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Judging for the inaugural American Music Prize for Best Debut Album (“The AMP”) is now closed with twelve exceptional debut albums included on the final short-list. This list includes:

Azealia Banks // Broke with Expensive Taste

Banks // Goddess

Benjamin Booker // Benjamin Booker

Bully // Feels Like

Chris Stapleton // Traveller

Ex Hex // Rips

Kamasi Washington // The Epic

Leon Bridges // Coming Home

Mikky Ekko // Time

Natalie Prass // Natalie Prass

Shamir // Ratchet

Tweedy // Sukierae

The grand prizewinner—who will receive a $25,000 cash prize in addition to garnering industry-wide attention—will be announced next Wednesday, March 2 via an official press release followed by a special celebration event that evening in Nashville, TN. 

Of the process, AMP judge and respected music journalist David Fricke comments, “There was nothing short about my listening, as a judge, on the way to the Shortlist for the first American Music Prize. The immersion and reflection was long, deep and rewarding, affirming my faith in the album as an art form and expressive canvas. There can only be one AMP winner. The quality of this Shortlist shows what the judges encountered along the way.”

Fellow judge and acclaimed musician Matt Nathanson adds, “This was an amazing experience. To be submerged in all this music. I was turned on to so many incredible artists I probably never would have come across without this process. To boil so many albums down to the final 12 was real hard to do. But, in the end, I feel like we ended up with a pretty bulletproof list.”

Lastly, judge and prominent producer Dennis Herring remarks, “2015 – what an amazing year for first albums! What a thrill it’s been to be an AMP judge, and what a challenge; to pick one best from such a breadth of talent, from Mikky Ekko to Benjamin Booker, Chris Stapleton to Kamasi Washington! It makes me so happy to be a music maker in such a full tilt musical time.”

All U.S. debut albums released between August 1, 2014 and July 31, 2015 were eligible for The AMP. Complete details can be found at:

The AMP judging panel: Nathan Brackett (Rolling Stone), Rand Foster (Fingerprints), David Fricke (Rolling Stone), David Greenwald (The Oregonian), Dennis Herring (producer), Jewly Hight (freelance journalist), Mel Honore (Cerebral Ballzy), Britt Julious (freelance journalist), Daniel Kohn (PureVolume, managing editor), Kristin Kurtis (KGSR), Eric Levin (Criminal Records), Steve Lillywhite (producer), Melissa Locker (freelance journalist), Josh Madell (Other Music), Pat McGuire (FLOOD magazine) Sean Moeller (Daytrotter), Matt Nathanson, Robert Neumann (KHMX), Dan Plunkett (End Of An Ear), Michael Ramirez (Radio Active Records), David Safar (KCMP The Current), Craig Shelburne (CMT), Patrick Stump (Fall Out Boy), Amanda Warner (MNDR) and Bob Waugh (WRNR).

Friends of The AMP include: Craig Averill (Serling Rooks Ferrara McKoy & Worob), Gillian R. Bar, Esq. (Carroll, Guido & Groffman, LLP), David Bason (Hundred Handed), Alex Black (Warner Bros Records), Jennie Boddy (The Fun Star), Paul Brown (Red Hat 22),  Joe Calitri (Red Bull Records), Jeff Castelaz (Elektra), Jonathan Daniel (Crush Management), Charlie Feldman (BMI), Deb Fenstermacher (Red Light Management), John Fleckenstein (Sony Music), Christian Fresco (Pearl Jam), Tom Gates (Nettwerk), Piero Giramonti (Harvest Records), Richard Grabel (Davis Shapiro Lewit Grabel Leven Granderson & Blake), Kate Hyman (BMG Chrysalis), Andrew Jackson (Milton Archer / Deckstar Management), Justin Kalifowitz (Downtown Music Publishing), Janine Kerr (FOX Sports Music), Rell Lafargue (Reservoir Media), Kate Landau (Red Light Management), Michael McDonald (Mick Management), Wade Metzler (SoundExchange, Inc), Loretta Muñoz (ASCAP), Reen Nalli (The Groove Merchants), Jaclyn Ranere (The Orchard), Jeff Sosnow (Warner Bros Records), Robert Stevenson (Republic/Universal), Don VanCleave (DVC MGMT), Karen Wiessen (Autonomic Media), Craig Winkler (Grand Jury Music).

For more information, please contact
Asha Goodman 615.320.7753, Mary Moyer 212.741.1000 or Carla Sacks 212.741.1000
 at Sacks & Co.,, or