EDWYN Collins, the celebrated singer-songwriter who almost died after suffering a brain haemorrhage, has completed a remarkable comeback after being nominated for one of the nation’s most prestigious music industry honours.
The former Orange Juice frontman, who was left unable to walk, talk, speak or read after being struck down by near-fatal illness in February 2005, has been shortlisted for the Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) prize.
More than 35 years after founding Orange Juice, his album Understated will be competing with some of the biggest hitters of the modern-day era when the ceremony is held at Glasgow’s Barrowland Ballroom in June.
His nomination was confirmed just weeks after the world premiere of a new film about his musical life and battle back to health, helped by his wife Grace, at the South by Southwest festival in Texas.
Other leading contenders for the Scottish Music Industry Association prize, which is now in its third year, include Biffy Clyro, Mogwai, Frightened Rabbit and Chvrches, as well as lesser-known acts from the hip hop, folk, electronic music, classical and jazz genres.
However Collins, who turns 55 this year, also faces competition from another celebrated Glasgow indie outfit who date back from the same era as Orange Juice, in the form of The Pastels.
Collins formed Orange Juice in 1979 and the band had just one hit single, Rip It Up, during their five-year tenure, but they built up a major following in the early-1980s music scene across Britain and remain a hugely influential band.
Collins went on to enjoy a successful solo career, particularly after the 1994 single A Girl Like You, which was a huge smash in both the UK and America.
He has been honoured for the second album he has made since making a partial recovery, which has allowed him to perform live and make appearances at events like the BBC Electric Proms, T in the Park and Glastonbury.
The 20-strong list of nominees from the award has been drawn up by a panel of industry judges based on suggestions put forward by a 100-strong team of “nominators” from albums released during 2013.
Ten contenders for the main prize – one of which will be chosen via a public vote on the official awards website – will be revealed at the end of next month, ahead of the winner being announced on 19 June.
Edinburgh-born Collins said: “I’m flattered and delighted, immensely so, for Understated to be selected. This album was important to me, I felt full of confidence once more.”
Last year’s winner, guitarist RM Hubbert, is back in contention this year again with his new album, along with indie favourites like Camera Obscura, Kid Canaveral and Rick Redbeard, and two cult acts, Steve Mason, former frontman of The Beta Band, and electronica duo Boards of Canada.
Edinburgh-based folk singer Adam Holmes, hip hip outfits Young Fathers and Hector Bizerk, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and Glasgow-based singer-songwriter Roddy Hart, whose band won a role in the hit film Sunshine on Leith and a recent residency on Craig Ferguson’s US chat show, have also been shortlisted.
BBC Scotland broadcaster Vic Galloway, who will present the SAY Awards ceremony at the Barrowlands, said: “In its third year, the SAY Award and the 100 nominators who have helped choose the long-list have shone a deserving light on 20 world-class albums from contemporary Scotland.
“This is possibly the strongest list the award has seen yet, and proves the diversity and quality across a range of rock, indie, pop, hip hop, electronica, jazz and classical music.
“All 20 deserve your attention and investigation, representing the artistic “cream of the crop” from this extremely talented land.”
Stewart Henderson, chair of the Scottish Music Industry Association, said: “This has been another extraordinary year for Scottish music and the SMIA, through the SAY Award, is delighted to be playing a role in the promotion of so many wonderful albums.”
SAY AWARD LONGLIST 2014 (in alphabetical order)
Adam Holmes and the Embers Heirs and Graces
Adam Stafford Imaginary Walls Collapse
Biffy Clyro Opposites
Boards of Canada Tomorrow’s Harvest
Camera Obscura Desire Lines
CHVRCHES The Bones Of What You Believe
Dunedin Consort (Dir. John Butt) J. S. Bach: Six Brandenburg Concertos
Edwyn Collins Understated
Frightened Rabbit Pedestrian Verse
Hector Bizerk Nobody Seen Nothing
Kid Canaveral Now That You Are A Dancer
Mogwai Les Revenants
Rick Redbeard No Selfish Heart
RM Hubbert Breaks & Bone
Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire
Scottish Chamber Orchestra (R. Ticciati) Berlioz: Les Nuit D’été
Scottish National Jazz Orchestra In The Spirit Of Duke
Steve Mason Monkey Minds In The Devil’s Time
The Pastels Slow Summits
Young Fathers Tape Two