McKinley Dixon Wins First-Ever Newlin Music Prize
The eleven-track record was released this past May through Spacebomb Records and quickly received acclaim in Richmond and across the country for its expansive take on the Black experience. Through a mélange of jazz, hip-hop, and soul, Dixon explores joy and grief while utilizing his unique lyrical style that both challenges and celebrates the idea of being a rapper. The end result is less about subverting genres and defying expectations, but more about challenging the status quo with fierce artistic spirit and uncompromising vision.
“I am honored to accept the inaugural Newlin Music Award,” McKinley Dixon stated in the official press release. “My album For My Mama And Anyone Who Look Like Her was created with the intention of capturing distance through time and community. This album was the culmination of many sessions across Richmond and beyond. Thank you.”
Voted on by a jury of over 50 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. Dixon’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 punk veterans and rap heavyweights to pop auteurs and soul artisans. In winning, McKinley Dixon will take 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 4th, jury members began casting their ballots up until March 5th. 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 2022 Newlin Music Prize Short List was:
- Abby Huston – AH HA
- Angélica Garcia – Echo Eléctrico
- Ant The Symbol – Ant Hasn’t Heard Of You, Either
- Big Fundamental – Hyperbeam
- Book Of Wyrms – Occult New Age
- Caro – From My Room
- DJ Harrison – Tales From The Old Dominion
- Frames – Every Room
- Giant – Big Talk
- Gnawing – You Freak Me Out
- Illa Styles – IllaVeRs
- Jewell Booker – Love Sick 2020
- Junnie Mac x NameBrand – Peace, Mercy & Blessings
- Matthew E. White – K. Bay
- McKinley Dixon – For My Mama And Anyone Who Look Like Her
- Prabir Trio – Haanji
- Tennishu – 2021
- Terminal Bliss – Brute Err/ata
- Tiara & Andrew – Roller Skates
- WKNDR – Rising
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 McKinley Dixon’s For My Mama And Anyone Who Look Like Her below, but we encourage you to check out each of the amazing records that made up the first-ever short list for the Newlin Music Prize.