The Sound of Young Scotland Award

The Judging Panel for 2023

Alasdair Taylor

Elephant Sessions

Alasdair Taylor is from Inverness in the Scottish Highlands.
A graduate of Newcastle University's Folk and Traditional music degree, Alasdair is a multi-instrumentalist and composer most known for his mandolin playing.
The band he fronts are multi-award winning Elephant Sessions, most recently winning BBC Alba Trad Award for Album of the Year at the end of 2022.
They have multiple other award nominations and have toured and performed all around the world at some of the most prestigious festivals and venues.
As a composer, he has written music for his band that has been used in documentaries and adverts.
In 2018 he was also nominated for Composer of the Year at the BBC Alba Trad Awards.
He has written four albums with Elephant Sessions over 11 years of being a band and continues to perform with them today.

Calum Stewart

Health and Beauty | The Ninth Wave

Calum Stewart has been active in the Scottish music scene for over 10 years. He is a member of Glasgow band The Ninth Wave, who were shortlisted for the SAY Award in 2020 and 2021, and longlisted in 2022. He is currently writing, producing and performing under the electronic/dance moniker Health and Beauty.

Emma Aikamhenze


AiiTee is a Nigerian-born singer songwriter based in Aberdeen, Scotland. She started releasing music in 2020 and since then has had several radio plays including the likes of BBC introducing, capital 1xtra and radio 1. She has been shortlisted for the Scottish Album of the Year Award in two consecutive years; 2021 and 2022.

Jocelyn Si

Walt Disco

Hello, I’m Jocelyn and I sing in the band Walt Disco. I feel very lucky to write songs in a country with such a great musical heritage, with the support of organisations such as Creative Scotland whose support made our SAY award shortlisted debut album possible. I find it quite hilarious that I’m either qualified or experienced enough to now be a judge for an award but I’m honoured all the same, and I know whoever wins the Sound of Young Scotland award will be deserving; all the acts are incredibly talented!

Joe Rattray

Admiral Fallow

As a co-founding member of Scottish band Admiral Fallow, Joe has over 15 years of experience as a touring musician, arranger, producer and promoter. Performing as a bass player in a wide variety of musical projects, he has sharpened his skills as both musician and producer/arranger over a wide range of genres. Joe currently performs with Admiral Fallow, Lizzie Reid, Andrew Wasylyk, Rebecca Vasmant Ensemble and Grayling - amongst others - and is a co-founding member of musical collective Start to End. In his previous job as events promoter, Joe co-founded The Hug and Pint and was their in-house booker and promoter from 2015 to 2020.

Ray Aggs

Sacred Paws | R.AGGS

RAY AGGS is a multi instrumentalist and songwriter based in Glasgow. Aggs, a prolific specialist in euphoric post-punk, has achieved international acclaim with collaborative touring projects Trash Kit, Shopping and Sacred Paws. Creating zines and co-ordinating workshops that encourage women, non-binary people, and people of colour to form bands, Aggs has galvanised the DIY scene in the UK. Aggs released a solo album on Lost Map records as part of their Visitations residency in 2019 and self released //Tape 1// in 2020. Both releases showcase Aggs’ signature hybrid post-punk/highlife inspirations stripped down to new minimal extremes. Pulsating, electronic beats, coolly-recited lyrical mantras and spindly guitar lines abound in this life affirming music that speaks directly to your heart.

Rebecca Vasmant
DJ / Composer
Rebecca Vasmant Ensemble

With a fast-growing reputation for her unparalleled knowledge and appreciation for music in its many forms, Rebecca Vasmant is one of the most exciting artists in the UK scene. Her story started in Glasgow, where she has spent years promoting her own parties, holding a residency and record fairs at the esteemed Sub Club, all the while holding a regular spot on BBC Radio Scotland. Bringing her sounds further afield, Rebecca also hosts a monthly radio show on Worldwide FM.

When she’s not spinning records, Rebecca regularly brings her creative energies to the studio and stage through composing and producing her own music and live performances. In the live scene, Rebecca has embarked upon a six month tour with eight-strong Ghanaian outfit Kakatsitsi, as well as creating her own live project,which features world class musicians fromThe Scottish National Jazz Orchestra. In the studio, Rebecca has flexed her production skills on her now sold-out debut album 'With Love, From Glasgow’, released on her own burgeoning record label, Rebecca's Records.

Seonaid Aitken

Seonaid Aitken Ensemble

Seonaid Aitken is an award-winning violinist, vocalist, composer/orchestrator and broadcaster from Fife. As one of the rare few female improvising violinists in the UK, she performs with her Gypsy Jazz band Rose Room and tutors annually at the Grappelli-Django Camp in The Netherlands. A versatile and sought-after session musician, Seonaid has played/recorded with Michael Buble, Burt Bacharach, Deacon Blue, Eddi Reader and Disney’s ‘The Lion King’ UK tour and has been commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival. Her latest album ‘Chasing Sakura’ was Longlisted for the SAY Award 2022.

Shaheeda Sinckler


Nova is a multi-award-winning rap artist who has helped to break significant boundaries in the Scottish music scene.
Her hard rap debut album 'Re-Up' earned her the title of the youngest ever winner of the Scottish Album of the Year Award in 2020.
Sitting amongst artists like Slow Thai and M1LLIONZ, Nova also won the award for Breakthrough MC/Vocalist in the DJ Mag Best of British Awards in December 2021.
Known for her feisty lyrics and stunning live shows, she is a rap artist and singer unafraid to challenge stereotypes as she experimented to create tracks with an independent sound.
Now based in her city of origin - London - Nova often still reflects on the 18 years that she spent growing up and living in Scotland and has always possessed an ethos of supporting other and younger artists on the scene.

Stephen McAll

Constant Follower

Constant Follower is the band formed around Scottish songwriter Stephen McAll. His debut album for legendary New York indie label Shimmy Disc was nominated for the 2022 Scottish Album of the Year Award (SAY) and found its way onto the top of multiple ‘Best Albums of 2021’ lists, leading to a string of notable performances including Austin’s SXSW 2022 and SXSW 2023, and a spellbinding set from the crown of Scotland’s National Wallace Monument. A triumph after tragedy, the album was McAll’s first work many years after an unprovoked attack in his late teens left him with catastrophic head injuries, partially paralysed and unable to write or play guitar. The following decade was spent recovering on the West Coast of Scotland, learning to live, and eventually picking up the guitar to allow the songs that form his acclaimed debut ‘Neither Is, Nor Ever Was’ to emerge.
Now, Constant Follower eagerly await the release of their much anticipated second album, slated for late 2023. McAll helms the recording and production, capturing the essence of their sound from their Stirling base. To refine their sonic creation, McAll ventured to Austin, Texas, collaborating with the esteemed Dan Duszynski (Loma/SubPop) for mixing in March of this year. The upcoming album promises to build upon their previous success, unveiling new dimensions of Constant Follower's captivating sound.
In addition to his band endeavors, McAll recently released a collaborative album with renowned folk guitarist Scott William Urquhart. This exceptional work, released on McAll's own Golden Hum Recordings label, has garnered widespread critical acclaim. Described as "an enchanting, deeply absorbing, and meditative album" (Folk Radio) it showcases the musical affinity and unique talents of these two Scottish songwriters and musicians. The duo has already embarked on their next project, currently in the works and scheduled for an early 2024 release.

Tamara Schlesinger

Hen Hoose | MALKA

As director of Tantrum Records, solo artist MALKA and former lead singer/songwriter of 6 Day Riot, Tamara Schlesinger has written and released 7 albums in 14 years. She has enjoyed chart success, extensively toured the UK and North America, played at numerous festivals such as Glastonbury and Bestival and has achieved acclaim from major press. Her music has amassed a vast amount of play on national radio and she regularly syncs her music to domestic TV shows (Skins) US TV shows (Awkward, Finding Carter) and Hollywood films and trailers (Scream 4, 127 Hours).

Tamara started in the industry over 20 years ago and has built her career from the ground up, creating her own record label and releasing her own music. She has managed and booked all tours for her various releases and draws from her degree in fashion from Central St Martin's to create all aspects of the visual identity for her projects.

Having learnt her trade as a practitioner Tamara now mentors various artists that are releasing their own music, and has 9 years experience as a lecturer and writing courses in Music Business. Tamara is a regular panelist and guest lecturer at industry events, is a member of the SMIA advisory board and is still creating her own music and regularly touring and playing live.

Tamara recently launched an all female/non binary songwriting Collective called Hen Hoose, which wrote the music for the recent ScotGov Vaccine advert. The project looks at trying to level the playing field with gender representation in the music industry along with showcasing some of the finest songwriting talent in Scotland.