Bill Ryder-Jones wins prestigious GIT Award for 2016

Bill Ryder-Jones is the winner of Merseyside music prize The GIT Award.

The Wirral songwriter won the fifth edition of the prize following an outstanding year which saw his third record West Kirby County Primary finish among many top five album of the year polls.

The former member of The Coral enjoyed wide-spread acclaim for his production credits and a range of special shows including commissioning pieces for Light Night, Manchester Cathedral and a sell-out headline UK tour.

Ryder-Jones, who is currently on a European tour with Mumford & Sons, sent a message from Germany while family friend Steve Power received the Award from Bella Union boss Simon Raymonde and Heavenly Recordings‘ founder Jeff Barrett – both of whom were GIT Award judges.

Ryder-Jones also picks up £1000 cash prize and revealed what he was to spend the cash on to the Liverpool Echo.

Speaking after the Award, Ryder-Jones said: “I didn’t think I’d win at all! Of course it’s wonderful to be given the Award especially as the shortlist this year was really, really strong. Just gutted I wasn’t there to thank everyone in person.

The tour’s been pretty brilliant. The Mumford boys and their team are all really sweet and the responses to my songs have amazed me. I’m going to put the cash towards a studio I’m setting up with Joe (keys) and Danny (sound guy/tour manager). They run War Room Records who have MiNNETONKA, By The Sea, Rongo Rongo and AGP. We’re going to set up in Birkenhead so there’s a decent place our side to work, so yeah it’ll go on equipment I think. Thanks so much again.

Earlier in the evening hundreds of music fans and industry professionals gathered at Baltic Triangle venue Constellations which hosted nine live performances from the nominees plus an in-house live jam band, various DJs and a special Prince tribute.

Following on from past winners including The Hillsborough Justice collective, Alan Wills and Africa Oye, Kevin McManus was the 2016 recipient of The Inspiration Award.

The honour recognises those behind the scenes within Liverpool music, and it was McManus’ work in ensuring the likes of Liverpool Music WeekLiverpool Sound CityLiverpool International Festival of Psychedelia and UNESCO which saw him take home the Inspiration Award.

Liverpool Music Week’s Mike Deane presented the prize saying it was “Kevin’s passion and dedication to creative endeavours” which made him such a “popular yet unsung hero” within Merseyside music.

Earlier in the evening, rising Atlantic Records’ signing Tayá was crowned this year’s One To Watch winner.

The Toxteth teenager has been working with Beyonce’s producer and is set to follow in the footsteps of previous GIT Award One’s To Watch winners Louis Berry and Låpsley.

Throughout the night BBC Merseyside presenter Roger Hill introduced all 12 of the nominees performances with trio Trudy opening the evening with a uproarious version of The Beatles’ Don’t Let Me Down alongside Pink Kink.

Clean Cut Kid‘s choppy rock & roll brought the excitement to fever pitch before RongoRongoL U M E N and vocal harmony group MiC LOWRY added to the superlative live performances.

Ramping up the fun Stealing Sheep donned pink biker jackets and pink curtain-like beards while showcasing awesome new tunes before TVAM and Mugstar brought the evening to a noisy and climactic close.

The only nominees not to perform were Dragged Into Sunlight who were touring across America while Hooton Tennis Club were recording their second album in Scotland, though bass player Callum was there to receive the band’s memento.

Special visuals for the night and the incredible trophies and mementos were designed by Liverpool-based architectural design consultancy ArchiPhonic while a special Prince mix was played at the halfway point.

The aftershow at Black Lodge went well into the early hours of Sunday morning as Heavenly’s Jeff Barrett and Danny Mitchell took to the decks to round off a glorious 2016 GIT Award.

The GIT Award 2016 shortlist was: Clean Cut Kid, Dragged Into Sunlight, Hooton Tennis Club, L U M E N, MiC LOWRY, Mugstar, RongoRongo, Bill Ryder-Jones, Stealing Sheep, Trudy, TVAM, The Vryll Society.

This year’s shortlist was selected by international industry figureheads consisting of ex-Cocteau Twins member and founder of Bella Union Records Simon Raymonde; General Manager of 4AD Records Rich Walker; Heavenly Recordings founder Jeff Barrett; communications manager at Vevo, Dot Levine; BBC 6 Music DJs Gideon Coe and Jon Hillcock; The Unsigned Guide editor, Louise Dodgson; editor of The Music Manuel Lauren Jones; Sentric Music’s Simon Pursehouse; Amazing Radio presenter  Shell Zenner; Bido Lito! editor Chris Torpey; founder of Liverpool Music Week Mike DeaneJohn Doran, editor of The Quietus; EVOL promoter Steve Miller; Liverpool International Music Festival curator Yaw Owusu; plus GIT Award founder and Liverpool ECHO journalist Peter Guy.

GIT Award founder and chair of judges, Peter Guy, said: “Wow – what a night, it’s hard to put into words how special an evening this year’s main event was. The artists who performed were truly incredible and the visuals and special little details made for a truly unforgettable 2016 GIT Award. It’s safe to say it was our best year yet. It’s a testament to the artists and the Award that the eyes and ears of the UK music industry are always watching with interest what’s going down on Merseyside and that’s why so many top professionals were in attendance. We’ve already started to think about the sixth edition – roll on 2017.”

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