Limerick hip-hop star Denise Chaila – whose performance at the National Concert Hall during the early stages of the coronavirus lockdown was widely considered one of the cultural moments of last year in music journalism circles – has won the Choice Music Prize for her album ‘Go Bravely’.
Chaila is a rising star of the Irish music scene, operating out of the same burgeoning Limerick hip-hop scene that spawned the winners of four years ago, Rusangano Family, with two of the members of that group now heavily involved with Chaila’s career.
Single Anseo is perhaps the rapper’s star asset, but one of the stand out signs of how far Chaila might go is that the release that won the €10,000 award is not even technically an album. ‘Go Bravely’ was launched as a ‘mixtape’, intended to preview what Chaila is capable of before she releases a full record, something Chaila is currently working on.
Chaila is widely expected to be one of the country’s next break-out stars, following in the footsteps of fellow nominees Fontaines D.C. Other nominees amongst the ten artists selected and then debated by twelve industry experts included records by Pillow Queens, Roisin Murphy and Silverbacks, most of which were released in the early part of 2020, or early in lockdown.
The album winner being selected by critics has resulted in some controversial choices over the years, though Chaila’s win is unlikely to be one of them. The singles category, meanwhile, which is voted on by the public, is broadly considered to be little more than a popularity contest, and was won by former One Direction man Niall Horan, for his track ‘No Judgement’.
The album prize is awarded by the Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) and the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA), and is intended to help future recording for the artist. Nominations and wins also provide credibility and recognition for acts when looking to tour outside of Ireland.