The SXSW Grulke Prize award, now in its ninth year, was developed in honor of our friend and colleague Creative Director Brent Grulke, who passed away on August 13, 2012.
Brent’s love of music and the spirit of the festival is reflected in the three prize categories: Developing U.S. Act, Developing Non-U.S. Act and Career Act.
The Developing Act Prizes are for artists who are breaking new ground with their creativity and show the most promise in achieving their career goals. The Career Act Prize is for an established artist who appeared at SXSW to reinvent themselves or launch a new project.
Past winners include Leon Bridges, Haim, Chvrches, Courtney Barnett, Haim, Chvrches, Jade Bird, Anderson .Paak, Jain, Dolly Parton, Iggy Pop, Damon Albarn, Spoon, The Chills, and The Flaming Lips.
2023 Grulke Prize Winners
Developing U.S. Act – Blondshell
In the past few years, Sabrina Teitelbaum has transformed into a songwriter without fear. The loud-quiet excavations that comprise her hook-filled self-titled debut as Blondshell don’t only stare traumas in the eye—they tear them at the root and shake them, bringing precise detail to colossal feelings. They’re clear-eyed statements of and about digging your way towards confidence, self-possession, and relief.
Developing Non-U.S. Act – Balming Tiger
Balming Tiger from Seoul, South Korea is a diverse music collective taking their name from the famous Asian ointment “Tiger Balm”. Balming Tiger describes themselves as a “multinational alternative K-pop band” with a desire to create an impact globally. The main creative vision of Balming Tiger is to reflect and represent the younger generation of today’s society, while aiming to further popularize Asian culture throughout the world.
Career Act – The Zombies
Iconic British psychedelic pop legends The Zombies are back to celebrate their long-awaited Induction into The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, with a new album in the works and their “Life Is A Merry-Go-Round” Tour. Never content to only look back, The Zombies spent the pandemic touring-hiatus in the studio recording the follow-up to their 2015 Billboard-charting album, Still Got That Hunger. The Robert Schwartzman directed documentary about the band, Hung Up On a Dream, had its World Premiere at SXSW 2023.
Jurors for the Grulke Prize include music critics, industry professionals, and SXSW staff, many of whom knew and worked with Brent over the years.
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Photo credits: Blondshell photo by Amanda Stronza, Balming Tiger photo by Diego Donamaria/Getty Images for SXSW, The Zombies photo by Stephen Olker/Getty Images for SXSW