Deau Eyes Wins 2023 Newlin Music Prize for Best Album from Richmond, Virginia

RICHMOND, VA (Mar. 20, 2023) – Deau Eyes has won the 2023 Newlin Music Prize for the album Legacies.

The Newlin Music Prize is awarded to the best full-length album from the Richmond-Petersburg metropolitan area in the previous year based solely on artistic merit without regard to style or popularity. By winning, Deau Eyes receives a $1,000 monetary reward.

Released on June 10, 2022, Legacies is an impassioned record that searches for the balance between living in the moment and planning for the future. Songs convey this pursuit through sublime lyrics penned by Deau Eyes (real name Ali Thibodeau) that are enhanced by vibrant arrangements produced by Scott Lane, DJ Harrison, and Thibodeau herself at multiple local studios. By winning, Thibodeau receives a $1,000 monetary reward.

“It’s an honor to be recognized along with so many artists I admire,” said Thibodeau. “This album is dedicated to the relentless dreamer inside all of us. I hope it gives you the courage to keep putting yourself out there.”

Deau Eyes has been a fixture of Richmond’s music scene for several years, performing regularly at local venues and collaborating with other musicians and producers. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, her debut album Let It Leave was released in 2020 which introduced her vibrant brand of alt pop-rock wonder. Legacies expanded that musical style, leading to acclaim from local publications like Style Weekly and Richmond Times-Dispatch and national outlets such as Under The Radar and FLOOD Magazine. In January, Deau Eyes was named as one of the 2023 artists to watch in 2023 by NPR Music.

This is the second year for the Newlin Music Prize, named after musical prodigy, VCU professor, and performer Dika Newlin (1923-2006). A jury of more than 80 musicians, journalists, artists, photographers, and activists nominated close to 200 local albums released in the past year for this award. From there, a 12 member committee reviewed the nominations and landed on 20 albums officially under consideration for the prize. Ballots were cast by each member starting on February 13 and ending on March 17.

The 2023 Newlin Music Prize Short List was:

“The excitement for the second year of this year award was humbling,” said Newlin Music Prize executive director Doug Nunnally. “Fan engagement nearly doubled in all metrics as the local community came together to celebrate 20 exceptional pieces of art that represent the depth of Richmond’s music scene. We hope to continue this growth in the years to come so we can continue to recognize Richmond excellence while also inspiring the future.”

The Newlin Music Prize plans to announce a short list and award a winner in the first quarter of each subsequent year, as well as partner with local organizations and charities to continue to spread awareness for local music in the Richmond-Petersburg metropolitan area.