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Youngest Scottish Album of the Year winner picks up prize while self-isolating

Nova, real name Shaheeda Sinckler, appeared by video link after winning for her debut album Re-Up – the first rap/grime album to claim the honour.

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Sof Staune, of VAJ Power, announces Nova’s win on stage while the artist was on a remote video link (Rory Barnes/PA)

Sof Staune, of VAJ Power, announces Nova’s win on stage while the artist was on a remote video link (Rory Barnes/PA)

Sof Staune, of VAJ Power, announces Nova’s win on stage while the artist was on a remote video link (Rory Barnes/PA)

The youngest winner of the Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award has picked up her prize in an online ceremony – while self-isolating after a positive coronavirus test.

Nova accepted the trophy and £20,000 prize for her debut album Re-Up – the first rap/grime album to win the award via remote video link.

The 24-year-old, real name Shaheeda Sinckler, was visibly shocked as news of the award win was revealed on stage by her manager Sof Staune, of VAJ Power.

Don’t call me lucky because I worked my butt off to move forward - and you can, tooNova

Nova said: “It is such an incredible feeling to have won the 2020 Scottish Album of the Year Award, just a couple of weeks shy of my 25th birthday.

“It is so affirming – any doubts that I might have had previously are now out of the window and I’m seriously so excited for the future.

“To think that my manager and I had no idea where we would end up when we started working together and now to have made it here is just fantastic.”

She added: “It hasn’t always been easy – there have been a lot of late nights, night buses and moments of uncertainty, to name a few challenges, but winning this award has solidified my belief that hard work and determination bring results.

“So don’t call me lucky because I worked my butt off to move forward – and you can too.

“There is so much possibility in the air and I feel so free, nurturing old bonds and making new ones is what I can see on the horizon.”

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Nova, real name Shaheeda Sinckler, self-isolating with the award (Material/PA)

Nova, real name Shaheeda Sinckler, self-isolating with the award (Material/PA)

Nova, real name Shaheeda Sinckler, self-isolating with the award (Material/PA)

The Edinburgh-based rapper, producer and DJ also revealed she has already started working on her next project.

Re-Up was one of eight debut records included in the 10-strong list for the 2020 prize, which was hosted online for the first time due to the ongoing pandemic.

It was also the shortest album on the list containing just six tracks with an 18-minute runtime.

Robert Kilpatrick, general manager of the Scottish Music Industry Association, said: “With many acts from across the hip-hop/rap/grime scene traditionally creating and releasing shorter form bodies of work … it’s encouraging to see an award like SAY be able to encapsulate and celebrate music of all kinds and genres from across Scotland, and reflect the changing ways in which music is recorded, released and ultimately consumed in 2020.

“Nova’s win challenges the idea of what an album actually is in 2020 as whilst Re-Up may be short in length, its impact and resonance as a body of work is nothing short of powerful.

“Re-Up is Nova’s debut body of work – poignant social commentary and unfiltered truth is set against the backdrop of bassy trap, lo-fi hip hop and heavy grime, resulting in a record which is well crafted, authentic and necessary.

“The fact it was delivered with the support of a range of local producers from across Scotland only goes to show the passion, strength and innovation of Scotland’s growing hip-hop/rap/grime scene, which I’m delighted that The SAY Award is shining a bright and well-deserved spotlight on through Nova’s win.”

The ceremony can be watched on SAY’s YouTube channel.

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