The Scottish Alternative Music Awards (SAMA) have just released their shortlists in all categories ahead of their online ceremony on Wednesday 18th November. With many notable names on the shortlists, LOTOS, Fair Mothers, Callum Easter, Free Love, Man of the Minch to name a few, it’s got the makings of an exciting event. This year’s live ceremony will take place online at 6.30pm via a new partnership with leading live streaming platform Twitch and will include live performances from Glasgow quintet Walt Disco, and Edinburgh DJ, rapper, producer and 2019 SAMA nominee Nova, whose debut solo album Re-Up has won the 2020 Scottish Album of the Year Award. Radio presenter and DJ Jim Gellatly will be on hosting duties alongside spoken word artist and theatre maker Leyla Josephine. SAMA Artist Liaison & Events Assistant, Alana Hepburn, spoke with The Fountain about the ceremony in more detail.

TF: How did you find SAMA’s online transition? 

COVID has dealt a heavy blow to the music industry this year. We hope our event brings some positivity and love, and shines a light on the new talent we have here in Scotland. Turning a large scale live event into an interactive digital event has been challenging but the high calibre of acts has made it possible for us to create something ace!

One of the positives was an opportunity to extend our welcome to people who wouldn’t normally be able to attend the ceremony. It was a case of creating an event that’s both special and accessible, so people can tune in anywhere in the world. This year anyone can be part of SAMA from the comforts of their own home. 

TF: What are the main challenges of running an online as opposed to a physical event? 

This summer we hosted a virtual music showcase with our partners Liverpool Sound City. The event was a big success. At that point we decided that if SAMA 2020 were to take place, it would have to be a virtual event. Our main challenge has been filming parts of the event in the context of ever-changing government COVID regulations. We feel we’ve managed to create a truly special experience. We can’t wait to share it with music fans all over the world!

TF: Can you tell us more about your partnership with Twitch this year. What does it mean for the online ceremony? 

We are excited to be working alongside Twitch to deliver the awards. Music is a big part of the Twitch platform with artists and DJs regularly streaming. It is something we can’t wait to be part of. Moving to Twitch means everyone will be watching the same feed at the same time, and will be able to connect. The platform gives us a chance to invite a large global audience to the SAMA big night!

TF: Can you tell us about your fundraising efforts this year? I understand you’re raising money for Help Musicians? 

Yes! Help Musicians Scotland are a long-term partner of SAMA. Normally, £1 from each ticket sale goes to the charity, plus donations on the night. We will continue this virtually by offering a special donation ticket on Eventbrite. There will also be an option on Twitch to donate during the live event. The money raised will support Scottish musicians at the time when financial help is vital. 

TF: Personally, who are you hedging your bets on winning this year?  

That’s a good question! There are many artists on the list who are new to me. Checking out nominations in different categories has been really fun.  I don’t want to give too much away but I feel the Best Electronic category is very exciting with Lady Neptune, Tommy Perman, Pleasure Pool, and TAAHLIAH.

Photo courtesy of Donna Boyd

Registrations for the awards on Wednesday 18th November, 6:30pm are open now on Eventbrite