SXSWORLD

SXSWorld May-June 2016

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3 6 S X S W o r l d | M AY / J U N E 2 0 1 6 | S X S W. C O M housands of bands and artists play SXSW's music festival each year. Some leave with critical praise, some leave with new fans, and some even leave with recording contracts. But only three walk away with a Grulke Prize. The annual prize is awarded by SXSW in three categories: Developing US Act, Developing Non-US Act, and Career Act. This year's winners were, respectively, Californian rapper and musician Anderson .Paak and The Free Nationals, British singer and musician Låpsley, and the indomitable Iggy Pop. Now in its fourth year, the Grulke Prize was instituted in honor of SXSW Creative Director Brent Grulke, who passed away suddenly in August 2012. Previous year's winners in the Career Act category include The Flaming Lips, Damon Albarn and Spoon; Haim, Future Islands and Leon Bridges have taken the Developing US Act nod; and Låpsley is in good company fol- lowing Chvrches, The Strypes and Courtney Barnett, each winning for Developing Non-US Act. Out of this year's winning trio, Låpsley, real name Holly Lapsley Fletcher, is the definite rookie. Emerging after winning a local talent show in her Liverpool hometown in 2014, Låpsley made her SXSW debut in March, just days after releasing her first album, Long Way Home, on XL Recordings. "I didn't know that much about South-By before I went there this year," the 19-year-old admits. "It looked overwhelming when I saw how many people were performing, and who was performing. So I had some apprehension, but my shows went really well. I was surprised how relaxed it was really. It all went so much better than I imagined, so I came away with a very positive view of the whole thing." Her one regret was not having enough free time to see other acts, particularly Anderson .Paak, who had been at the top of her wish list. She finally saw him perform when the pair both moved on to play the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Annual Festival in April. "He was incredible. I am so glad I saw him this time," she says, speaking from a tour stop in Seattle shortly after Coachella. Anderson .Paak, who released his fourth album, Malibu, this past January, is Brandon Paak Anderson, an artist who is Låpsley's senior by some 10 years. Anderson's career reads like one of pulling himself up by his bootstraps, but with some lucky breaks in exposure: he began releasing records in 2012 as Breezy Lovejoy, but switched to his current moniker for 2014's Venice. Outside his own music, Anderson took the drummer spot for American Idol contestant Haley Reinhart, per- formed on six songs on Dr. Dre's 2015 album, Compton, and two on The Game's The Documentary 2. After releasing Malibu, Anderson tweeted he had signed to Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment. Anderson .Paak is a name, stylized though it may be, that we will hear a lot more of. When it comes to seniority, Iggy Pop has certainly earned his stature. The Michigan-born Stooges founder and frontman with the velvet baritone and banshee shriek is largely credited with birthing punk rock. Stooges songs like "I Wanna Be Your Dog" are still inf luencing younger generations. Of course, his mid-'70s solo collab- orations with David Bowie, who took the then career-ailing Pop under his wing, added another layer to his artistic cache. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's musical range — from the sultry "Nightclubbing" to the soporific "The Passenger" to the anthemic (and cruise-line com- mercial ready) "Lust for Life" is vast, and he continues to amaze: His seventeenth album, Post Pop Depression, was released in March, and is a tour de force collaboration with Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme. Pop and Homme performed together at SXSW 2016 and brought the house down at the Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater, in a performance that included the 69-year-old Pop exe- cuting a vintage stage dive into the surprised and delighted crowd. When Låpsley, who has been making music for only three years, hears of someone like Iggy Pop, who has been in the music business for more than 40 years, she feels comforted. "It makes me worry less. There's so much pressure for a fast turn- over, and to hit those high numbers, and I don't agree with it," she says. "I want to stick around and improve my craft. I look at the long game. People, even fans, demand things and expect quickness with everything you do. It wasn't the reason I got into this. I want to be in control." Låpsley says she's glad she didn't play SXSW a year earlier, because she thinks she would not have been ready as a performer. "I never had the urge to perform, my home was in a recording studio, writing and producing for myself. Now, it's different: the music is for other people too, but I'm not a natural performer. A year ago, it would have been a lot different; I don't think I would have won any prizes," she laughs. "Winning this year's award tells me my hard work has paid off. It's a big confidence boost." T For more information about the 2016 Grulke Prize winners, visit sxsw.com/music/festival/grulke-prize. Meet 2016's Grulke Prize Winners by Linda Laban T I g gy Po p Lå p s ley A M Y E . P R I C E / G E T T Y I M A G E S A N D Y N I E T U P S K I

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