SUSAN Boyle has beaten fellow singer Emeli Sande to be named Scotland’s favourite musical act at the industry’s annual Oscars-style ceremony in Glasgow.
Superstar DJ Calvin Harris, indie rockers Biffy Clyro and Sharleen Spiteri’s reunited band Texas also lost out to the 52-year-old, who has sold almost 20 million albums worldwide since shooting to fame just four years ago.
The award for Boyle has come only weeks after it emerged that the singer, who has already been the subject of a stage musical, is in talks over a film about her life.
Her surprise victory at the 15th annual Scottish Music Awards - also known as the Tartan Clefs - came after several weeks of public voting.
The “fans choice” award was a new addition for the event, the biggest in the music industry calendar north of the border, which also acts as the main fundraiser for the leading music therapy charity Nordoff-Robbins Scotland.
Boyle has now joined the likes of Annie Lennox, Simple Minds, Paolo Nutini, Franz Ferdinand, Wet Wet Wet and Deacon Blue as Tartan Clef winners.
Boyle, who has just released her first Christmas album, including a festive duet digitally recorded with Elvis Presley, and is about to make her feature film debut, was honoured along with the likes of Garbage singer Shirley Manson.
The 47 year-old rock icon received the prestigious outstanding achievement award for innovation in music, and rock outfit Mogwai, who are currently celebrating their 20th anniversary, were named live act of the year.
Manson said: “It’s amazing coming back home to get this.
“To be awarded something here means more to me than anything. It’s where I was born and brought up, and where I learnt everything about music. My whole musical life is here. To be recognised by my country is profoundly moving.
“I really want to give a shout out to all my fellow musicians in Scotland. We enjoy an incredible wealth of talent, we have incredible infrastructure and we produce some incredible musicians. This ceremony is really helpful in bringing young Scottish talent to an international audience.
“I would like to thank my old music teacher at Broughton High School in Edinburgh, Mary McGookin, who really fired up my imagination and introduced me to a recording studio. I always think about her when I think about who formed my musical talent.
“She was a really inspiring person in my life, who introduced to a lot of different types of music, she taught me about composition and lyrics.
“We recorded cover versions of Fleetwod Mac at the age of 14 - we were so lucky. I feel we got an incredible education and we got it for free, it was amazing.
“Creativity and art sometimes speaks to unreachable people, and it is really important.”
Glasgow-born songwriter John McLaughlin, who has written hits for acts as varied as Shane MacGowan, Mark Owen, Westlife, Lulu, Billie Piper and Echo & The Bunnymen, received the “living legend” award.
McLaughlin, who was brought up in the Milton area of Glasgow, boasts three number one singles and no fewer than 17 top 10 hits. The 48-year-old was also a songwriting coach on the BBC’s Fame Academy programme.
He said: “I must admit I was flabbergasted to heard about the award, to be honest.
“Although I think I’m far too young to be a legend, I’m unbelievably humbled about this, especially as the event is in Glasgow, it’s in front of my peers and I adore Nordoff-Robbins. Music certainly changed my life and I can see how it changes the lives of others.
“The award’s made me think about all of the things I’ve managed to do over the years, from starting out in punk rock bands, to writing my first pop songs with Gordon Goudie in a flat in Partick when I was 23. I’ve never really thought about that properly until now.
“The highlight would have to be having three number one hits, with Sandi Thom, Westlife and Busted. I never really dreamed of having number one records. I’m fiercely proud of them.”
Indie darlings Camera Obscura, Twin Atlantic and Admiral Fallow were all recognised at the lavish event, which was held at the Old Fruitmarket building.
The awards saw Edinburgh-born Manson reunite with former bandmate Martin Metcalfe, from her much-loved first rock group Goodbye Mr Mackenzie, for a special live performance.
Another recently-reunited 1980s Scottish band, Gun, also played before the 500-strong audience, along with Nina Nesbitt, one of the headline acts at this year’s Edinburgh Hogmanay party.
The 19-year-old, who first came to prominence with YouTube recordings from her bedroom, was named emerging artist of the year. Now she will be supporting the Pet Shop Boys when they appear in Princes Street Gardens on Hogmanay.
Nesbitt, who attended last year’s awards as a guest, has had a dramatic rise to prominence in the last 12 months, even making an appearance on the pitch at Hampden to sing “Flower of Scotland”.
Nesbitt, who performed at the awards just hours after flying in from New York, said: “I was just in the audience here last year, but I was really keen to find out more about the charity and actually ended up doing a music therapy session with about 10 kids earlier this year at the Royal Blind School in Edinburgh.
“A lot of them don’t have many ways of communicating - they only way they can really communicate is through music, so it was really special experience.
“I’m really excited about playing in Edinburgh on Hogmanay. It’s a gig I’ve always wanted to do, so it should be pretty cool. I don’t actually know the Pet Shop Boys’ music at all, but my parents are really keen on them. Another of the bands that is playing, The 1975, are one of my favourite new acts at the moment.”
Glasgow band Twin Atlantic, one of Scotland’s most popular festival acts, won the breakthrough award, while Admiral Fallow’s special recognition award was for the impact they had made overseas in the last 12 months.
Philip Hague, drummer with Admiral Fallow, said: “It’s been really busy for us. We’re only just back from a tour of Australia a few days ago, we’ve been in the US and around Europe.
“We won’t be doing too much touring next year, it’s a bit of a writing year for us ahead of our next album, although we have some interesting projects on the go, including a special event back here at the Old Fruitmarket for the Glasgow Film Festival, which we’re writing new music for.
“Hopefully we’ll be doing something around the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, as there is a lot of music stuff happening.”
Nordoff-Robbins Scotland, the only charity of its kind in Scotland, provides around 9000 therapy sessions a year for both children and adults who have autistic spectrum disorders, learning disabilities, mental health problems, life limiting illnesses and dementia.
These are run by the charity - which needs to raise around £500,000 each year to operate - in schools, hospitals, hospices, care homes and in four of its own dedicated clinics in West Lothian, Glasgow, Fife and Dundee.
Music promoter Donald MacLeod, chairman of Nordoff-Robbins Scotland, said: “The Scottish Music Awards are a very special date in the calendar.
“They demonstrate the unique power of music and the huge community spirit and strength within the Scottish music industry.
The work of Nordoff-Robbins Scotland provides respite through music to both children and adults with learning disabilities and we are hugely grateful to all who have attended tonight and those who have made donations to the charity.
“Every penny raised really does make a massive difference in delivering the charity’s mission statement each year.”
Carolyne Nurse, fundraising director of Nordoff-Robbins Music Scotland, said: “The Scottish Music awards are the single biggest source of funding for the Scottish charity so it’s hugely humbling to have the backing of some of the biggest names in Scottish music supporting our work.”
City council leader Gordon Matheson, who is also chair of Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, one of the event’s backers, said: “For more than a decade the Scottish Music Awards have played an important role in celebrating both Glasgow and Scotland’s rich and diverse musical heritage.
“Indeed, hosting Scotland’s national music awards further reinforces Glasgow’s cutting-edge style credentials and its reputation as not just Scotland’s leading music city, but also as a UNESCO City of Music.
“However, the Scottish Music Awards are about more than just music. They are intrinsic to raising much needed funds for, and recognising the work of, the truly inspirational Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy in Scotland charity and its people.”
Full list of Scottish Music Awards winners
New Boss Award - Rose Moon (Adele’s co-manager)
People Make Glasgow Special Recognition Award - Admiral Fallow
Songwriting Award - Camera Obscura
Best Breakthrough Act - Twin Atlantic
Best Emerging Artist - Nina Nesbitt
Living Legend Award - John McLaughlin (songwriter)
Best Live Act - Mogwai
Fans Choice Award - Susan Boyle
Innovation Award - Shirley Manson