Madlib, Arlo Parks, Japanese Breakfast among winners at 2022 A2IM Libera Awards presented by Merlin 

Presented by Merlin, the A2IM Libera Awards provides a platform for Independent artists to honor the resilience, vision, and extraordinary talent of their peers.

New York , 17th June 2022 June 17, 2022 (New York, NY) – Last night, A2IM celebrated the strength of the independent music community at their annual Libera Awards, gathering artists, labels and industry players in New York City and online. Presented by Merlin, the A2IM Libera Awards provided a platform for Independent artists to honor the work of their peers. This year, Independent Icon recipient DJ, producer, and rapper Madlib graced the ceremony at Webster Hall, and DJed the afterparty with a special appearance from Talib Kweli. Grammy-nominated pop sensation and four-time Libera Award winner Japanese Breakfast performed an exclusive livestream at the virtual ceremony, alongside artists like Alabama Shakes frontwoman Brittany Howard and Best Latin Record recipient Helado Negro.

In one of the evening’s highlights, iconic DJ, producer, and rapper Madlib was honored with the Independent Icon Award, presented to him by New York City rapper Talib Kweli, and they continued the atfter party with an exclusive DJ set and freestyle. A legend in the independent hip hop community, Madlib is one of the most prolific producers and DJs of all time. His musical legacy includes history-making collaborations such as the 2003 album Champion Sound, created with his longtime friend J Dilla, the 2004 album Madvillainy recorded alongside MC MF Doom, and several singles and LPs with rapper Freddie Gibbs released on the Madlib Invazion independent label.

Japanese Breakfast swept this year’s awards categories, taking home 4 awards: Record of the Year, Best Alternative Rock Record, Creative Packaging, and Marketing Genius for her album Jubilee (Dead Oceans). British singer-songwriter Arlo Parks, who was last year’s Breakthrough Artist, won Best Pop Record for Collapsed In Sunbeams (Transgressive/[PIAS]). Indie rockers Wet Leg were chosen as the 2022 Breakthrough Artist for their cheeky single “Chaise Longue” (Domino Recording Co.), which also garnered the Video of the Year award. Common was honored with the A2IM Humanitarian Award, while Bandcamp was celebrated as this year’s Independent Champion.

This year’s event, produced by Marauder, was twofold: an in-person, ticketed gala focused on industry and advocacy awards held at Webster Hall in New York City, and a separate, free-to-watch broadcast of consumer-facing awards and performances from top artists in the independent space. The Webster Hall performances featured Sammy Rae & The Friends, a 7-piece funk-infused rock n’ roll band led by singer-songwriter Samantha Bowers; folk artist Tré Burt, who has drawn praise from NPR and is touring in support of his latest album, You, Yeah, You; Grammy-Award winning five-piece brass ensemble Canadian Brass; and Brooklyn-based pop-R&B singer-songwriter Adrian Daniel, who has received critical acclaim from VIBE and NPR, and recently released his latest EP, Crimson.

Label of the year categories were taken home by Oh Boy Records (Label of the Year (Small)), Sacred Bones Records (Label of the Year (Medium)), and Mom + Pop Music and Matador Records (a tie for Label of the Year (Big)). Dionne Warwick and Congresswoman Linda Sánchez (D-CA) received special honors for their work in music advocacy; IMPALA’s Sustainability Task Force was the recipient of the new Innovation in Sustainability award, highlighting their leading role in climate action.

Additionally, there were remarkable virtual performances from around the world. These included ambient pop artist Helado Negro, and Latin Record of the Year awardee; songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Cautious Clay, who also took home the award for Self-Released Record of the Year for his first full-length studio album, Deadpan Love; folk singer and Americana Album of the Year winner Madi Diaz; and Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and musician Jason Isbell and his band the 400 Unit.

The 2022 A2IM Libera Awards were presented by Merlin and sponsored by ADA, YouTube Music, Ingrooves, The Orchard, CLIO Music, edm.com, MSK (Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp, LLP), Redeye Worldwide, Virgin Music, Artist Growth, EnterGain, SourceAudio, trac, and Luminate.

Full list of this year’s winners:

Independent Icon

Record of the Year
Japanese Breakfast – Jubilee (Dead Oceans)

Self-Released Record of the Year
Cautious Clay – Deadpan Love (Cautious Clay)

Video of the Year (Presented by YouTube Music)
Wet Leg – “Chaise Longue” (Domino Recording Co.)

Label of the Year (Small)
Oh Boy Records

Label of the Year (Medium)
Sacred Bones Records

Label of the Year (Big) (Presented by ADA) (tie)
Mom + Pop Music
Matador Records

A2IM Humanitarian Award

Best Alternative Rock Record
Japanese Breakfast – Jubilee (Dead Oceans)

Best Americana Record
Madi Diaz – History Of A Feeling (ANTI-)

Best Blues Record
Cedric Burnside – I Be Trying (Single Lock Records)
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram – 662 (Alligator Records)

Best Classical Record
Bryce Dessner, Australian String Quartet, Sydney Dance Company – Impermanence/Disintegration (37d03d)

Best Country Record
Sturgill Simpson – The Ballad of Dood & Juanita (High Top Mountain Records / Thirty Tigers)

Best Dance Record, Presented by edm.com
Jungle – Loving In Stereo (AWAL)

Best Electronic Record, Presented by Redeye Worldwide
박혜진 Park Hye Jin – Before I Die (Ninja Tune)

Best Folk/Bluegrass Record
Hand Habits – Fun House (Saddle Creek)
Jose Gonzalez – Local Valley (Mute)

Best Heavy Record
Deafheaven – Infinite Granite (Sargent House)

Best Hip-Hop/Rap Record (Presented by Virgin Music)
Little Simz – Sometimes I Might Be Introvert (AWAL)

Best Jazz Record
BADBADNOTGOOD – Talk Memory (XL Recordings/Innovative Leisure)

Best Latin Record
Helado Negro – Far In (4AD)

Best Live/Livestream Act
Mdou Moctar – “Live at the Niger River”

Best Outlier Record (Presented by The Orchard)
L’Rain – Fatigue (Mexican Summer)

Best Pop Record
Arlo Parks – Collapsed In Sunbeams (Transgressive/[PIAS])

Best Punk Record
The Linda Lindas – “Racist, Sexist Boy” (Live at LA Public Library) (Epitaph)

Best R&B Record
Hiatus Kaiyote – Mood Valiant (Brainfeeder (Ninja Tune))

Best Reissue
Radiohead – Kid A Mnesia (XL Recordings)

Best Rock Record (Presented by Mitchell; Silberberg & Knupp LLP)
IDLES – CRAWLER (Partisan Records)

Best Spiritual Record
Blind Boys of Alabama feat. Bela Fleck – “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free” (Single Lock Records)

Best Sync Usage
Phoebe Bridgers – “I Know The End” – Ep 106 Mare of Easttown (Dead Oceans)

Best World Record
Mdou Moctar – Afrique Victime (Matador Records)

Breakthrough Artist/Release (Presented by Ingrooves)
Wet Leg – Chaise Longue (Domino Recording Co.)

Creative Packaging
Japanese Breakfast – Jubilee (Dead Oceans)

Independent Champion (Presented by Merlin)

Marketing Genius
Japanese Breakfast – Jubilee (Dead Oceans)

Excellence In Advocacy
Dionne Warwick

Congressional Independent Music Guardian
Congresswoman Linda Sánchez (D-CA)

Innovation in Sustainability
IMPALA Sustainability Task Force

To learn more about the A2IM Libera Awards, visit www.liberaawards.com.

About A2IM:
A2IM is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit trade organization headquartered in New York City that exists to support and strengthen the independent recorded music sector. Membership currently includes a broad coalition of nearly 600 Independently-owned American music labels. A2IM represents these independently owned small and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs) interests in the marketplace, in the media, on Capitol Hill, and as part of the global music community. In doing so, it supports a key segment of America’s creative class that represents America’s diverse musical cultural heritage. Billboard Magazine identified the Independent music label sector as 37.32 percent of the music industry’s U.S. recorded music sales market in 2016 based on copyright ownership, making Independent labels collectively the largest music industry sector.

The organization’s board of directors comprises: Tony D. Alexander – Made in Memphis Entertainment (MIME) LLC, Marie Clausen – Ninja Tune, Mariah Czap – Yep Roc, Steven Hill, Warp Records, Heather Johnson – Ninety9lives, Lisa Levy – Robbins Entertainment, Martin Mills – Beggars Group, Louis Posen – Hopeless Records, Darius Van Arman – Secretly Group, Zena White – Partisan Records, and Vic Zaraya – Concord.

To learn more, visit: https://a2im.org.

About Marauder:
Marauder is an independent creative marketing firm working at the intersection of business, art, and culture. Marauder works with a wide variety of artists and organizations including fine arts and economic development organizations; conferences and festivals; record labels from both established and emerging markets; music technology products; non-profits; one-off events; and entirely self-funded artists. Marauder positions clients for growth by approaching each project with the dedication of a long-term partner, connecting its roster of globe-spanning entertainment organizations and artistic talent with North American audiences. The firm’s unique advantage comes from custom-creating solutions for each client’s specific needs, with the ability to combine multiple services and strategies into every project it takes on.


A2IM is the collective voice of independent music. Our mission is to promote growth, awareness, and opportunities for independent music through advocacy, education and community.