The Grulke Prize

The Grulke Prize®, awarded in three categories, was developed in honor of our friend and colleague Creative Director Brent Grulke, who passed away on August 13, 2012.

2019 Artist, Pink Sweat$ - Photo by Hubert Vestil/Getty Images for SXSW

2019 Artist, Pink Sweat$ - Photo by Hubert Vestil/Getty Images for SXSW

About The Grulke Prize


Brent Grulke had a lengthy career in many areas of the music industry, working as music editor at the Austin Chronicle, sound engineer and tour manager for many Austin bands, and production and sound engineer for clubs in San Francisco. He later moved to Los Angeles to become the manager at Spindletop Records, which eventually led him back to Austin where he became the longtime Creative Director of the SXSW Music Festival.

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 Prize is 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 an important new project.


Developing U.S. Act: Pink Sweat$

The Grulke Prize winner for Developing U.S. Act is Pink Sweat$. Based in Philadelphia, the artist/songwriter/producer’ music is rooted in R&B and Soul, stripping back the typical genre-specific production to showcase melodic intricacy and lyrical prowess. He began making music at the age of 19 as a demo vocalist. Soon after he found himself working at the legendary Sigma Sounds Studios, where he began his career as a songwriter and began to develop his career in music. He has worked with a wide range of today’s popular artists, but is now ready to take center-stage himself.

Developing Non-U.S. Act: Angie McMahon

The Grulke Prize winner for Developing Non-U.S. Act is Angie McMahon. Having recently completed her first Australian headline tour, McMahon is releasing her debut album in 2019, drawing inspiration from artists like Bruce Springsteen, Lianne La Havas and Big Thief. She writes and performs across the full dynamic spectrum, shifting between gravelly intimacy and pounding rock, and her performances at SXSW bounced between whisper-quiet tones and cathartic rock roars. Early singles feature honest songwriting and romantic melodies, with songs that ruminate on life, love, and pasta.

Career Act: The Chills

The Grulke Prize winner for Career Act is The Chills. Hailing from Dunedin, New Zealand and fronted by the rare talent of Martin Phillipps, the band originally formed in 1980. Featuring various people over the years, Phillipps is the only remaining original member. Always a cult favorite internationally, The Chills led the charts in their native New Zealand with rock singles “Pink Frost” and “Wet Blanket”. The Chills are currently performing in support of their 2018 album Snow Bound and SXSW World Premiere Documentary Feature The Chills: The Triumph & Tragedy of Martin Phillipps.


Developing U.S. Act: Starcrawler
Developing Non-U.S. Act: Jade Bird
Career Act: Todd Rundgren


Developing U.S. Act: The Lemon Twigs
Developing Non-U.S. Act: Jain
Career Act: Robyn Hitchcock


Developing U.S. Act: Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals
Developing Non-U.S. Act: Låpsley
Career Act: Iggy Pop


Developing U.S. Act: Leon Bridges Developing Non-U.S. Act: Courtney Barnett Career Act: Spoon


Developing U.S. Act: Future Islands Developing Non-U.S. Act: The Strypes Career Act: Damon Albarn


Developing U.S. Act: Haim Developing Non-U.S. Act: CHVRCHES Career Act: The Flaming Lips

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