Cardiff rapper Deyah has won the 2020 Welsh Music Prize for her album Care City. The winning record follows on from her 2019 EP Lover Loner, which had also featured on the shortlist for the prize last year.
The winner of the Welsh Music Prize 2020 is…
— Welsh Music Prize (@welshmusicprize) November 19, 2020
Deyah saw off stern competition from 14 other artists for the prize, which celebrates the best album released by a Welsh performer or group as adjudged by a panel of industry professionals. Among the other contenders for the award this year were Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys – a previous Welsh Music Prize winner with his 2011 solo album Hotel Shampoo – and Aberystwyth’s Georgia Ruth, who had previously collaborated with the Manic Street Preachers on their 2014 album Futurology.
Judges on the panel for the 2020 award – which was established by BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens and music promoter John Rostron in 2011 – included BBC Wales’ Sian Eleri Evans, Radio X’s Polly James, author and BBC DJ Gemma Cairney, and Music Week‘s Mark Sutherland. Speaking about this year’s winner with BBC Wales, Huw Stephens said “Deyah’s ‘Care City’ impressed the judges immensely with her personal, poetic and intricately produced album. She’s a young Welsh artist who is really making her mark on the music scene, and we’re thrilled for her to be the 10th recipient of the Welsh Music Prize. ‘Care City’ is a phenomenal listen, her words and flow are outstanding.”
Formerly known as NoNameDisciple, Deyah has already attracted a growing band of high-profile fans, with the likes of Lily Allen, JME, Jessie J and Wiley voicing their appreciation for her intensely personal work. Care City has also a host of glowing reviews from critics. Fortitude magazine described the LP as “raw and confessional”, adding it “puts Deyah on the map as emerging new talent”; whilst Hip Hop Magazine called it “conceptual masterpiece“.
Speaking in an emotional acceptance video on the Welsh Music Prize Twitter feed, Deyah said that she felt ‘speechless‘ on picking up the accolade. She said “I was only saying to my manager the other day that I don’t think I’m going to stand a chance at all…Care City is a documentation of the hardest time I’ve ever had to go through, so for it to be listened to is incredible in itself but to win the Welsh Music Prize is insane. Being Welsh I’m so proud.”
Among the attendees at the online awards ceremony last night was Hollywood star Michael Sheen. The actor, renowned for his chameleonic turns in The Damned United, The Queen and Frost/Nixon, is no stranger to the Welsh music scene. The Newport-born, Port Talbot-raised actor has previously appeared in music videos for the Manics (on 2010’s (It’s Not War) Just The End Of Love) and for this year’s Kelly Lee Owens and John Cale collaboration Corner of My Sky.
Sheen told BBC Wales he had been hugely impressed by the Welsh talent on the display this year. He said “The incredible richness, the imagination, the creativity that is represented by all the nominees this year is extraordinary. I’ve been blown away by it. It makes me feel incredibly proud to know that people across the world are able to get a window into who we are in Wales through this music, because you are our voice internationally.“