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 over $7,000 in the hope of fostering future recordings and performances.

The Newlin Music Prize is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit designated as a public charity 509(a)(2). The organization 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.

Previous winners of the Newlin Music Prize include Deau Eyes in 2023 for the album Legacies and McKinley Dixon in 2022 for the album For My Mama And Anyone Who Look Like Her.

Doug Nunnally

Board of Directors
Andrew Cothern
Doug Nunnally
Maggie Graff
Miranda Jean
Rian Moses-Hedrick

2024 Shortlist Committee

Andrew Cothern
Brice Maddox
Doug Nunnally
Dylan Lawson
Maggie Graff
Marilyn Drew Necci
Miranda Jean
Penny Page
Sam Atkinson
Sterling Giles

2024 Jury Members
Aaron Brown (Musician)
Abby Huston (Musician)
Ace Stallings (Musician)
Akim Mansaray (Musician)
Alexa Taveras (Musician)
Alicen Hackney (Journalist)
Allen Macuno (Musician)
Andee Arches (WRIR)
Andrew Cothern (RVA Playlist)
Annie Parnell (VPM)
Ashley Travis (Photographer)
Beshaun Judkins (Musician)
Bobby Egger (Vinyl Conflict)
Bri Bevan (Woman Crush Wednesday)
Brice Maddox (WRIR)
Caadria Carrington (Musician)
Caitlin Parker (Restless RVA)
Calvin Brown (Musician)
Cara Pressley (Marketing)
Chey Brumfield (Musician)
Chloe Pallak (River City Sounds)
Chris McDonald (Restless RVA)
Chyna McCoy (Musician)
CJ Payne (Photographer / Journalist)
Clara Endres (Journalist)
Cole Curry (River City Sounds)
Connor Loftis (Musician)
Cora Martin (Musician)
Dash Lewis (Musician / Journalist)
Dave Parrish (Photographer)
David Young (Musician)
Davy Jones (You Hear That, Style Weekly)
Destiny Whiters (Musician)
Diamond Chanell (Musician)
Doug Nunnally (The Auricular)
Dylan Lawson (Musician)
Elaine Digges (Miss Elaine Neous)
Errol Bateman (Musician)
Eugene Henry (Journalist)
Eva Wilson (Musician)
Gary Lluong (Musician)
Hilary Langford (Style Weekly)
Ivy Taylor (Musician)
Jack Wolfe (Musician)
Jackie Bishop Wells (Fallout)
Jam Montgomery (Musician)
Jason Crawford (Musician)
Jay Smack (StudioB, WRIR)
Jennifer Catalano (HearRVA)
Jennifer Kennedy (Artist)
Jewell Booker (Musician)
Joel Worford (Musician)
Kaay Taurus (Musician)
Kaiana Lee (Journalist)
Kate Potter (RICtoday)
Katherine Nguyen (Musician)
Kenneka Cook (Musician)
Kieran Cleary (Journalist)
Kimberly Frost (Photographer)
Laura Crowley (Journalist)
Lauren Serpa (Photographer)
Lucille Elliott (Riot Ghoul)
Madi Thompson (Show Promoter)
Maggie Graff (Ignited)
Marc Cheatham (The Cheats Movement)
Marilyn Drew Necci (RVA Magazine)
Mara Smith (Musician)
Mark Obsorne (Show Promoter)
Mars Obsidian (Musician)
Mason Rowley (WVCW / Ink Magazine)
Matt Klimas (Musician)
Maya Jackson (Artist)
Maya Walters (WRIR)
Melody Sanders (Musician)
Mike Rutz (WRIR)
Miranda Jean (Photographer / Richmond Chronicle)
Naida Smyth (Musician)
Nick Oukolov (Photographer)
Owen Martin (Musician)
Payton Baril (Hind Gallery)
Penny Page (WRIR)
Prabir Mehta (Musician)
Randy Wilson (The Randy Wilson Podcast)
Rajeanna Caldwell (Musician)
Rivanna Youngpool (Show Promoter)
Roary McAdams (Music Is 4 Nerdz)
Robin Schwartzkopf (RICtoday)
Roscoe Burnems (The Writer’s Den)
Sam Atkinson (Musician)
Sarah Moore Lindsay (Musician)
Shannon Cleary (WRIR, Commonwealth Of Notions)
Shavaughn Jackson (The Green Room)
Shelby Guest (Plan 9 Music)
Shelly Thiss (Musician)
Sravani Kameswari (Musician)
Sterling Giles (RVA Magazine)
Timothy Bailey (Musician)
Timothy Maverick (Musician)
Tykera Monae (Musician)
Vy Truong (Journalist)
Yani Garrett (Musician)


Can I submit an album for consideration?

There is no formal submission process. 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, & live albums 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 ten 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 100 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. 54% of the members on the jury identify as female, 35% identify as male, and 11% identify as non-binary. 53% of the members of the jury identify as white and 47% 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.