Deau Eyes Wins 2023 Newlin Music Prize

 In News

The Newlin Music Prize announced this afternoon that Deau Eyes has won the 2023 award for the album Legacies.

The ten-track record was independently released this past June and quickly received acclaim in Richmond and across the country for its sublime alt-pop rock sound. Lyrically, the record strives for the balance between living in the moment and planning for the future, a journey enhanced by vivid arrangements and sensational melodies. This was Deau Eyes’ second release after 2020’s Let It Leave and expanded her already thrilling musical style to noble heights.

“It’s an honor to be recognized along with so many artists I admire,” stated Deau Eyes (real name Ali Thibodeau) in a press release. “This album is dedicated to the relentless dreamer inside all of us. I hope it gives you the courage to keep putting yourself out there.”


Voted on by a jury of over 80 local musicians, journalists, artists, photographers, and activists (including members of The Auricular), the Newlin Music Prize sought to recognize the very best from albums in the Richmond-Petersburg metropolitan area. Deau Eye’s record was previously announced as part of the Newlin Music Prize’s short list alongside 19 other records from the Richmond area, ranging from rap veterans and pop heavyweights to metal auteurs and soul artisans. In winning, Deau Eyes takes home a monetary reward of $1,000.

The award was named after Dika Newlin, a musical prodigy who embodied the spirit of the Richmond music scene. In addition to being a cabaret performer, Elvis impersonator, and punk lothario, Newlin was also a respected and beloved professor with VCU in the music department as well as a renowned symphonic composer in her own right. Her career covers the totality of musical performance from lauded classical settings to dingy bar scenes, and the way she embraced both ends of the spectrum are why she was a deserving person to recognize when naming this award.

The Newlin Music Prize aims to raise awareness of the diverse music scene in Richmond, Virginia and to encourage more great musical works to come out of the area. After the short list was announced on February 13th, jury members began casting their ballots up until March 17th. A fan vote was also open concurrently which asked people to choose their top 10 records from the batch of 20. The final fan vote served as one ballot in the final tally.

The 2023 Newlin Music Prize Short List was:

Future prizes will be announced and awarded in the first quarter of each year and the Newlin Music Prize plans to partner with local charities in order to better help, support, and encourage the local music scene.

You can listen to Deau Eyes’ Legacies above, but we encourage you to check out each of the amazing records that made up the 2023 short list for the Newlin Music Prize.


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