Billy Bragg has many achievements to his name. He is one of the few musicians who have managed to stay relevant without compromising their values. This year, AIM celebrates this, by awarding him the “Outstanding Contribution To Music” award at the annual Aim Independent Music Awards on the 3rd September.
The awards, which have been held annually since 2011, aim to honour artists that are signed to independent labels. On their website, AIM claims “Many an awards show hands out gongs to the best-selling or priority artists, but the indies have always measured success a little differently. The AIM Independent Music Awards recognises the real heroes of music; those who do things their own way, make phenomenal music and inspire us all with their creativity, commitment & brilliance.” They do this in a typically “indie” fashion, by thinking outside the box and awarding things that are often overlooked, such as handing out an award for “Best ‘Difficult’ Second Album”. Naturally, they award artists that follow the same spirit of independence.
This brings us back to Billy Bragg. As someone who grew up in the punk era, Bragg not only acquired punk’s 4-chord approach to song-writing, but also naturally acquired punk’s individualist and independent values. In a statement in regard to receiving the award, Bragg claimed “I was inspired by punk rock, not just by the music, but by the DIY ethos that drove the scene. Over the years I’ve held on to this spirit by working with labels who’s commitment to independence has offered me greater control of my output. Therefore, to be recognised by AIM as an artist who has made an outstanding contribution to music is a great honour”. Alison Wenham, AIM’s charperson, also commented, saying "Billy is bottled independent spirit. His ethos, his work ethic, his constant campaigning towards a better deal for musicians the world over – not forgetting a catalogue of great music - earns him AIM's coveted 2013 Outstanding Contribution to Music." This statement highlights the importance independent labels have had within Billy Bragg’s 30 year career as a musician. An artist who has always been fiercely independent, Bragg continues this spirit by this year signing a deal with Cooking Vinyl that sees him retain the copyright to his latest album, ‘Tooth and Nail’.
Previous winners at the AIM Independent Music Awards have been big names such as Adele, The Prodigy, and Bjork. Another big winner at this year’s awards is Geoff Taylor, the founder of Rough Trade Records and the Rough Trade chain of record shops. Rough Trade have had a huge influence on independent music, playing a pivotal role in the punk movement, the post-punk movement and the indie revival. For his achievements, Taylor is being awarded the Pioneer Award.
The AIM Independent Music awards are occurring in Clerkenwell at The Brewery. Tickets to the awards ceremony are available from AIM’s website.
Billy Bragg has many achievements to his name. He is one of the few musicians who have managed to stay relevant without compromising their values. This year, AIM...