The Newlin Music Prize is an award given to the best full-length album from the Richmond-Petersburg, VA metropolitan area based solely on artistic merit without regard to style or popularity.

Named after musical prodigy, VCU professor, and performer Dika Newlin (1923-2006), the prize annually awards $1,000 in the hope of fostering future recordings and performances.

The Newlin Music Prize is modeled after similar music awards, such as the Polaris Music Prize and Mercury Prize. The ultimate aim of this organization and prize is to raise awareness of the diverse music scene in the Richmond, VA area and to encourage more great musical works to come out of the area.

Executive Director
Doug Nunnally

Board of Directors
Andrew Cothern
Davy Jones
Maya Walters
Rian Moses-Hedrick

Shortlist Committee

Andrew Cothern
Anthony Gillison
Brice Maddox
Davy Jones
Doug Nunnally
Dylan Lawson
Joel Worford
Kenneka Cook
Marilyn Drew Necci
Maya Walters
Rian Moses-Hedrick
Sarah Moore Lindsay

Jury Members
Aaron Brown (Musician)
Abby Huston (Musician)
Ace Stallings (Musician)
Akim Mansaray (Musician)
Alexa Taveras (Musician)
Alicen Hackney (Journalist)
Andee Arches (WRIR)
Andrew Blackwell (Musician)
Andrew Bonieskie (RVA Magazine)
Andrew Cothern (RVA Playlist)
Anthony Gillison (Musician)
Armando Muñoz (Musician)
Avery Fogarty (Musician)
Benét Nutall (Musician)
Bobby Egger (Vinyl Conflict)
Bradley Stabler (WRIR)
Brendan Hall (Musician)
Bri Bevan (Woman Crush Wednesday)
Brice Maddox (WRIR)
Caitlin Parker (Restless RVA)
Calvin Brown (Musician)
Chey Brumfield (Musician)
Chloe Pallak (River City Sounds)
Chris McDonald (Restless RVA)
Clara Endres (Journalist)
Cole Curry (River City Sounds)
Cole Hicks (Musician)
Dave Parrish (Photographer)
David Young (Musician)
Davy Jones (You Hear That, Style Weekly)
Diamond Chanell (Musician)
Doug Nunnally (The Auricular)
Dylan Lawson (Musician)
Elaine Digges (Miss Elaine Neous)
Elijah Hedrick (HearRVA)
Gabriel Santamaria (RVA Magazine)
Gregory Johnson (Musician)
Herbie Abernethy (Promoter)
Hilary Langford (Style Weekly)
Hip Hop Henry (Journalist)
Jackie Bishop Wells (Fallout)
Jam Montgomery (Musician)
Jasmine Blooms (The Writer’s Den)
Jason Crawford (Musician)
Jay Smack (StudioB, WRIR)
Jennifer Catalano (HearRVA)
Jennifer Kennedy (Artist)
Jewell Booker (Musician)
Joel Worford (Musician / Author)
Kaay Taurus (Musician)
Kate Potter (RICtoday)
Kenneka Cook (Musician)
Kieran Cleary (Journalist)
Kimberly Frost (Photographer)
Kizzi Henderson (Musician)
Laura Crowley (Journalist)
Lauren Serpa (Photographer)
Lucille Elliott (Riot Ghoul)
Maggie Graff (Ignited)
Marc Cheatham (The Cheats Movement)
Marilyn Drew Necci (RVA Must See Shows)
Mark Obsorne (Promoter)
Matt Klimas (Musician)
Maya Walters (WRIR)
Mike Rutz (WRIR)
Miranda Jaroneski (Photographer)
Noah Page (WRIR)
Payton Baril (Hind Gallery)
Randy Wilson (The Randy Wilson Podcast)
Reese Williams (In Your Ear / Shockoe Sessions)
Rian Moses-Hedrick (HearRVA)
Rivanna Youngpool (Promoter)
Robin Schwartzkopf (RICtoday)
Roscoe Burnems (The Writer’s Den)
Sap Evans (WRIR)
Sarah Moore Lindsay (Musician)
Shannon Cleary (WRIR, Commonwealth Of Notions)
Shelly Thiss (Musician)
Tarell Validum (Musician)
Tess Fisher (Musician)
Tiara Mustafa (Musician)
Tom Breihan (Stereogum)
Veronica Llano (Musician)
Vy Truong (Journalist)
Will Mullany (WRIR)


Can I submit an album for consideration?

No. All recordings that meet the following qualifications are automatically eligible for the Newlin Music Prize:

    • From a musician or group in the Richmond-Petersburg metropolitan area
    • Exceeds 25 minutes in length or contains at least five songs
    • Released in the past calendar year (Re-issues & Deluxe versions excluded)

How is the short list determined?

Each member of the jury can nominate up to 40 albums that match the above qualifications. From those nominations, a twelve person committee decides the shortlist with attention given to a plurality of nominations and stylistic representation.

How is the winner determined from the short list?

The jurors listen to each album on the short list and cast individual ballots that rank the 10 best albums from the 20 under consideration. There is also a public fan vote that will count towards one ballot in the final total. Fans can vote on their 10 favorites from the list and the 10 albums with the highest votes will make up the official fan ballot.

Who comprises the jury?

The jury comprises of over 80 members of the Richmond music & arts scene, including musicians, journalists, radio hosts, artists, photographers, and activists, that cover local music in a variety of ways. 50% of the members on the jury identify as female, 42% identify as male, and 8% identify as non-binary. 56% of the members of the jury identify as white and 44% come from minority races (BIPOC). A full list of jury members is available on this page.

How can I join the jury?

We are always looking for qualified jurors that bring a unique perspective to the nominating and voting process. If you are interested, please e-mail us at contact AT newlinmusicprize.com and send us all relevant information so that you may be considered for the following year’s prize.

Who is Dika Newlin?

Great question. Please visit this link to learn more about this composer, punk rocker, professor, Elvis impersonator, pianist, cabaret singer, and musical prodigy.

I have a different question that hasn’t been answered here. How do I reach you?

You can e-mail contact AT newlinmusicprize.com and you should receive a response in 48-72 hours. Please be clear in your question or request.