Kelly Oliver wins NMG Award for second year running

PUBLISHED: 22:13 15 October 2016 | UPDATED: 23:16 15 October 2016

Stevenage singer-songwriter Kelly Oliver won the Breakout Artist of the Year at the NMG Awards

Stevenage singer-songwriter Kelly Oliver won the Breakout Artist of the Year at the NMG Awards


A talented singer-songwriter from Hertfordshire has won a prize at the NMG Awards for the second year running.

After winning Best Solo Female artist at the NMG Awards last year, Stevenage folk sensation Kelly Oliver scooped what is arguably the most prestigious trophy last night (Friday).

The 26-year-old musician was presented with the Breakout award for the artist from East Anglia who has made the most impact on the national scene at the glitzy awards ceremony for Tim Willett’s cross-genre celebration of original music within a 50-mile radius of Cambridge.

Kelly said: “I was overwhelmed to have been awarded Breakout artist at the NMG Awards.

“It wasn’t a publicly nominated category, so I had no idea I would even be considered for it.”

Awards founder and Cambridge 105 radio station manager Tim explained to guests at last night’s bash why Kelly had won the coveted prize.

He told the audience that guitarist and harmonica player Kelly had made her debut on national TV in August when she performed on BBC One’s Sunday Morning Live, which followed hot on the heels of an ITV Anglia news feature.

Both TV appearances were linked to her summer single RIO, which was the last track on her critically-acclaimed second album Bedlam.

Kelly, who appeared at the inaugural Kimpton Folk Festival and Folk by the Oak at Hatfield House this summer, has also had the video for her single Jericho played three times on Sky TV.

Her second album Bedlam was released in March this year on Folkstock Records.

Like her award-winning debut album This Land, which gained many four star reviews including one from The Telegraph, Bedlam was also featured in The Sunday Times Culture Magazine as a “recommended release” on March 6.

Kelly’s music has now gained 12 spins on BBC Radio 2 across four different shows.

Presenters Bob Harris, Mark Radcliffe, Alex Lester and Clare Balding have all chosen her music for their shows.

‘Whispering’ Bob Harris has also invited her to perform in three different sessions over the last two years at his home studio in Oxfordshire as part of his Under the Apple Tree Sessions.

So it was fitting that the BBC Radio 2 DJ and former host of The Old Grey Whistle Test kindly provided a bit of celebrity gloss to the event at West Road Concert Hall in Cambridge, by sending a personalised video recorded at that very studio, congratulating Kelly on her great achievement.

The Stevenage singer said: “Tim was reading out the description of the artist and I still hadn’t realised that it could be me, and then my mum sitting next to me said, ‘Kelly, that’s you!’.

“That was overwhelming enough but then a specially recorded congratulations video message from Bob Harris played out on the screen. I nearly cried!

“It was an amazing night and I want to say a huge thank you to the organisers and judges for supporting me and also for the support and encouragement from the local music scene and musicians.”

In his video message from the Under the Apple Tree studio, Bob Harris said: “Look I’m sitting in the studio where you first recorded your session for us and what a wonderful session it was too.

“Since then, of course, your career has grown and I’m so thrilled and proud for you that you have won the Breakout artist of the year award this year. It is so deserved.”

Phil Beer, from acoustic roots duo Show of Hands, and folk star James Fagan, who headlined the inaugural Kimpton Folk Festival with wife Nancy Kerr, were among those to congratulate Kelly on her Facebook page.

Phil Beer wrote: “Keep up the good work.”

Nigel Stonier, who produced and co-wrote Kelly’s summer single RIO, also sent a well done message via social media.

He tweeted: “Much deserved, big congrats Kelly xx”

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