The scene outside of the House of Blues last Thursday night was quintessential Boston. The line snaked down Landsdowne Street, stretching past Gate A at Fenway Park. People were hugging and a bus full of excited high school students rushed the line. While I was waiting to pick up my press pass, someone lamented, “It’s funny, I feel like I know everyone here.” That is what makes the Boston Music Awards so special. Whether you are new to the Boston music scene or grew up on it, it is unique because everyone belongs.
The music scene here is different than other cities—just ask anyone familiar with it. Reflective of the city, it is at once diverse and familial with a strong undercurrent of pride. It doesn’t matter if you have been making music for 20 years or two, someone is always willing to lend a hand to the new kid in town.
Matt Arsenault, manager of alt-electronic band PRVIS, echoed the sentiment. His band members flew in from Nashville and New York to attend the awards. “PRVIS is an internationally touring band and felt it was important to be here to support Boston. There is a lot of pride in this city, and no egos. It is small and open minded. They wanted to make an effort to be here and support the community that helped to build them.” PRVIS won Artist of the Year and Song of the Year.
It was fans who chose the winners, in American-Idol type fashion, by voting for nominees on the BMA website. The ceremony celebrated nominated artists with 13 performances that ranged from rap to EDM to folk. There were 33 categories this year, and women performers and folk artists were clearly the winners, taking home some of the more coveted prizes.
Women dominated some of the most influential categories this year. Julie Rhodes, who released her first album “Bound to Meet the Devil” this past February gave a rousing performance that had even untold fans genuflecting. Rhodes took home the award for New Artist of the Year. Other notable female winners were Ruby Rose Fox (Singer-Songwriter of the Year), LeahV as (DJ/Producer of the Year), Lyndsey Gunnulfsen (Female Vocalist of the Year), Grace Kelly (Jazz Artist of the Year) and Meghan Trainor (Pop Artist of the Year).
Interested in learning more about Boston music but unsure where to get started? Catch Old Jack’s Last Saturday at Lizard Lounge, which won the BMA award for Best Residency, or check out Emo Night at The Sinclair (Best Music Night) or see what Jonathan Ulman, the winner of the new category, Best Session Musician, is up to.
For a full list of the winnahs, click here: http://bostonmusicawards.com/2016-winners/.