doncaster, was named artist of the year, beating South Yorkshire singer Self Esteem and Newcastle’s Sam Fender.

The Courteeners’ 2008 debut album finally reached number one on the charts in 2023 after a re-release, winning Band of the Year.

Image Source, Getty Images

illustrate, K’s Named Breakthrough Artist of the Year

Courteeners frontman Liam Fray said it was “so exciting to be part of a very special night in the North”.

He said there was space for an awards show to support acts in places like Manchester. “We do feel we do things differently,” he told the BBC.

“I know it’s a bit of a cliché. I think everyone, no matter where you come from, feels a little bit ‘us and them.’

“It’s more of a celebration. I think the question on everyone’s mind is should you do it yourself? [awards]? But yeah, why not?

The event is organized by music therapy charity Nordoff and Robbins, which has organized the Silver Clef Awards in London since 1976.

illustrate, Last year, Aitch took to the Glastonbury Pyramid stage with 0161

Manchester rapper Aitch has won the Music Moment of the Year award for his performance at Glastonbury Festival 2023, with his manager Michael Adex at the age of just 27 He won the title of industry idol.

Experienced Manchester DJ Paulette was named DJ of the Year and is one of only two women to hold a monthly residency at Hacienda nightclub.

Melanie C, from near Liverpool, received a special recognition award just days after reuniting with the Spice Girls at Victoria Beckham’s 50th birthday party.

Rochdale’s Lisa Stansfield, best known for her 1980s and 1990s hits “All around the World” and “People Hold On”, won the Northern Icon Award.

illustrate, Lisa Stansfield performed several hits after lifting trophy

“It’s kind of scary,” she said of the honor. “When people give you a title, you think, do you have to live up to it? And you do.”

Starting with the Beatles, Northern musicians sometimes “completely dominated the world,” she said.

“You can’t suppress us and I think that’s why we should be recognized. We are recognized, but I think we should be recognized as northerners.”

She said that early in her career, when she went to London, she was often stereotyped because of her accent.

“A lot of times, if you open your mouth and sound like me, everyone thinks you’re just a little thick. No one thinks that anymore.”

illustrate, Leeds band English teacher wins Newcomer of the Year award

Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess, who also received an honorary mention, said events like the Northern Music Awards were “long awaited”.

Two newer indie bands are being rewarded for their recent success.

Leeds rising star The English Teacher has won New Artist of the Year in the week his critically acclaimed debut album entered the top ten.

The K’s, from Earlstown, Merseyside, whose debut record entered the top ten last week, were named breakthrough act of the year.

Meanwhile, The Reytons, who sell independently released albums at a pop-up shop in Sheffield’s Meadowhall shopping centre, won the Disruptor of the Year award.

It was a great night for artists from Yorkshire, Manchester and Merseyside, but not so much for the North East, where Fender and rock band The Pale White were the only acts nominated from the region.

Nordoff and Robbins director of interaction and communications Nadra Shah hope the Northern Music Awards will be held in a different city each year.

She said: “If I were really bold, I would say I wanted it to be like The British in the North – an established awards show that attracts the best talent, the biggest names and in doing so drives revenue for the organisation. Significant funding has been provided to enable us to continue to do what we do, which is provide music therapy to those who need it most.

The charity is currently raising funds to open a dedicated music therapy center in Salford.

  • Artist of the Year – Louis Tomlinson
  • Band of the Year – The Courteeners
  • DJ of the Year – DJ Paulette
  • Newcomer of the Year – English Teacher
  • Breakthrough Performance of the Year – The K’s
  • Musical Moment of the Year – Aitch at Glastonbury
  • Special Recognition Award – Melanie C
  • Northern Icon Award – Lisa Stansfield
  • Northern Music Awards 2024 – Tim Burgess
  • Disruptor Award – Reytons
  • Annual Festival – Beat-Herder, Lancashire
  • Inspirational Venue of the Year (under 500 people) – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
  • Inspirational Venue of the Year (under 2,000 people) – Band on the Wall, Manchester
  • Industry Icon – Michael Adex, NQ
  • Music and Culture for Health Award – DanceSyndrome, Everybody Dance, Lancashire



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