Winners of annual Madison Area Music Association awards announced

2020 Madison Area Music Association doled out more than 100 awards on Oct. 4.
Lo Marie Sized
Lo Marie (Photo courtesy of Lo Marie)

Singer Lo Marie won numerous 2020 Madison Area Music Association Awards during a livestream of the annual awards ceremony on Sunday night. The MAMAs doled out more than 100 awards to well-known artists and newcomers alike.

Music fans and fellow musicians voted Marie artist of the year, best female vocalist and best jazz performer. Her song “All the Love” won pop/R&B song and her album “Le Rêve,” which can be heard here, took the best pop/R&B album honors.

“These awards are motivation to be the best musician I can be, to keep fighting to make music accessible to everyone – the MAMAs’ mission – and to keep putting my heart and soul into each and every body of work,” Marie says.

Even higher honors could be coming Marie’s way. Last week she found out she is on a first-round ballot for Grammy Awards in three categories: song of the year, best R&B song and best new artist.

Marie says she is pleased by the recognition her latest album received from voters for the MAMA awards.

“I’m so proud of Le Rêve, for its musical merits and for its messaging. It encourages us to show compassion to ourselves and to those around us,” she says, adding, “My hope for this music is that perhaps it helps to make your day a little bit better, or that perhaps it shifts your perspective to make someone else’s day a little bit better.”

Marie has previously won several MAMA awards. Marie won best jazz album for “Solid Ground” in 2015 and she won the categories of jazz performer, female vocalist and cover song in 2018.

Another 2020 winner in several categories was Shawndell Marks. She won best alternative song for “Solace” and best unique album for “Keys to Unlock Your Dreams,” a collection of instrumental piano pieces. Marks also shared the MAMA award for ensemble vocals as a member Gin, Chocolate and Bottle Rockets, a trio that also includes Beth Kille and Jen Farley.

Kille served as Marks’ motivator and engineer for the “Keys to Unlock Your Dreams” – which Marks describes as “seven improvised piano pieces meant for sleep, study and relaxation.”

She, Kille and Farley were surprised by their band’s win as a vocal ensemble. “We had stiff competition,” Marks says. “We celebrated the night of the ceremony through an enthusiastic group text – definitely a sign of the times.”

Other winners included Sam Ness for male vocalist and his cover of the song “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” Ness was profiled in August by Madison Magazine writer Doug Moe.

Angela Puerta, who agreed to a Q&A in the April issue of the magazine, won world performer and world song.

Funk fusion band Wurk won for best jazz song (“Cathedral”) and jazz album for (“Animation”). Wurk won the MAMA Breakthrough Artist Competition in 2018.

“We are honored to accept these awards – even to be in the company of the finalists was humbling,” Wurk guitarist and band leader Frank Laufenberg says. “We’d like to thank people for supporting us and encourage them to keep supporting local music. It is appreciated and needed during these times.”

The new artist award went to Kat and the Hurricane, a folk rock and synth pop three piece.

Veteran Madison band Sunspot, featured in the September issue of the magazine, won the hard rock/punk performer category.

Sunspot bassist, guitarist and lead singer Mike Huberty says he’s grateful for the MAMAs and its mission – to support local musicians and music education.

“Our guitarist Ben [Jaeger] is the band director at Madison Memorial. Wendy [Staats, drummer] and I both are children of high school teachers. We know how important it is to get instruments into kids’ hands,” Huberty says.

Rick Tvedt, treasurer and cofounder of MAMA, says in August the MAMA Cares Musician Relief Fund distributed more than $58,000 to musicians adversely affected by COVID-19.

Tvedt says the virtual ceremony for the MAMA Awards, which also raises money for the organization, suffered from some technical issues. Nevertheless, he says, “it was one of our best shows, remarkably.”

The show included red carpet interviews of nominees, pre-taped musical performances and live hosts. A rebroadcast of the uninterrupted event is likely at some point, Tvedt says.

A complete list of  the 2020 MAMA award winners can be found here.

Joel Patenaude is associate editor of Madison Magazine.