You’ve read our report on South By Southwest’s best bands; today, the festival itself announced its own judgment on the most promising acts to have played the 2016 iteration. The Grulke Prize, named for SXSW’s late creative director Brent Grulke, is awarded to three artists: a Developing U.S. Act, a Developing Non-U.S. Act, and a Career Act. This year’s winners were, respectively, Anderson .Paak and The Free Nationals, Låpsley, and Iggy Pop.
Anderson .Paak, whom we featured as a Best of What’s Next in December, has been taking the rap world by storm with his recent LP Malibu, melding hip-hop with R&B, singing and rapping with equal force, and even playing the drums during his live sets. We pointed him out as the “clear-cut winner” of SXSW, and apparently the festival agrees.
Låpsley, whom we featured as a Best of What’s Next in February, makes compelling, soulful electro-pop. The young Briton has risen from the ranks of bedroom recording artists to a deal with XL Recordings, which released her debut LP, Long Way Home, earlier this month.
Iggy Pop, on the other hand, has been a rock icon for more than four decades. His recent collaboration with Josh Homme, Post Pop Depression, is a superb combination of the former’s legendary baritone and glam-infused punk with the latter’s characteristic desert rock aesthetic. The best way to experience Iggy, though, has always been in concert, and he didn’t disappoint at SXSW—we got to see the 68-year-old man stage dive. Thank you, concert-goers who caught Iggy and didn’t let him fall.
The Grulke Prize winners are selected by a panel of music critics, industry professionals and SXSW staff. Last year’s winners were Leon Bridges, Courtney Barnett and Spoon. It’s fair to say Bridges and Barnett have met the festival’s expectations.