Kelly Lee Owens wins Welsh music prize for Inner Song

<span>Photograph: Gus Stewart/Redferns</span>
Photograph: Gus Stewart/Redferns

The Welsh music prize, awarded to the best album by a Welsh artist each year, has been won in 2021 by electronic artist Kelly Lee Owens for Inner Song.

Owens, who is from the village of Bagillt in north Wales, said: “It feels amazing. As a Welsh artist to be recognised by your country, ultimately for me, is the greatest honour. I’m so passionate about Wales and I want everyone to know where I’m from.”

Her album, which blends pounding techno with softer electronic songcraft – and includes a guest appearance from fellow countryman John Cale – astounded the panel of judges, according to the prize’s co-founder Huw Stephens.

Owens wins £10,000, and she pledged to donate some of the prize money to Welsh charities.

She beat shortlisted albums by Afro Cluster, the Anchoress, Carwyn Ellis & Rio 18, Datblygu, El Goodo, Gruff Rhys, Gwenifer Raymond, Mace the Great, Novo Amor, Private World and Pys Melyn.

Datblygu were awarded the Welsh music inspiration award, for their influence on Welsh-language music. The post-punk band’s frontman David R Edwards, celebrated for the social commentary of his lyrics, died in June.

The Welsh music prize was founded in 2011, with former winners including Gruff Rhys, Gwenno and, last year, Deyah.