This morning, at the public radio station Pieci Riti in the Latvian capital of Riga, Carnival Youth was unveiled as the first winner of the 2016 European Border Breakers Awards (EBBA), the European music awards for emerging artists. In the upcoming weeks, nine other European artists with cross border success will be announced as winners of the 2016 EBBA.
‘No Clouds Allowed’ is the title of Carnival Youth’s debut album: a beautiful, clever indie folk record, with modern rhythms, sharp lyrics, fresh keys and melancholic melodies. As far as their sound is concerned, Carnival Youth is somewhere between Bombay Bicycle Club and Arcade Fire, and in 2014 ‘No Clouds Allowed’ won a prize for best debut album in their home country of Latvia. They are currently working on their second album.
The EBBA are about breaking down borders and recognising emerging European rock, pop and dance artists who achieved success in countries other than their own. These unique European music awards are funded under the European Union (EU) Creative Europe programme. With the EBBA, the European Union wishes to highlight the success of 10 debuting European artists in selling albums and touring outside their home territory. From Adele (2009) to Milky Chance (2015), the winners of the EBBA represent the full breadth of European talent and diversity. Other previous winners also include Stromae, Emeli Sande?, Gabriel Rios, Hozier, Melanie De Biasio, Of Monsters and Men, Woodkid, Mumford & Sons, Caro Emerald, Lykke Li, Disclosure, Katie Melua, John Newman, The Ting Tings, C2C, Tokio Hotel, The Script, Zaz, Nico & Vinz, Saybia, Damien Rice, KT Tunstall, Alphabeat, Milow and Afrojack.
Europe’s cultural and linguistic diversity is a strong part of its cultural appeal, but linguistic barriers sometimes make it harder for artists to work internationally and achieve cross-border sales success. The EBBA seek to help them overcome these obstacles.To be eligible for the 2016 awards, the artists must have achieved border-breaking success with their first international release in Europe between 1 August 2014 and 31 July 2015.
The winners are selected on the basis of data from Nielsen Music Control research, the European Broadcasting Union, EBU radio stations, and from festivals participating in the European Talent Exchange Programme. The winners will receive their awards in a ceremony hosted by TV personality and musician Jools Holland at the Eurosonic Noorderslag festival in Groningen, Netherlands, on January 13, 2016. The ceremony will feature performances of the winning acts. One of the winners will receive a Public Choice Award based on votes cast on the EBBA website from the end of November to Christmas. Up to 15 voters, chosen at random from different countries, will be invited to the award ceremony: each will be able to bring a friend and the prize includes their flight and hotel costs. The EBBA, now in their 13th year, is organised by Eurosonic Noorderslag in partnership with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), with support from Buma Cultuur, the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Province of Groningen, the City of Groningen and Music Week.