Rogue Jones has been revealed as the winner of the Welsh Music Prize 2023 The Cwm Gwendraeth band, were thrilled when accepting the £10,000 prize at the ceremony, presented by BBC Radio 1 presenter Sian Eleri.
Bethan Mai of Rogue Jones said: “I’m a bit speechless. Hearing that name was bonkers, I’m feeling absolutely over the moon. It’s been a long time coming (this album) and we’re really proud of it. It means the world, I can’t really put it into words, I’m literally humbled. It’s great that people have listened to the album and enjoyed it to the extent that they have.
“What’s next? We have a young family so we will work around that. This money will make that so much easier. Especially when you have a young family to support, this money will mean we can carry on doing what we love – getting the music into people’s bones and people’s hearts.
“We won’t stay up too late tonight! It’s fancy dress day tomorrow in school and our daughter is dead set on going to that. I’m definitely going to dance… for the next hour or so!”
Rogue Jones’ second album in Dos Bebés is an album about parenthood, motherhood, and young children, as well as UFOs, computer science, witchcraft, Welsh independence. It’s full of songs built and presented with excellent musicianship and production. It’s eccentric in its vibe across a record of superbly crafted songs.
Supported by Creative Wales, Welsh Music Prize is an annual award celebrating the best new music created in Wales, by musicians from Wales. Previous editions have seen albums by Gruff Rhys, Gwenno and Boy Azooga win, and last year’s award was given to Bato Mato by Adwaith, the first band to win the Welsh Music Prize twice.
Speaking of Creative Wales’ support for the Welsh Music Prize, Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden MS, said: “I’d like to extend huge congratulations to Rogue Jones – winner of this year’s Welsh Music Prize!
“The Welsh Music Prize is an important date in the Welsh music calendar, and a fantastic springboard for emerging artists. It’s an opportunity to celebrate and recognise the thriving Welsh music industry as a whole and our amazing, diverse talent.
“This year’s shortlisted artists are already making huge waves in the industry. From traditional folk to techno and grime, it’s amazing to see such a wealth of musical genres coming out of Wales.
“Creative Wales is committed to promoting the success of music in Wales, by supporting important schemes like PPL Momentum fund, directly funding grassroots music venues and sponsoring major initiatives like Welsh Music Prize. Once again, congratulations to Rogue Jones and the best of luck in the next stages of your career!”
The 13th annual Welsh Music Prize awards ceremony was held for the second time in front of a live public audience, as part of Llais, Cardiff’s flagship international arts festival, which takes place 10th – 15th October.
Cardiff Council Leader and Chair of Cardiff Music Board, Cllr Huw Thomas said: “Huge congratulations must go to tonight’s winner, and all the shortlisted artists – they’re a real indication of the depth of talent we have in Wales, and right here in Cardiff. The Welsh Music Prize is a massive opportunity for artist’s to reach new audiences and Cardiff Council want to put music at the heart of the city’s future, and provide further opportunities for artists to grow and develop their careers, so I’m delighted that as part of that work we’ve been able to support this year’s prize.”
Held at Wales Millennium Centre, the evening saw performances from shortlisted artists including Cerys Hafana, Mace the Great and Minas, as well as Triskel Award recipients, given to emerging artists who have yet to release an album – Talulah, Dom & Lloyd, and Half Happy, and PPL Momentum Music Fund recipient Hana Lili.
The shortlisted albums have been whittled down from a longlist of 130 albums by the Welsh Music Prize jurors, with judges having the difficult task of choosing one of the 15 nominated albums for the coveted prize, and the £10,000 award.
The winner was selected by panel of judges with expert merit in the music industry including Dave Acton (Larynx Entertainment), Huw Baines (The Guardian / NME / Kerrang), Tegwen Bruce Deans (music journalist), Mirain Iwerydd (BBC Radio Cymru), Nest Jenkins (ITV Cymru Wales Backstage) and Eddy Temple Morris (Virgin Radio).
Kate Reilly, Chief Membership & People Officer, PPL said: “The Welsh Music Prize is a well-established and respected award, which PPL has been a long term supporter of. All of the nominees are highly deserving of this recognition of their creativity in a country that has such a strong cultural sector. Rogue Jones is very worthy of special congratulations for winning this prestigious award, which showcases some of the highest quality musical creations in Wales and, indeed, the UK.”
This year saw Dafydd Iwan receive the Welsh Music Inspiration Award. Previous Welsh Music Inspiration Awards have been given to Meic Stevens, Meredydd Evans & Phylis Kinney, David R. Edwards & Pat Morgan (Datblygu) and Mike Peters (The Alarm).
Dafydd Iwan said: “It is an honour for me to accept the Inspiration Award this year, and I appreciate the fact that the organisers have looked further afield and presented the award to me on the basis of a lifetime of performing! If I have truly been an inspiration to anybody, then that in itself is a priceless prize.”
Huw Stephens said: “We are so happy Dafydd Iwan is receiving the Welsh Music Inspiration Award this year. His work through Sain Records, Wales’ largest and oldest independent record label and his own solo career for over seven decades continues to inspire Wales and its people. This is a chance for us to say Diolch to Dafydd for his vision, work and music.”
Laurie Oliva, Director of Musicians Services at Help Musicians, said: “We are delighted to once again be supporting the winners of the Triskel Award, and congratulate all of this year’s nominees, who contribute so much to Welsh music and beyond.
In these challenging times, the barriers that stand between talent and the ability to sustain a career can be significant. That’s why we’re providing the winners with both financial support and expert advice.
We look forward to working with Half Happy, Dom & Lloyd and Talulah as they take the next steps in their musical careers.”
Previous Welsh Music Prize winners are: Adwaith (2022), Kelly Lee Owens (2021), Deyah (2020), Adwaith (2019), Boy Azooga (2018), The Gentle Good (2017), Meilyr Jones (2016), Gwenno (2015), Joanna Gruesome (2014), Georgia Ruth (2013), Future of the Left (2012), Gruff Rhys (2011).
For more information about the Welsh Music Prize go to wmp.cymru