BBC Introducing finals Photographs by Alan Peebles

“And the winner of BBC Introducing Scottish Act of the Year is….

BOTTLE ROCKETS!!!!” cheers lead judge and Radio 1 DJ Jess Iszatt who is met with a deafening roar of applause. It’s been a heated night of emotions for all four finalists – Quiet Houses, Bee Asha and Majesty Palm, however, only one act could walk away with the prestigious prize and that was Glasgow alternative rock band Bottle Rockets.

How are you feeling?” we ask Bottle Rocket’s frontwoman Kenzi and drummer Sam after the show. “Overwhelmed, genuinely. I was crying when we won. The acts were all just amazing so it’s a massive honour to be picked.” Kenzi gushes.

It’s honestly surreal, I’m still in shock – I’m actually still shaking quite a lot, I’m surprised I could still get back up there” adds Sam beaming.

From over 500 artists, Bottle Rockets were whittled down to the official shortlist and following a public vote, they found themselves one of four finalists who would go up against the industry expert judging panel including 2022 winner Bemz, Fatherson’s Ross Leighton and Twin Atlantic’s Sam McTrusty and lead judge BBC Radio 1 DJ Jess Iszatt. Joining crowds in Glasgow on Wednesday 27th March, finalists Quiet Houses, Bee Asha, Bottle Rockets and Majesty Palm all battled it out to be crowned BBC Introducing Scottish Act of the Year.

Shareen Cutkelvin and Phoebe I-H (BBC RADIO SCOTLAND/Alan Peebles)

QUIET HOUSES

Presented by BBC Introducing Scotland radio hosts Phoebe I-H and Shereen Cutkelvin, the night kicked off with Edinburgh based duo Quiet Houses. Forming back in 2018, Hannah Elliot and Jamie Stewart creatively paired to form the indie pop inspired Quiet Houses. In 2021 their debut EP Big Town gained momentum with track ‘Wild Water Swimming‘ being featured in Spotify’s ‘The Most Beautiful Songs In The World’ playlist which has since rocketed up nearly 2 million Spotify streams. In 2023 they released the follow up EP Since July and have since have supported the likes of Tide Lines and appeared at festivals such as Connect festival.

Each finalist have the opportunity to perform one original song plus a chosen cover version. Performing their latest single release ‘What My Heart Is For‘ Quiet Houses appeared comfortably confident as performers on such as stage. With their melting vocal harmonies and tranquil ambience, it’s no wonder that Quiet Houses ended up in tonight’s final. For their cover version, the Edinburgh duo took on Glasgow’s beloved Biffy Clyro’s ‘Re-arrange’. Not just a beautiful match for the pairs vocal tones, the song takes new life from Hannah’s effeminate perspective.

BEE ASHA

The next act to show us why they should be crowned BBC Introducing Scottish Act of the Year is Bee Asha. Blending rap and poetry to create her uniquely charmful sound, Edinburgh’s Bee Asha utilises spoken word to explore themes of sexuality, trauma and gender equality. Releasing her first album ‘From Girl to Men’ in 2022, Bee went on to win the Best Newcomer Award at the Scottish Alternative Music Awards later that year. Beginning 2024 on a high, Bee Asha is now preparing for the release of album number 2 later this year.

Performing her recent release ‘Gitika‘, Bee Asha takes ownership of the BBC Introducing finalist stage. Asserting her presence and demanding crowd attention, Bee Asha is undeniably captivating. Taking on Bill Withers ‘Aint No Sunshine’ and dedicating to a lost friend, Bee encapsulates their own energy and personality on to the track, making it uniquely fresh at the same time.

BOTTLE ROCKETS

It’s Glasgow’s Bottle Rockets turn to take to the stage and this band gets straight to the point. The four piece led by Kenzi Murray (vocals) are John Tamburrini (guitar), Andrew Cummings (bass) and Sam Rae (drums). Taking formation in 2021, Bottle Rockets came out of lockdown making their name across the vibrant Glasgow music scene. In 2023, they found their flow in the singles game and their latest single ‘Winter Baby‘ was even played on Radio 1 by lead judge Jess Iszatt ahead of the shortlist even being announced. Winning Best Rock/Alternative at last year’s Scottish Alternative Music Awards and playing the legendary Barrowland Ballroom during last year’s Tenement Trail, the young Glasgow band are unstoppable.

Opening with ‘Limerence‘, the bands distinctive ethereal ambience locks the crowd in a trance. Perfecting that effortless no effort vibe, it’s no surprise the shoegazing indie rock band walked away with tonight’s prize. Following up with the incredible ‘I Love You’ by Fontaines DC, their deliverance of the song leaves even those familiar with the original scratching their heads over what track it was. By far, the most unique stamp on a cover version this competition has seen.

MAJESTY PALM

The final act to convince the judges is Glasgow genre bending electro pop duo, Majesty Palm. Creeping up on the local scene over the past two years, their reputation as ones to watch has heads turning wherever they go. Bonding over their shared love of 80’s music, Olivia McCosh and Cameron Robertson combine their talents to produce something delightfully dreamy. Winning Best Newcomer last year’s Scottish Alternative Music Awards (SAMAs), it comes as no shock that Majesty Palm have reached this final.

The pair come across as the favourite amongst the crowd with cheers rocketing on their introduction. Beginning with their popular single ‘Paticular Feeling‘, it’s hook driven chorus will worm its way around your head all day. Going back to the 80’s for their next song, it’s Hall and Oates ‘Out Of Touch’ which gets the whole room singing along. If it had been down to the audience this evening, I think their winner may have just been secured.

AND THE WINNER IS…

While the judges determine their winner, 2023 champion Terra Kin is invited back to perform on the stage she was crowned. “I feel like I’m attending my own funeral” jokes Terra Kin between tracks. Having enjoyed the success that tonight’s winner will be looking forward to, Terra Kin advises “Glass is very fragile” as a reminder of the pressure that comes with success. Sharing with presenter Phoebe I-H, she says “I had a super busy festival season which kicked off at BBC’s Big Weekend, which was mental. Then, yeah, went pretty hard that summer, but I’ve been pretty much been hibernating since to be honest.” Admitting she had some problems with her voice late last year, Phoebe says what everybody else is thinking, that nobody would have guessed by her stunning performance.

Announcing the winner was lead judge Jess Iszatt who said on the decision process, “It was very difficult. I feel that as a music fan that this is the best and hardest thing to do because you’re literally putting each other up against each other, when they are all so deserving.”

Bottle Rockets (BBC RADIO SCOTLAND/Alan Peebles)

Collecting their award on stage, Bottle Rockets are visibly in shock and overwhelmed with emotion. It marks a new chapter for this rising band who can look forward to a promising 2024 ahead. Watch the full post award interview with Kenzi and Sam from Bottle Rockets HERE or watch the full ceremony televised on BBC Scotland on iPlayer NOW.