Kelly Lee Owens Welsh Music Prize

Kelly Lee Owens Wins Welsh Music Prize 2021

Kelly Lee Owens has won the eleventh annual Welsh Music Prize with her album Inner Song and receives the first ever prize fund of £10,000.

Electronic musician and producer Kelly Lee Owens has won £10,000 at this year’s Welsh Music Prize for her album Inner Song.

A panel of music industry experts selected the winner from a shortlist of twelve albums which showcased the range of creative talent in and around Wales. The finalists for the 2021 awards were Afro Cluster, The Anchoress, Carwyn Ellis & Rio 18, Datblygu, El Goodo, Gruff Rhys, Gwenifer Raymond, Kelly Lee Owens, Mace The Great, Novo Amor, Private World and Pys Melyn. 

The award — started by radio presenter Huw Stephens and music consultant John Rostron — was back in-person following last year’s digital presentation. The ceremony was held at The Gate in Cardiff and featured a performance by Juice Menace to a crowd of handpicked guests. Owens was unable to attend the event due to being on tour, so accepted the £10,000 prize from Stephens via Zoom.

‘It feels amazing,’ she said. ‘As a Welsh artist to be recognised by your country, ultimately for me, is the greatest honour. I’m so passionate about Wales and I want everyone to know where I’m from. I remember last time when I was nominated, my nana Jeanette came down and since then she has passed away and she’d be so thrilled, I’m sorry I’m emotional — but she’s on the album and she’d be so chuffed. Thank you so much’.

This is the first year the winner has been awarded a prize fund of £10,000, thanks to funding from the Welsh Government through Creative Wales. When asked what she would do with the prize money, Owens replied: ‘Wales has had a tough time, like everywhere with the coronavirus, so I’d love to give some of it to some charities based in Wales’.

Kelly Lee Owens Welsh Music Prize
Inner Song by Kelly Lee Owens

‘We are thrilled for Kelly Lee Owens,’ said Welsh Music Prize co-founder Huw Stephens. ‘The judges were all astounded by this album. Kelly Lee Owens has been so critically acclaimed for this record, and we are so happy that she is the 2021 Welsh Music Prize winner. We are also thrilled that Creative Wales are giving the £10,000 prize money – this is typical of the warm, supportive music scene in Wales’.

Kelly Lee Owens now joins a list of winners that includes Deyah (2020), Adwaith (2019), Boy Azooga (2018), The Gentle Good (2017), Meilyr Jones (2016), Gwenno (2015), Joanna Grusome (2014), Georgia Ruth (2013), Future of the Left (2012) and Gruff Rhys (2011). 

This year saw Datblygu take the Welsh Music Inspiration Award. The band — whose lead vocalist David R. Edwards died earlier this year — were awarded for their influence on Welsh-language music and the alternative music scene. The award was accepted by Pat Morgan, and the band follows Meic Stevens, Meredydd Evans and Phyllis Kinney in winning this award.

The Welsh Music Prize ceremony also revealed Alice Low, Juice Menace and Melin Melyn as this year’s winners of the Triskel Award. The Triskel Award was created by the Welsh Music Prize team in 2019 to celebrate and support three emerging artists that offer a bright future for music in Wales.  

With the support of Help Musicians, the artists each receive access to a range of the charity’s support, including a financial input of £500 towards their music, custom-made high quality hearing protection and two hours of business planning with a music industry expert.

For more information about the Welsh Music Prize visit the Welsh Music Prize website or follow @welshmusicprize #WMP2021 on social media.