Soul and gospel great Mavis Staples is slated to receive the independent icon award at the 2021 A2IM Awards, which are set for June 17. Staples is the seventh recipient of that award, following Naughty By Nature, Nick Lowe, Funky 4 +1, Alejandro Escovedo, Suzanne Ciani and John Prine.
As lead singer for The Staple Singers, Staples achieved stardom on Stax Records with such classic hits as “Respect Yourself” and “I’ll Take You There.” Two of the group’s singles, “I’ll Take You There” and “Let’s Do It Again,” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. In recent years, Staples has recorded critically acclaimed music with Jeff Tweedy, Ben Harper, Run the Jewels, Arcade Fire and Hozier, among others.
The American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) also announced the performers for this year’s event — Grammy-nominated rock and soul duo Black Pumas, Grammy-winning hip-hop artist Lecrae, 2021 Brit Award winner Arlo Parks, three-time Grammy-winner Fantastic Negrito, Grammy nominated singer Lido Pimienta, Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna, and the Memphis-based Stax Music Academy Rhythm Section.
“We are grateful to have such a stunning and diverse array of artists perform at this year’s A2IM Libera Awards,” Richard James Burgess, A2IM CEO, said in a statement. “…We are proud to use this platform to showcase and honor some of the brightest lights in the independent music world.”
The A2IM Awards honor “the hard work and boundary-breaking vision of independent artists.” The awards will be presented by Merlin and streamed exclusively on YouTube for the second year in a row. Fans can watch the show on A2IM’s official YouTube channel on June 17 starting at 6 p.m. ET. This year’s show is produced by The Control Room.
The Libera Awards are sponsored by Merlin, ADA, Spotify, YouTube Music, Amazon Music, Ingrooves, The Orchard, Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp LLP, Qobuz, Redeye Worldwide and Virgin Music.
Sweet Relief returns as A2IM’s official charity partner for the Libera Awards. All proceeds raised during the show will be donated to career musicians and music industry professionals in need. Fans can donate directly to Sweet Relief on the Libera Awards watch page via the YouTube Giving donate button.
“Every year, the A2IM Libera Awards are a fantastic opportunity to showcase the immense talent that flows from independent artists — and this year is no exception,” said Jeremy Sirota, Merlin’s CEO, in a statement.
The Libera Awards are the culmination of Indie Week, the largest independent music conference in the world, set to take place from June 14 to 17. Indie Week, which will be held virtually for the second year in a row because of the COVID-19 pandemic, is sponsored by SoundExchange.