Stormzy & Rina Sawayama win big at AIM Awards 2022

Legendary British musician Stormzy honoured as Diversity Champion. Rina Sawayama to receive Innovator Award in association with Amazon Music. Final nominees revealed ahead of ceremony on 28 September.

London, 21st September 2022

Stormzy and Rina Sawayama will be recognised for their outstanding achievements and ground-breaking work at this year’s Association of Independent Music (AIM) Awards. The final list of nominees are also unveiled ahead of the star-studded ceremony on 28 September at London’s Roundhouse, with rising star Pixey completing the line up of the live show.

Iconic British musician and philanthropist Stormzy will be honoured as Diversity Champion for using his platform to level the playing field in the music industry and inspiring wider society through his charity #Merky Foundation and #Merky Books. Since its launch in 2018, the Stormzy Scholarship has provided financial support for 19 UK Black students to attend Cambridge University, helping to transform their University experience and positively change their lives. In 2017, the University admitted 58 Black British students to undergraduate degree courses. In 2020, this rose to 137, with the increase being coined ‘The Stormzy Effect’. #Merky Foundation, founded by the musician, is committed to fighting racial inequalities, justice reform, discrimination and more within the Black community.

Stormzy’s launch of #Merky Books provides a home for underrepresented voices and a platform where their stories can be told, heard, and uplifted. His history with the Awards runs deep, as the South London icon won the Innovator Award in 2016 when he was self-releasing and the Independent Album of the Year for ‘Gang Signs & Prayer’ and PPL Most Played New Independent Act in 2017. Through all of the above and more, Stormzy has used his platform as an artist to make a real and positive change to the lives of those in underrepresented communities and organisations, which is why AIM has honoured him with this year’s ‘Diversity Champion’ Award.

Fresh from releasing a critically-acclaimed sophomore album, Dirty Hit’s pop icon Rina Sawayama is set to be honoured with this year’s ‘Innovator Award in association with Amazon Music’. An accolade that recognises the bold visionaries who drive independent music, Rina’s dexterity and creativity in the recording studio cements her as more than a worthy candidate for the prize. Since the release of her genre-defying debut ‘SAWAYAMA’, which spanned the lengths of nu-metal, ’00s R&B, country and all out pop, her seismic musical shifts translate to the energy of her emphatic live shows.

Renowned for state-of-the-art visuals, Rina’s work with video director Ali Kaur has consistently raised the bar for high production music videos. Most recently, she turned heads with the title track on her new ‘Hold The Girl’ album, portraying the trappings of a time loop within the bounds of a 19th century farmhouse. Asides from music, Rina is also becoming a figurehead in the fashion world, modelling for the likes of Versace and Balmain with her striking aesthetic taking her to the catwalk at this year’s Paris Fashion Week.

As the final list of nominees are revealed for the 2022 AIM Awards, five hopefuls are up for the title of ‘Best Independent Video in association with VEVO’. The impressive array of nominees include Arlo Parks’ ‘Softly’, Ibeyi’s ‘Made of Gold ft. Pa Salieu’, ‘3210’ by Jeshi, Wesley Joseph’s ‘Cold Summer’ and FKA Twigs’ ‘tears in the club ft. The Weeknd’.

Following a heated battle between fans in the public vote, in which over 29,000 had their say, the ‘Best Live Performer’ shortlist has been whittled down to its final few names, with Ben Böhmer, IDLES, Mitski, Shao Dow and The Hu in the running for the coveted trophy.

With excitement reaching fever pitch for the biggest night in the independent music community’s calendar, the Awards will be hosted by BBC Radio 1Xtra’s DJ Target and TV host and presenter Joelah Noble. The show will also include dazzling performances from indie rock darlings The Libertines and grime-icon Lethal Bizzle, who’s taking home the trophy for Outstanding Contribution to Music in association with Merlin. Liverpool rising star Pixey is the third and final performer to be announced for what is set to be an unforgettable evening for the independent music community.

Ceremony tickets (individual and tables) are now available:

Public Live Show & After Party tickets are currently on sale:

See below for newly announced winners & nominees


Diversity Champion 

Winner: Stormzy

Innovator in association with Amazon Music

Winner: Rina Sawayama (Dirty Hit)

Best Live Performer

Ben Böhmer (Anjunadeep)

IDLES (Partisan Records)

Mitski (Dead Oceans)

Shao Dow (DiY Gang Entertainment)

The Hu (Better Noise)


Best Independent Video in association with VEVO

Arlo Parks – ‘Softly’

Ibeyi – ‘Made of Gold ft. Pa Salieu’

Jeshi – ‘3210’

Wesley Joseph – ‘Cold Summer’

FKA Twigs –  ‘tears in the club’ ft. the weeknd


Previously announced nominees


UK Independent Breakthrough in association with YouTube Music

Children of Zeus (First Word Records)

Warmduscher (Bella Union)

Knucks (No Days Off)

Nova Twins (Marshall Records)

Wet Leg (Domino Recording Company)


International Breakthrough in association with Deezer

Amyl & the Sniffers (Rough Trade)

Blxst (Red Bull Records)

Kokoroko (Brownswood Recordings)

Mdou Moctar (Matador Records)

Mitski (Dead Oceans)


Best Independent Track in association with Meta

Anz – ‘You Could Be’ (ft. George Riley) (Ninja Tune)

Dave – ‘Starlight’ (Neighbourhood Recordings)

FKA twigs – ‘tears in the club’ ft. the weeknd (Young Recordings)

Jeshi – ‘Protein’ feat. Obongjayar (Because Music)

Knucks, SL – ‘Nice & Good’ (No Days Off)

Nova Twins – ‘Antagonist’ (Marshall Records)

Overmono – ‘So U Kno’ (XL Recordings)

Wet Leg – ‘Chaise Longue’ (Domino Recording Company)

Wu-Lu – ‘Broken Homes’ (Warp Records)

Yves Tumor – ‘Jackie’ (Warp Records)


Best Independent EP/Mixtape

FKA twigs – ‘CAPRISONGS’ (Young Recordings)

Joy Orbison – ‘still slipping vol.1’ (XL Recordings)

Surya Sen – ‘At What Cost?’ (Skint Records)

TAAHLIAH – ‘Angelica’ (untitled (recs))



Best Independent Album in association with Spotify

Boj – ‘Gbagada Express’ (Moves Recordings)

Children Of Zeus – ‘Balance’ (First Word Records)

Cleo Sol  – ‘Mother’ (Forever Living Originals)

Dave – ‘We’re All Alone In This Together’

Dave Okumu – ‘Knopperz’ (Neighbourhood Recordings)

Emma-Jean Thackray – ‘Yellow’ (Movementt)

Mustafa – ‘When Smoke Rises’ (Young)

Nilüfer Yanya – ‘Painless’ (ATO Records)

SAULT – ‘NINE’ (Forever Living Originals)

Walt Disco – ‘Unlearning’ (Lucky Number)


Best [Difficult] Second Album in association with BBC6 Music

Black Country, New Road  – ‘Ants From Up There’ (Ninja Tune)

Jana Rush – ‘Painful Enlightenment’ (Planet Mu Records)

Nilüfer Yanya – ‘Painless’ (ATO Records)

Ross From Friends – ‘Tread’ (Brainfeeder)

Tirzah – ‘Colourgrade’ (Domino Recording Company)


Best Independent Remix

ATO – ‘no caroline remix’ (FLOHIO) (MCMXCV)

Erike de Casier – ‘Polite (Mura Masa Remix)’ (4AD)

Ibeyi – ‘Lavender & Red Roses ft. Jorja Smith (Champion Remix)’ (XL Recordings)

MF DOOM – ‘Gazzillion Ear (Thom Yorke Man on Fire Remix)’ (Lex Records)

Shygirl – ‘BDE (Kaydy Cain Remix)’ (Because Music)


One To Watch in association with BBC Introducing

Barry Can’t Swim (Technicolour / Ninja Tune)

Jeshi (Because Music)

Léa Sen (Partisan Records)

Nia Archives (HIJINXX)

TAAHLIAH (untitled (recs))


Music Entrepreneur Of The Year

Corey Johnson (CEO & Founder of Defenders Ent.)

Jamie Oborne (Founder of Dirty Hit/All On Red Management)

Karen Emanuel (CEO and Founder of Key Production)

Laura Lewis-Paul (Founder & CEO of Saffron Music)

Peter Adarkwah (Label Owner of BBE Music)


Best Independent Label

Domino Recording Company

Ninja Tune

Partisan Records

Rough Trade

Soundway Records


Best Boutique Label

Chess Club

Edition Records

Finesse Foreva

Local Action

Rough Bones


PPL Award for Most Played New Independent Artist

Arlo Parks (Transgressive Records)

D.O.D (Axtone Records)

KC Lights (Toolroom Productions)

Rathbone Place (Good Company Records)

Wet Leg (Domino Recording Company)


Best Creative Campaign in association with Able

Fontaines D.C. – ‘Skinty Fia’ (Partisan Records)

Maylee Todd – ‘Maloo’ (Stones Throw Records)

Mitski – ‘Laurel Hell’ (Dead Oceans)

Obongjayar – ‘Some Nights I Dream of Doors’ (September Recordings)

Radiohead – ‘KID A MNESIA’ (XL Recordings)


AIM is the not-for-profit trade body exclusively representing the UK’s independent music sector. Our members range from the largest, most respected record labels and associated music businesses in the world to self-releasing artists and the next generation of entrepreneurs in music.