The Prize, awarded in three categories, was developed in honor of our friend and colleague Creative Director Brent Grulke, who passed away on August 13, 2012.
Brent Grulke had a lengthy career in many aspects of the music industry from music editor at the Austin Chronicle to sound engineer or tour manager for many Austin bands as well as production and sound engineer in clubs in San Francisco. He later moved to Los Angeles to become the manager at Spindletop Records which eventually led him back to Austin where he was the longtime Creative Director of the SXSW Music Festival.
Brent's love of music and the spirit of the festival is reflected in the three Prize categories: Developing US Act, Developing Non-US Act and Career Act.
The Developing Act Prize is for artists who are breaking new ground with their creativity and show the most promise in achieving their career goals. The Career Act Prize is for an established artist who appeared at SXSW to reinvent themselves or launch an important new project.
SXSW 2014 Grulke Prize Winners
Developing US Act - Future Islands
A trio that relocated to Baltimore from Greenville, NC, Future Islands released a few well-received albums and EPs before signing to 4AD. Their debut on the label, Singles, was released in March. Future Islands' turned David Letterman into a huge fan when they made their network television debut earlier this year.
Developing Non-US Act - The Strypes
This four-piece from Cavan, Ireland possess a bluesy rock vibe that harkens back to the 60s. The Strypes, who are still in their teens, have garnered recognition from Elton John, whose management company Rocket Music signed the band after he saw one of their videos.
Career Act - Damon Albarn
Damon Albarn, best known as the lead singer for Blur and the visionary behind the multi-platinum Grammy Award-winning virtual band Gorillaz, has had a storied career including collaborations with African musicians in Mali and the release of an Alan Moore inspired production, Dr Dee: An English Opera.
SXSW 2013 Grulke Prize Winners
Developing US Act: Haim
Developing Non-US Act: CHVRCHES
Career Act: The Flaming Lips
Photo Credits, from top:
Brent Grulke, 1961-2012
Future Islands, photo courtesy of the artist
The Strypes, photo courtesy of the artist
Damon Albarn, photo by Linda Brownlee