Music prize winner Lavery celebrates reaching 'another level'
Ciaran Lavery has said his career has reached another level.
The Co Antrim singer-songwriter won the Northern Ireland Music Prize 2016 at the weekend.
He received it for his album Let Bad In, which is about looking back on childhood from adulthood.
Lavery said: "It has stepped up another level. I am happy that it has gotten to where it has."
2016 has been an incredible year already for Lavery, from clocking up over 56 million streams on Spotify, to performing at Willie Nelson's range as part of South By Southwest in Austin, Texas, as well as touring the USA, Canada and Europe.
He is working on his third record and plans to release a live album on December 9.
Let Bad In has been a great success.
Lavery said: "It became almost a funeral for the child that I was, a celebration and an acceptance of certain decisions that you make in your life."
He was presented with the prize at the Mandela Hall in Belfast on Friday.
Previous recipients include SOAK and Foy Vance.
"I don't think anyone sets out to record an album with the intention of it being award-winning, so it was a tremendous surprise," said Lavery.
"To be nominated amongst a host of great albums is in itself worthy enough of celebrating. The bar is set very high in terms of musical quality coming out of Northern Ireland at the moment. It's a real blast to be a part of that "
The Northern Ireland Music Prize is produced by the Oh Yeah music centre, Belfast's dedicated music hub, and supported by The Arts Council of Northern Ireland. The event was the culmination of a nine-day celebration of gigs, showcases, workshops and community events called Sound of Belfast.
Charlotte Dryden, chief executive officer of Oh Yeah said: "The shortlist was outstanding again this year, but Ciaran Lavery is such a worthy winner. Northern Irish artists are doing us proud, locally, nationally and internationally making an impact.
"The Sound of Belfast festival programme continues to promote the great potential and celebrated names of Northern Irish music from grassroots to celebrated names.
"Ciaran Lavery is an artist to be celebrated and we think he has an amazing future ahead of him."