North West stars sweep the board at first Northern Music Awards in Manchester

Elaine Willcox caught up with the winners and nominees at the Northern Music Awards.

New and established artists from across the North West have been celebrated at the first ever Northern Music Awards.

Aitch, The Courteneers, and former Spice Girl Mel C were just some of the musicians handed awards at the event, which took place at Manchester's Albert Hall on Tuesday 23 April.

The awards, which will be held in a different northern city each year, aims to recognise and celebrate the established and rising musical talent from across the north of England.

The Newcomer of the Year award was won by Leeds-based band English Teacher, whose founding members come from across Lancashire.

Their guitarist, Lewis Whiting from Preston, said: "It’s an honour to be part of the first one, it’s a really good thing that there’s an award ceremony like this in the north."

English Teacher was named Newcomer of the Year

Manchester's DJ Paulette was also named DJ of the Year. The 57-year-old was part of the iconic lineup The Hacienda from 1991 - 1995, where she was one of just two women to have a residency there.

She said: "To be recognised in a room full of your peers and in your hometown... it’s like getting the keys to the city.

"I’m just super super proud. I’m always representing Manchester wherever I go. There’s nothing better than getting that recognition."

Guest presenters from the region included This Is England actor Thomas Turgoose and former Manchester United football star Gary Neville, as well as musicians Gillian Gilbert and Stephen Morris from British rock band New Order.

Among the nominees were bands and artists featured on our Granada Introducing series. You can hear more from them here:

During the ceremony, The Courteeners star Liam Fray picked up the award for band of the year – after the group’s 2008 debut album reached number one last year following the release of their 15th anniversary addition of the record.

Fray also performed a rendition of the band’s track Not Nineteen Forever and a cover of Oasis’ The Masterplan.

He said: “It’s really nice to be in a room with this much talent … but this isn’t about us, it’s about Nordoff and Robbins and the work that they do, it’s about music, and the way they’re changing lives with music and sometimes even saving lives with music.”

Funds raised from the ceremony will support the vision to open a new Nordoff and Robbins music therapy centre in Salford, Greater Manchester. Nordoff and Robbins is the UK’s largest music therapy charity.

The ceremony also saw Mancunian rapper Aitch win music moment of the year for his 2023 Glastonbury performance, while rock band The Reytons from Rotherham won the disruptor in music award and rising stars The K’s won the breakthrough act of the year.

Rochdale-born star Lisa Stansfield was also presented with the Northern icon award, before performing her hit All Around The World.

The K's were named Breakthrough Act of the Year

She said: “I’m so honoured to receive this award, it means a massive amount to me because when I was 14-years-old, I started my career on Granada TV just around the corner.

“Then I went around the whole of the north of England doing cabaret and clubs, that was my apprenticeship … Then my agent introduced me to Nordoff and Robbins and I’m so glad that he did.

“They’re absolutely incredible. They really do teach people that music is like magic, and it can do things that not a lot of other things can do.”

Meanwhile Tim Burgess, lead singer of the rock band The Charlatans, won the headline Northern Music Award 2024 – presented by the New Order duo.

“Firstly, I’d like to thank Nordoff and Robbins for this moment, and two of my music heroes for presenting me with the honour,” Burgess said.

“Secondly, to everyone who’s been part of my musical journey … it’s been a long road, so if you’re just starting out, stick with it.”

The full list of winners:

  • Artist of the Year - Louis Tomlinson

  • Band of the Year - The Courteeners

  • DJ of the Year - DJ Paulette

  • Newcomer of the Year - English Teacher

  • Breakthrough Act of the Year - The K’s

  • Music Moment of the Year - Aitch at Glastonbury 2023

  • Special Recognition Award - Melanie C

  • Northern Icon Award - Lisa Stansfield

  • Northern Music Award 2024 - Tim Burgess

  • Disruptor Award - The Reytons

  • Festival of the Year - Beat-Herder, Lancashire

  • Inspirational Venue of the Year (Under 500) - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

  • Inspirational Venue of the Year (Under 2,000) - Band on the Wall, Manchester

  • Industry Icon - Michael Adex, NQ

  • Music and Culture for Wellbeing Award - DanceSyndrome, Everybody Dance, Lancashire

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