On June 17, the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) will once more bring the world together to honor the hard work and boundary-breaking vision of independent artists at the A2IM Libera Awards presented by Merlin and streaming exclusively on YouTube.This year’s Independent Icon Award recipient will be soul and gospel icon Mavis Staples. Among this year’s performers will be Grammy-nominated rock and soul duo Black Pumas, Grammy-winning hip-hop artist Lecrae, breakout British artist Arlo Parks, three-time Grammy-winning Black roots music artist Fantastic Negrito, Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna, and Canadian-Colombian singer Lido Pimienta. Fans can watch the awards show on A2IM’s official YouTube channel starting at 6 PM ET on June 17th.
Mavis Staples and the Staple Singers shot to stardom on Stax Records with a string of legendary hits, including “I’ll Take You There,” “Respect Yourself,” and “If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me).” In more recent years, Staples has recorded critically-acclaimed music with Jeff Tweedy, Ben Harper, Run The Jewels, Arcade Fire, Hozier, and more. She will grace the 2021 Libera Awards as this year’s Independent Icon.
In addition to the Staple Singers, Stax Records is the home of R&B and soul artists such as Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, and Rufus & Carla Thomas. The label’s owner, Concord, has generously pledged to raise $1M in scholarships over the next five years for Stax Music Academy (operated by the Soulsville Foundation and home of the Memphis-based Stax Music Academy Rhythm Section, which will also deliver a performance at this year’s Libera Awards).
This marks the second year the Libera Awards will be held via a live-streaming global ceremony in partnership with YouTube, as well as the second year that the public will have the opportunity to attend what was previously a private gala event. Produced by The Control Room, the 2021 awards show features nominees including a diverse array of artists and labels spanning across the independent music spectrum, as well as organizations that have championed the success of independent music across the globe.
“We are grateful to have such a stunning and diverse array of artists perform at this year’s A2IM Libera Awards,” said A2IM CEO Richard James Burgess. “A2IM strives to always put the voice of independents at the forefront, and we are proud to use this platform to showcase and honor some of the brightest lights in the independent music world.”
Sweet Relief returns this year as A2IM’s official charity partner for the Libera Awards, donating 100% of proceeds raised during the show to career musicians and music industry professionals in need. Fans can donate directly to Sweet Relief now on the Libera Awards watch page via the YouTube Giving donate button.
The Libera Awards are sponsored by Merlin; ADA; Spotify; YouTube Music; Amazon Music; Ingrooves; The Orchard; Facebook; Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp LLP; Qobuz; Redeye Worldwide; and Virgin Music.
“Every year, the A2IM Libera Awards are a fantastic opportunity to showcase the immense talent that flows from independent artists — and this year is no exception,” said Jeremy Sirota, CEO, Merlin. “We are pleased to celebrate the outstanding nominees from Merlin’s membership and across the entire independent community.”
The Libera Awards are the culmination of Indie Week, the largest independent music conference in the world, taking place from June 14 to 17. Presented by SoundExchange, Indie Week is the international conference and networking event that features keynotes, panels, exclusive networking sessions, and more. Indie Week 2021 will mark the second year A2IM will hold the event in an innovative and seamless virtual environment.
To learn more about A2IM Indie Week 2021 presented by Soundexchange, visit a2im.org/indieweek.