Utah Music Awards celebrates local artists for third year in a row

BREKKE FELT Studio15_FeltPhotography
Last year’s winners of the Audience Choice award, Jason Lyle Black and Sara Arkell, also known as “The Piano Gal,” being interviewed by Wren Barnes. (Warren Workman)

The Utah Music Awards recently hosted its third annual award ceremony for local artists in Utah.

Artists nominate themselves for any of the sixteen categories, including best cover, new artist and best music video, among others. After spending hours combing through thousands of submissions, a panel of qualified judges determines the winner. The winner is then presented in a Grammy-style awards show where attendees dress up in their nicest formal attire to receive their awards.

Warren Workman, the event’s creator and director, said the Utah Music Awards is the only event of its kind in Utah.

“We are the biggest music awards show in the state… but we’re also the only one,” Workman laughed.

Jason Lyle Black was a nominee in multiple categories this year. He was also the co-winner of the Audience Choice award last year for his “Frozen Fever – ‘Dueling Piano Siblings'” video with Sara Arkell, also known as “The Piano Gal.” 

Black said he loves the Utah Music Awards for the opportunities it provides to local artists, as well as the chance to promote his new album, “Piano Preludes.”

“It’s a good networking event,” Black said. “It’s cool to create kind of a celebrity awards feel here in Utah.”

Black also won the category of “Best New Age” for his song “Celebration” off his new album this year.

Workman said he loves the Utah Music Awards because it’s the closest thing local artists will get to a Grammy before they’re actually nominated for one.

“It’s kinda fun to dress up fancy and feel like local celebrities for a change,” Workman said. “It’s just straight-up fun.”

Sara Arkell won the title of Audience Choice last year, but she’s back this year as a performer at the event. Arkell also said her favorite part of the event is watching the performances.

“I like seeing the performances and finding new artists,” Arkell said. “I’m excited for all of it.”

Workman said he loves doing it for the opportunity to give recognition to local Utah artists even though the event required a lot of work.

“That’s the great thing about the talent here in Utah; the cream always rises to the top,” Workman said. “We have artists like Jamesthemormon, Nathan Osmond, Lindsey Stirling, Alex Boye… there’s so much great talent that comes out of Utah. It’s great to have an event that recognizes their awesomeness.”

Beyond live performances, meeting new artists and making connections, Workman also offers a unique promise to those who come to the show.

“I always tell people, if you come to the awards show, you’re guaranteed to be better looking than if you stayed at home,” Workman said.


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