Northern Ireland news

Derry singer-songwriter Soak scoops 2015 music prize

Bridie Monds-Watson, aka Soak, pictured with BBC broadcaster Stuart Bailie, was presented with the 2015 Northern Ireland Music Prize
John Monaghan

A 19-year-old acclaimed singer and songwriter from Derry has scooped one of the north's top music awards.

Bridie Monds-Watson, aka Soak, was presented with the 2015 Northern Ireland Music Prize at a ceremony in Belfast's Mandela Hall.

The teenager overcame competition from 11 other artists to win the award, following in the footsteps of the likes of Robyn Shiels and Foy Vance.

Her debut album, Before We Forgot How To Dream, was selected as the best release by a selection of music industry and media figures from Northern Ireland.

Soak was included in BBC's Sound Of list in January, indicating the best new prospects for the year.

She has also been shortlisted for the prestigious Mercury Prize, the winner of which will be announced on Friday.

The event also saw the presentation of a special 'Oh Yeah Legend' Award to The Divine Comedy, led by Neil Hannon.

He played a one-hour set of his greatest songs as the culmination of the awards night on Saturday.

Stuart Bailie, chief executive of the Oh Yeah Music Centre, said: "There were many great records on the shortlist this year, but we're delighted that Soak was the winner."

He added: "It's a remarkable statement and a milestone for Northern Ireland music. The Sound of Belfast programme has once again shown so much amazing potential from our music makers and Soak is one of the artists that will take us into the future."

The Northern Ireland Music Prize is presented by the Oh Yeah Music Centre, Belfast’s dedicated music hub, and is supported by the Arts Council.

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