The Upstate Music Awards were created in 2019 to honor musicians and bands making original music, as well as the producers, studio engineers, videographers, and artists who work with them.
Jeremy Theall, Wes Gilliam and I set out on this journey two years ago to shine a spotlight on the best musicians and artists that the 864 area code has to offer, and after a blockbuster first year, we were stunned and grateful to see a slew of new nominees, more visits to our site and more votes cast in year two.
More than 180 artists were nominated, more than 16,000 votes were cast, the Selection Committee has met and the finalists for the Upstate Music Awards have been determined.
Photo gallery: 2020 Upstate Music Awards
Here are the five finalists in each of the 12 categories, listed in alphabetical order. Check out links for their albums, EPs, singles and videos at upstatemusicawards.com.
We’re planning to announce the winners at the second annual UMA ceremony on Sunday, May 16, at Zen – An Elegant Space For Hire in downtown Greenville.
864 AWARD (for Upstate artists, residents and local music supporters that demonstrate outstanding character, activism, philanthropy and compassion for our music scene):
HEIDI CHAPMAN (Randomonium)
MIKE FRAZIER (Smiley’s Acoustic Café)
GREY THOMPSON (Fete Greenville, iongreenville)
GLYNN ZIEGLER (Albino Skunk Music Festival)
FAHR & TAPP, JOY. FM
FINDING FREEDOM, The Good Ship
GLÂSS, Wilting In Mauve
LECRETIA & THUNDERROAD, Better Thangs
THE PIEDMONT BOYS, Almost Home
BEST ALBUM ART:
888SHIVA, F8 (art by Christian McKenny)
FINDING FREEDOM, The Good Ship (art by ALPNGLO Creative)
NITEGAZER, Lampyridae 1 (art by Grey Thompson)
THE OLD EARTHQUAKE, They Knew, But Didn’t Tell Us and Sold Stock (art by Brett Wilbanks)
PSYCHO PSYCHO, It Doesn’t Matter, It’s Just an EP (art by Bastian Faulk)
DJ SWALE, “Her Song,” ft. MAXX GOOD$ & LA KENZIE
VILAI HARRINGTON, “Baggage,” ft. WASTED WINE
H3LIX, “Return,” ft. SCOTTY K.
MOODY BLACK, “This Life,” ft. A. BOND, L.C. BRANCH & MAX HIGHTOWER
VAN PERP, “Forgotten,” ft. REVELATOR
KINGS RANSOME, Tales
NEIGHBORHOOD SHARES, Neighborhood Shares II
PHAT LIP, Bembona
REdEFIND, Let’s Party
BEST MUSIC VIDEO:
BLACK RIVER REBELS, “Rosenbridge” (Brando Jones Films)
KIRBY BRIGHT, “Cloud That I’m On” (Calvin Hunt/Digital Dark Age Studios)
LÖ INDIGO, “Wasabi Flow” (Happy Sun Productions)
TOMMYBLAZE336, “Whatchu Need?” (Justin Irick)
BOBBY WEIDMAN, “Back Around” (Bobby Weidman)
BEST NEW ARTIST:
BAD WEATHER STATES, “Equity”
SHYLAND FLOWERS, “85”
ILL INTENTIONS, “Pondwater”
PRACTICALLY PARADISE, “On Read”
BEST SOLO ARTIST:
BEST STUDIO PRODUCER/ENGINEER:
JAY ARRINGTON (Greenbriar Studio)
SHANE NELSON (Asaph Records)
BRAD PHILLIPS (Studio 101 Recording)
CLIFF WITHERSPOON (Red Arrow Studio)
WRITE-IN (Eligible are artists who didn’t meet the criteria for any other category — maybe they didn’t release anything new in 2020 — but you still feel deserve to be recognized):
ARTIST OF THE YEAR (The committee selects the Artist of the Year based on both fan response and the artist’s overall musical contributions in 2020. This category is closed during the nomination and voting period):
Congratulations to all of the nominees; you’ve proven that the Upstate music scene is alive and well. We’ll see you all (hopefully) in May.