SOAK: Derry singer wins top prize for best Irish album
DERRY teenager SOAK won the 2016 Choice Music Prize for her debut Before We Forgot How to Dream.
The 19-year-old singer, real name Bridie Monds-Watson, won the prize for the best Irish album of the year - chosen by a panel of 12 experts.
SOAK accepted the €10,000 prize from U2's Adam Clayton at Dublin's Vicar Street on Thursday night.
"I don't know where to start; I genuinely didn't see that coming at all," she said. "Thank you so much for this - this is genuinely unbelievable. I feel, like, class."
She added: "This shows that no matter your age, no matter nothing, you can really go out and do anything you want to do. And you should."
Previous winners of the award include Co Down band Two Door Cinema Club and The Divine Comedy.
Dublin singer Gavin James won the prize for Irish song of the year for Bitter Pill.
Arts minister Carál Ní Chuilín said SOAK's win was a "phenomenal achievement".
"To be awarded the overall prize is remarkable and follows her success in the NI Music Awards last November, also winning best album," she said.
"The award is also proof that SOAK, at such a young age, has all the ingredients to go as far as she wants to with her music.
"I had the privilege of meeting SOAK and watching her perform to thousands in Derry during the City of Culture year in 2013.
"I was blown away by her musicianship and talent straight away and am delighted to see her now gaining recognition at the highest level."