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Friday, 6 December, 2002, 08:20 GMT
Spotlight shines on Welsh stars
Amy Wadge
Amy Wadge won Best Female Solo Artist

Tiny folk singer Amy Wadge "trashed" international diva Charlotte Church for Best Female Artist votes at a low-key Welsh Music Awards.

Organisers from Music Academy Wales first staged the event in November 2001 to celebrate a diverse range of music from established and emerging talent.

Thursday's event, the first of two nights at the Coal Exchange, Cardiff, was a glitzy evening of contradictions.

Gwenno won for Best Video Made in Wales
Cardiff songwriter Wadge claimed the Best Female award for her earthy tunes - despite hailing from Bristol.

Nu-metal act Lostprophets picked up Best Single and Best Album gongs yet managed to place behind the Stereophonics - not even nominated in those categories - in the Best Group section.

Wales' best loved band - according to the voters - could not be at the venue to collect its award.

West End actor turned singer Steve Balsamo took the Best Male prize - in the year the middle-of-the-road Swansea warbler was dropped by label Sony on the back of disappointing sales.

And there was no nomination for Newport rock duo Feeder, which returned to good form with a new album following the suicide of founding drummer Jon Lee.

Winners were voted for by about 12,000 website users in 45 categories over the last couple of months, organisers said.

Best GroupBest Single
StereophonicsLostprophets (Shinobivsdragonninja)

Best FemaleBest MaleBest Newcomer
Amy WadgeSteve BalsamoKennedy Soundtrack

Best UnsignedBest AlbumBest Welsh Language
MidasunoLostprophets (Fake Sound of Progress)Melys

Best LabelBest ProducerBest Venue (500+)
FF VinylGreg HaverCoal Exchange

Best Venue (<500)Best TV ShowBest Radio Show
Clwb Ifor BachThe Pop FactoryKevin Hughes (BBC)

Oustanding ContributionLifetime AchievementBest Video
Rhys MwynDave EdmondsGwenno (Mor Hud)

The biggest and most glamourous event in the Welsh calendar, the main ethos is to laud the unsung heroes who have quietly plugged away at the Welsh music scene.

A spokesman said: "Whilst we all applaud the success of Wales' most well known international stars...

"We felt it was just as important to honour the people who do so much work at grass roots level."

Steve Balsamo
Steve Balsamo picked up the Best Male Solo Artist award

Sure enough, punk metal band Kennedy Soundtrack was named Best Newcomer whilst Best Unsigned Act honours went to Midasuno.

Greg Haver - the man who brought you Manic Street Preachers and others - was popularly annointed Best Producer.

BBC Radio Wales pop show host Kevin Hughes, a co-presenter of the awards, suddenly found himself in the limelight - as winner in the Best Radio Show category.

"Suddenly my name was read out. And I was saying to myself, that's not right - that wasn't in the rehearsal. But it's very nice to get the recognition," he said.

A growing phenomenon, the Welsh Music Awards try to affect a maturing of the Welsh music industry, which shone brightly during the 90s "Cool Cymru" fad and is part of the economically-important creative industries.

On stage, all went without hitch or fanfare whilst, in the crowd, the close-knit community which represents the Welsh music scene gave the event an appropriate warmth and familiarity - after just two years on the calendar.

Amy Wadge, Best Female
"I've got the best rhythm section in Wales"

Welsh Music Awards



See also:

21 Dec 01 | Wales
08 Jun 02 | Wales
13 Aug 01 | Wales
07 Feb 02 | Wales
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