BRIDIE Monds-Watson, aka SOAK, is the winner of the Northern Ireland Music Prize 2015.
She was presented with the award at a special event on Saturday, November 14 at the Ulster Hall, Belfast. The 19 year old’s debut album, Before We Forgot How To Dream was selected as the best release by a selection of music industry and media figures from Northern Ireland.
Previous NIMP winners include Robyn G Shiels (The Blood Of The Innocents) in 2014 and Foy Vance (Joy of Nothing) in 2013.
The Northern Ireland Music Prize is presented by the Oh Yeah Music Centre, Belfast’s dedicated music hub.
It is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. The event is the culmination of a nine day celebration of gigs, workshops and community events called Sound of Belfast.
Stuart Bailie, CEO of Oh Yeah said: “There were many great records on the shortlist this year, but we’re delighted that SOAK was the winner.
“It’s a remarkable statement and a milestone for Northern Ireland music.
“The Sound of Belfast programme has once again shown so much amazing potential from our music makers and SOAK is one of the artists that will take us into the future.”
2015 has been a magnificent year for SOAK. She was included in BBC’s ‘Sound Of’ list in January, indicating the best new prospects for the year.
She has also been shortlisted for the prestigious Mercury Prize. The winner of this will be announced on November 20.
The Belfast event at the Mandela Hall also saw the presentation of a special Oh Yeah Legend Award to The Divine Comedy, led by Neil Hannon.
He played a one hour set of his greatest songs as the culmination of the awards night.
The Sound of Belfast programme featured 27 events in 9 days and involved 7 different locations. It attracted over 5,000 people to experience live music from Northern Ireland, introduced around 50 industry professionals and trade bodies and generated over £250,000 of income for Belfast.