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Little Simz to receive pioneer award at AIM Independent Music Awards

She will be the youngest recipient of the prize.


Little Simz (Ian West/PA)

Little Simz (Ian West/PA)

Little Simz (Ian West/PA)

Little Simz will become the youngest ever recipient of the pioneer prize at the AIM Independent Music Awards, it has been announced.

The rapper, 26, who is the first UK independent artist to be listed on Forbes’ 30 Under 30, will also give a special performance at the virtual ceremony.

She said: “Delighted to receive the Pioneer Award this year and excited to perform.

“Big thank you and love to AIM Awards.”

AIM is the not-for-profit trade body representing the UK’s independent music sector.

AJ Tracey will be given the innovator prize during its 2020 ceremony and will also return to the stage after a surprise appearance last year.

He said: “Being an independent artist is incredibly important to me and winning this award is a huge honour. I’m a massive fan of those who have received this before me so it really means a lot.”


AJ Tracey (Ian West/PA)

AJ Tracey (Ian West/PA)

AJ Tracey (Ian West/PA)

The event will also feature a live set in honour of Afrobeat pioneer Tony Allen, who will receive a posthumous outstanding contribution to music award.

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It will be curated by his friend and drumming student Ezra Collective’s Femi Koleoso, and will bring together a group of musicians to perform a medley of his work.

The shortlist for the best live act prize has been chosen by public vote and features singer-songwriter and cellist Ayanna Witter-Johnson and bands The Darkness, Red Rum Club, The Reytons and Five Finger Death Punch.

The PPL award for most played new independent artist is between singer Freya Ridings, rap collective NSG, Jade Bird, Fontaines D.C. and grime MC and rapper Jaykae.

Helen Smith, executive chair of the Independent Music Companies Association, will receive the Indie Champion Award for her work representing the rights of independent companies and their artists across Europe.

Paul Pacifico, chief executive of AIM, said: “AJ Tracey and Little Simz are two of the most ground-breaking and talented artists to have emerged in recent years from the UK’s unparalleled music scene.

“It seems fitting for a year in which the AIM Awards have pivoted to become virtual, that these two innovators are recognised for their achievements. We couldn’t be more excited to have them both performing, as well as an incredible ensemble of musicians directed by Femi Koleoso for what will undoubtedly be a moving tribute to the great Tony Allen.

“On the industry side, Helen Smith has been a stalwart advocate for the independent sector throughout her career. In her leadership of Europe’s independents at Impala, Helen has led several crucial lobbying campaigns, including on the recent European copyright directive.

“Her unrelenting dedication has ensured that the voice of our community has been heard and considered, resulting in a better deal for independents across the continent and, in fact, a more constructive landscape for all stakeholders. The Indie Champion award is a fitting tribute.”

The virtual ceremony will be hosted by BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra DJ Tiffany Calver and will available to live stream on August 12 at 7pm.

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