Friday 20th October will see the announcement of this year’s Welsh Music Prize winner. Today we’re taking the opportunity to give some of Wales’ most iconic artists a listen ahead of the announcement. The land of Vocalzone’s founder is world famous for its musical talent, in large part thanks to these artists.
Formed: Cwmaman, Mid Glamorgan 1992
Personnel: Kelly Jones (lead vox & guitar), Richard Jones (bass, piano, backing vox), Adam Zindani (guitar & backing vox), Jamie Morrison (drums) & touring keyboardist Tony Kirkham
Described very succinctly by an Australian journalist as “classic UK rock delivered with whiskey vocals”, Stereophonics formed in the early nineties but it wasn’t until 2001’s Just Enough Education To Perform that they hit the big time.
2. Manic Street Preachers
Formed: Blackwood, Caerphuilly 1986
Personnel: James Dean Bradfield (lead vox, lead guitar), Nicky Wire (bass, lyrics), Sean Moore (drums, percussion)
The Manics have drawn influence from a range of genres over the years including punk, glam and alternative rock all the while retaining their leftist political stance. These principals together with the use of alienation as a common theme throughout their music have cemented their cult status.
3. Sir Tom Jones
Origins: Treforest, Pontypridd 1963
Sir Thomas John Woodward AKA Sir Tom Jones was born in 1940. Nineties kids will recall how Tom was loved by The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s Carlton but he is best known for his MASSIVE voice and ability to perform a variety of genres from Country to Gospel.
4. Dame Shirley Bassey
Origins: Tiger Bay, Cardiff 1953
Dame Shirley Bassey was born in 1937 and is world renowned for her powerful voice as well as singing the themes to three Bond films. Kanye West sampled her vocals from ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ for his 2009 track ‘Diamonds From Sierra Leone’.
5. Funeral For A Friend
Formed: Bridgend 2001
Personnel: Matthew Davies-Kreye (lead vox), Kris Coombs-Roberts (guitar), Gavin Burrough (guitar), Richard Boucher (bass), Casey McHale (drums)
Often referred to as one of the landmark emo records of the 2000s, Bridgend post-hardcore band Funeral For A Friend’s debut album Casually Dress & Deep In Conversation (2003) was certified gold and three of its singles hit the top twenty.
6. Kids In Glass Houses
Formed: Bridgend 2006
Personnel: Aled Phillips (lead vox), Joel Fisher (lead guitar), Iain Mahanty (rhythm guitar), Andrew “Shay” Sheehy (bass), Philip Jenkins (drums & percussion)
Inspired by Glassjaw’s lyrics “not throwing stones at you anymore” from their song ‘Tip Your Bartender’, Bridgend friends Aled, Iain, Philip,. Joel and Andrew named themselves Kids In Glass Houses. Even in their unsigned days the band received strong press coverage from the likes of Kerrang!, NME, BBC Radio 1 and XFM.
7. Gruff Rhys
Origin: Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire 1988
Born in 1970, Gruff Rhys is the the Super Furry Animals frontman as well as the co-founder of electro-pop outfit Neon Neon. a filmmaker, author, composer, producer AND solo musician… and breathe! Neon Neon were nominated for the 2008 Mercury Prize and he won the 2011 Welsh Music Prize as a solo act.
Formed: Cardiff 1992
Personnel: Cerys Matthews (lead vox), Mark Roberts (vox & guitar), Owen Powell (guitar), Paul Jones (bass), Aled Richards (drums)
Although they formed in the early nineties it wasn’t until the release of International Velvet (1998) that Catatonia had major chart success. This album spawned the mega hit ‘Road Rage’; Cerys Matthews’ instantly recognisable Cardiff accent soundtracking many a car journey, school disco and night out.
9. Super Furry Animals
Formed: Cardiff 1993
Personnel: Gruff Rhys (lead vox, guitar) Huw Bunford (lead guitar, vox), Guto Pryce (bass), Cian Ciaran (Keyboards, Synths, occasional guitar, vox) Dafydd Leuan (drums, vox)#
Super Furry Animals are a psychedelic rock band from Cardiff. Given that they’re known for being one of the most innovative bands of the nineties -regardless of nationality- its no surprise that the Super Furries have been nominated for the Welsh Music Prize in the past.
Formed: Newport 1994
Personnel: Grant Nicholas (lead vox, lead guitar, piano). Taka Hirose (bass, backing vox), touring members: Dean Deavall (keys, backing vox), Tom Gleeson (guitar, backing vox), Geoff Hollroyde (drums)
Feeder are a rock band from Newport in South East Wales. They won two Kerrang! awards (Best British Live Act in 2001 and Best British Band in 2003). ‘Buck Rogers’ is without a doubt their biggest song memorable for the ‘its got a CD player’ line.