There was a lot about this year’s Boston Music Awards that felt new — new trophies (look at these fucking things), new venue (House of Blues on Lansdowne Street), and a new owner (Redefined, which, full disclosure, co-owns this website). But on a chilly December night on Lansdowne Street, nothing felt fresher than the bands and artists that took home the top awards — selected entirely by the voting public.
Each scoring a hat trick of BMAs, Lowell electronic pop group PVRIS (pronounced “Paris”, rookie) and Boston progressive folk trio the Ballroom Thieves were the big victors of the evening. PVRIS took home Artist of the Year, Song of the Year (for “You And I”), and Female Vocalist of the Year (Lyndsey Gunnulfsen), while Ballroom Thieves went home with wins in Live Artist of the Year, Americana Artist of the Year, and Folk Artist of the Year
Breakout hip-hop star Cousin Stizz, who could be a household name across the country by next December, scored a pair of BMAs, securing Album/EP of the Year honors for his July project Monda, and — in what could be the category’s strongest across-the-board nomination effort ever — top billing in Hip Hop Artist of the Year.
Rounding out the major categories, Air Traffic Controller scored Video of the Year for their uplifting clip for “The House,” directed by Michael Parks Randa, and powerhouse vocalist Julie Rhodes won New Artist of the Year.
Speaking of new, there were several new categories on this year’s BMAs ballot, which created an influx of first-time winners. Among those were Randi Millman of Cambridge roots venue Atwood’s Tavern for Best Promoter; the team behind sing-along fun-time Emo Night at the Sinclair for Best Music Night (an evolution of Best Dance Night, it seems); the Paradise Rock Club’s Chris Johnson for Live Production Engineer of the Year; and Jonathan Ulman for Session Musician of the Year.
There was also an award for the Live Music Photograph of the year, a charitable effort narrowed from 12 down nominees and awarded tonight to Jonathan Beckley’s shot of Amanda Palmer performing with the Dresden Dolls at the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion. Like all the categories, voting there was done 100% by a public online vote. (See the full list of nominees here.)
Also, for the third time in four years, Vanyaland was named Best Music Blog. Check out all the winners from tonight’s award ceremony below.
Artist of the Year: PVRIS