Liam Fray (Courteeners), The K’s, English Teacher and Antony Szmierek to perform alongside Lisa Stansfield at first ever Northern Music Awards

  • Nordoff and Robbins Northern Music Awards will honour Lisa Stansfield as ‘Northern Icon’ at its inaugural Northern Music Awards
  • Shortlists announced for Artist, Band, Newcomer, DJ and Breakthrough Act of the Year categories
  • British contemporary artist Thomas Wolski specially commissioned to design the Northern Music Award statue

Tickets on sale today (15th Feb) from 10am at nordoff-robbins.org.uk/nmas

Liam Fray from indie rock royalty Courteeners will be taking to the stage at the inaugural Nordoff and Robbins Northern Music Awards supported by Ticketmaster and Live Nation for a special live acoustic performance, alongside Manchester legend Lisa Stansfield, Warrington’s rising stars The K’s and the up-and-coming Leeds quartet, English Teacher. Spoken word, indie hip hop artist Antony Szmierek, from Hyde, will be opening the awards with a specially commissioned piece about the power of music therapy.

Dropbox link for images and logo

As the UK’s largest music therapy charity, Nordoff and Robbins is proud to hold the first music awards show to recognise and celebrate the breadth of talent across the North of England, taking place on Tuesday 23 April 2024 at Manchester’s iconic Albert Hall. Resurrected in 2013 after being closed for over 40 years, the ornate Grade II listed Wesleyan chapel has been restored into a stunning purpose-built music hall and is one of the most atmospheric music and events venues in the UK. Tickets for the award show, priced at £40, are on sale to the public from today, 15th February at www.nordoff-robbins.org.uk/nmas.

The performance-packed show will help to fundraise for Nordoff and Robbins’ vision to open a dedicated state of the art music therapy centre for Greater Manchester – based in Salford – and will kickstart a new chapter in celebrating the diverse talent of the North of England year after year. 

  • Singer songwriter and Courteeners front man, Liam Fray, will perform two acoustic songs for lucky ticketholders – sure to lift the roof of the former chapel. Middleton rock band Courteeners are also shortlisted for Band of the Year, sponsored by ASM Global, alongside Stockport-bred indie-pop band Blossoms and Sheffield rock band Bring Me The Horizon. 
  • Legendary singer, songwriter and actor, Rochdale’s Lisa Stansfield will be crowned Northern Icon, and will be celebrating her win with a unique stripped back set at the award show.
  • Indie/post-punk Leeds rising stars English Teacher are shortlisted for the Best Newcomer Award, sponsored by PizzaExpress Live,and will be performing on the night. Also shortlisted for the newcomer category are spoken word artist Antony Szmierek, performing a one-off piece at the awards, and soul artist Mica Millar, both from Manchester, along with seven other Northern acts. 
  • Up and coming indie band The K’s, from Warrington will be playing at the awards and are shortlisted for Breakthrough Act of the Year, sponsored by PPL. Also shortlisted are two acts from Merseyside – Crawlers (Liverpool) and The Mysterines (Wirral and Liverpool).
  • Spice Girl Melanie C will receive the Special Recognition Award, sponsored by SJM Concerts, for her outstanding contribution to music.
  • Singer songwriter Sam Fender, from Newcastle, Rotherham’s Self Esteem and Louis Tomlinson, born in Doncaster, are shortlisted for Artist of the Year, sponsored by Ticketmaster.
  • DJ of the Year, sponsored by Scan.co.uk, sees Liverpool’s Paige Tomlinson, Burnley’s DJ Woody, Djinn and DJ Paulette – both from Manchester – all in the running.
  • Award winners* still to be announced include Music Moment of the Year, sponsored by Raymond Weil, Disruptor in Music, sponsored by Notion Magazine, and a special Music and Culture for Wellbeing award, supported by theGreater Manchester Combined Authority, which will showcase outstanding and innovative creative arts provision in the North.
English teacher Indie/post-punk Band

Nadra Shah, Director of Engagement and Communications, Nordoff and Robbins, said:“The Northern Music Awards aims to celebrate the massive musical talent that continues to come out of this region and will be held annually in different Northern cities. We want to honour the enormous success of established artists such as the award winning and multi-million album selling Lisa Stansfield – but also spotlight emerging musicians who may not yet be recognised at a national level. We really want to support and help to grow the eco system of Northern musicians whilst shining a light on the transformative work we do with music therapy to connect with some of the region’s most isolated communities. In 2024 we’re celebrating 20 years of providing essential music therapy in Greater Manchester and we’re excited that this show will support our vision to open a brand new centre – helped by the money raised from these awards.” 

Liam Fray said: “It’s a huge honour to be performing at the first Northern Music Awards, not only to help celebrate the incredible music talent that continues to come out of the North, but to raise awareness of the work Nordoff and Robbins does with music therapy, using the power of music to help people connect and communicate.”

Lisa Stansfield said: “Music and singing are in my blood as much as being a proud Mancunian, so to be named Northern Icon at the first ever Northern Music Awards is an immense privilege. I’m incredibly proud to support Nordoff and Robbins to raise money for a new music therapy centre for the people of Greater Manchester. The benefits of music therapy are simply life changing, helping children and adults who are otherwise isolated to break through barriers and find a connection.”

Set to be an annual event held by Nordoff and Robbins in a different Northern City each year, the Northern Music Awards, supported by Ticketmaster and Live Nation will honour artists, festivals, venues and industry figures from across the North of England with a specially commissioned award designed by contemporary British artist Thomas Wolski. The award statue design, which is yet to be revealed, is a reversal of his usual style and will be a curio created from his own illustration rather than freehand images worked directly on to a sculpture. Wolski, who grew up in Southport, Lancashire and has his art studio in Manchester said “I really wanted the award to be an artwork in its own right, and have strived to create a piece that puts the power of music and human connection at the front of the design in a reflection of the charity’s work”.

The new Nordoff and Robbins music therapy centre, supported by The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, and City of Salford Mayor, Paul Dennett, will be a multi-disciplinary music making and therapy space, housing a high spec recording studio with interactive, accessible music technology throughout, serving the needs of individuals and diverse Northern communities. Nordoff and Robbins delivers music therapy to clients across the UK from bases in London, Croydon, Newcastle, Dunfermline and Glasgow, and its biggest service area is currently the North of England, with 45 music therapists and 118 partner organisations providing nearly 20,000 sessions of vital music therapy to more than 4,300 people in the region. 

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham said: “I’m delighted to be helping to bring these inaugural awards to the North – and what better city to launch in than Manchester? Historically, Northern music has always been a cut above, especially the music from working class communities. There is a strong, talented, and passionate musical heritage here that deserves to be celebrated.”  

The awards continue Nordoff and Robbins’ close partnerships with the UK music industry, developed since the creation of its annual Silver Clef music awards in 1976. The judging panel comprises industry heavyweights including Ticketmaster, SJM Concerts, Music Venue Trust, Live Nation, and Kendall Calling, as well as BBC Radio 6 Music presenter Chris Hawkins, who will host the April event.

Find out more about the Northern Music Awards and music therapy at https://www.nordoff-robbins.org.uk/northern-music-awards/