Another South by Southwest is in the books, and the conference has announced this year’s winners of the Grulke Prize: Lemon Twigs, Jain and Robyn Hitchcock.
The Grulke Prize was created in 2013 in honor of longtime SXSW creative director Brent Grulke after his death in 2012. It recognizes developing acts (one national, one international) “who are breaking new ground with their creativity and show the most promise in achieving their career goals. A third “Career Act” prize goes to an established performer “who appeared at SXSW to reinvent themselves or launch a new project.”
Here’s the official statement from SXSW on this year’s three winners:
The Grulke Prize winner for Developing US Act is The Lemon Twigs This Long Island duo’s 4AD debut is earning raves, but it’s their live performances that had everyone at SXSW talking. Brothers Brian and Michael D’Addario were born into a musical family and have been harmonizing since they were kids. Producer Jonathan Rado, who discovered the band, said, “As teenagers, they work like studio vets. Brian can play anything you hand him – he played all the strings and horns on the record – and Michael is the most captivating drummer I’ve ever seen. There’s nothing they can’t do.”
The Grulke Prize winner for Developing Non-U.S. Act is Jain. A captivating French singer-songwriter, Jain has already reached Platinum status with her album Zanaka. Her unique sounds draw listeners in with their dazzling international flavor and magnetic hooks. Though success has been quick in Europe, she’s been working on her music since she was a teenager moving around the world with stops in the Congo, Abu Dhabi, and Paris.
The Grulke Prize winner for Career Act is Robyn Hitchcock. As the man himself describes his new, self-titled album, which will be released next month on Yep Roc, “It’s ‘introducing Robyn Hitchcock. Think of me as a new act — I’m only 63.” Four decades as bandleader, singer, and songwriter have seen Hitchcock employing and deconstructing the standard model of two guitars, bass, drums, and harmonies to veer between sonic styles and overall approaches, from the Soft Boys’ proto-psych-punk and the Egyptians’ Dadaist pop to acoustic-built approaches.
Jurors for the Grulke Prize include music critics, industry professionals, and SXSW staff, many of whom knew and worked with Brent over the years.