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Newlin Music Prize announces 2024 short list for best Richmond album

The Newlin Music Prize has revealed the 20 albums on its 2024 Short List, all of which are in consideration for this year’s award that celebrates excellence in music from Richmond, Virginia by awarding more than $7,000 to local musicians.

Trevor Dickerson

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The Newlin Music Prize has revealed the 20 albums on its 2024 Short List, all of which are in consideration for this year’s award that celebrates excellence in music from Richmond, Virginia by awarding more than $7,000 to local musicians.

Founded in 2022 and named after musical prodigy, Virginia Commonwealth University professor, and performer Dika Newlin (1923-2006), the Newlin Music Prize is awarded to the best full-length album from the Richmond, Virginia metropolitan area based solely on artistic merit without regard to style or popularity, as decided by members of the local music scene and fans.

The winner will be revealed on March 25, 2024, with the winning artist receiving a commemorative trophy as well as a cash prize of $2,500. Additionally, each of the remaining artists on the 2024 Short List will receive $250 for their selection.

The albums that comprise the 2024 Newlin Music Prize Short List are:

“The Newlin organization is thrilled to present this year’s Short List,” said Newlin president Doug Nunnally. “The 20 albums selected are all bold and exciting in their own unique way, showcasing the wide range of styles and sounds the city so proudly offers. Over 250 albums were nominated this year from over a dozen genres, each with countless talented musical acts to choose from. That rich talent pool has led to donations from people equally inspired by local musicians, which has allowed the Newlin Music Prize the opportunity to bestow even more in its third year. Whether you’re well-versed in local music or curious about exploring Richmond’s musical offerings, the 2024 Short List promises to captivate and exhilarate.”

The 2024 Short List was chosen from albums released by artists in the Richmond-Petersburg metropolitan area in 2023 that either contained at least five songs or exceeded 25 minutes in length. All albums released under these parameters were considered for the award. There was no formal submission process or entry fee required from local musicians, labels, or studios.

A jury of more than 100 Richmond-area musicians, artists, journalists, photographers, and activists nominated albums for this award. From there, a 10 member committee reviewed the nominations and determined the official Short List of 20 albums. Each member of the jury will now review the 20 records and submit a ranked ballot which will be used to determine the winner.

There is also a public fan vote open from February 19 until March 21 at NewlinMusicPrize.com, valid for one vote per e-mail address. Results of the fan vote will count as one ballot towards the final result.

Modeled after similar awards such as Canada’s Polaris Music Prize and the United Kingdom’s Mercury Prize, the goal of the Newlin Music Prize is to raise awareness of the diverse music scene in Richmond, Virginia and to encourage more great recordings in the future. Previous award winners are Deau Eyes in 2023 for the album Legacies and McKinley Dixon in 2022 for the album For My Mama And Anyone Who Look Like Her.

The Newlin Music Prize is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit designated as a public charity 509(a)(2). For more information on the organization and each nominated album, please visit NewlinMusicPrize.com.

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Trevor Dickerson is the Editor and Co-Founder of RVAHub.