January 15th, 2012 | Published in Headlines
A Vivascene Feature Article by Brian Miller
The European Border Breakers Awards honour the best new music acts in Europe. The award ceremony took place earlier this week at the Eurosonic Noorderslag music festival in Groningen (NL). Belgian act Selah Sue won the Public Choice Award.
Accepting the award at the star-studded ceremony hosted by Jools Holland, Selah Sue said: “This is totally unexpected. I want to thank everyone who voted, especially the fans who have supported me from the very beginning. This gives me a lot of courage to go on so thank you very much.”
The winners of the European Border Breakers Awards 2012 are:
Elektro Guzzi (Austria)
Selah Sue (Belgium)
Agnes Obel (Denmark)
Ben l’Oncle Soul (France)
James Vincent McMorrow (Ireland)
Alexandra Stan (Romania)
Swedish House Mafia (Sweden)
Anna Calvi (UK)
Hosted by TV personality and musician Jools Holland, the show included live performances by Selah Sue, Agnes Obel, James Vincent McMorrow, Elektro Guzzi, Boy and Anna Calvi. Alexandra Stan was also present to collect her award. Swedish House Mafia, Ben l’Oncle Soul and Afrojack sent video messages. The show was broadcast live via YouTube and will be screened on TV and internet throughout Europe in the coming year.
European music lovers were invited to vote for their favourite EBBA award-winner through traditional and online media in November and December. The voting process was supported by the EBU (European Broadcasting Union) and several European radio stations. The winner is Selah Sue from Belgium. The award was handed out by Ann Branch, Head of Unit, Culture Programme and Actions, DG EAC, European Commission, which co-funds the awards through its Culture programme.
Through these awards, the European Commission spotlights emerging European artists and groups who have successfully reached audiences beyond their home country. At the same time the awards highlight and promote the creativity and diversity of European music and its role in bringing people together and forging mutual understanding.
The EBBA Awards, now in their ninth year, also highlight the need to support the mobility of artists and their work within Europe and beyond.
Selah Sue has a distinctive and soulful voice, bringing an unconventional approach to singing that quickly grows addictive. She’s been compared to Adele and to Amy Winehouse, but to these ears she is neither the powerhouse singer that Adele is nor the nostalgia-drenched and agonized passionata that characterized Amy’s all-too-brief outpouring. Selah is an outstanding live performer, capable of crossing genres as easily as you or I might order up a Glenfiddich instead of our usual Grey Goose; she delivers whatever the source material. Check out her truly wonderful duet on the Bill Withers classic “Aint’ No Sunshine” and then her buzz-filled take on “This World” – you’d think you were listening to two very different artists.
She’s a talented guitarist in her own right, but must also be singled out for the quality of her studio productions and the intriguing mix of electro, pop, and jazz-inflected arrangements.
We’ll be reviewing Selah Sue at length in the coming weeks, but for now here’s a taste of a major talent that is mostly unheralded on this side of the Atlantic. You’ll be hearing much more from Selah.
Watch: “Ain’t No Sunshine”
Watch: “This World”