Crowley's 'Season of Sparks' provides the heat at Choice Music Prize


GALWAY singer-songwriter Adrian Crowley has won this year's Choice Music Prize. The 31-year-old from Barna won for his Season of The Sparksalbum at a live event at Dublin's Vicar Street venue last night .

The Choice - which is awarded to the best Irish music album of the year - carries a first prize of €10,000 and will be a useful career boost to Crowley, who despite releasing music of appreciable quality over the last few years has struggled to get mainstream exposure for his folk-tinged music.

Ten albums were nominated for this year's prize. Crowley's win came as something of a surprise as the early favourites were Valerie Francis and Codes. Already signed to the Scottish record label, Chemikal Underground, Crowley will be hoping the award will raise his profile in the UK and beyond.

Now in its fifth year, the Choice Music Prize was set up as an Irish equivalent of the Mercury Music Prize. A shortlist of 10 Irish music albums is drawn up at the end of each year by a panel of 12 music industry professionals (journalists, producers, festival runners, etc). The same panel then decides the overall winner of the prize at the Vicar Street event. Like many similar awards around the world, the Choice Music Prize tends to reward "artistic merit" over sheer commercial sales and as such shines a light on Irish music albums that previously would have been marginalised by the media.

Set up in 2005 by music manager Dave Reid and journalist Jim Carroll, who contributes to The Ticket, the prize is open to any Irish-born musician who first released an album in the Republic in the previous year.

The first winner of the prize in 2005 was singer-songwriter Julie Feeney. Previous winners include The Divine Comedy, Super Extra Bonus Party and Jape.

The Choice is viewed as an alternative to the more mainstream Meteor Awards, which took place last month.



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Julie FeeneyPages

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Valerie FrancisSlow Dynamo

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Adrian CrowleyThe Season of the Sparks

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