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.
SXSW 2022 GRULKE PRIZE WINNERS
Developing U.S. Act: Horsegirl
Chicago trio Horsegirl consists of Nora Cheng, Penelope Lowenstein, and Gigi Reece. The group is signed to Matador. The group formed in 2019 and self-released their first song, “Forecast.” Their first EP, Horsegirl: Ballroom Dance Scene et cetera, was named one of the best EPs of 2020 by Paste magazine. In late 2021, the group released the song “Billy”, their first on Matador.
Developing Non-U.S. Act: Yard Act
Yard Act formed in Leeds in September 2019. Settling into a system of programming, looping and layering, the alchemy between the two created a base from which to build their complex and ever expanding narrative world. Now expanded to a four-piece, their debut album The Overload was released in January 2022.
Career Act: Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton is the most honored and revered female country singer-songwriter of all time. Achieving 25 RIAA-certified gold, platinum, and multi-platinum awards, she has had 26 songs reach #1 on the Billboard country charts, a record for a female artist. Parton recently became the first country artist honored as Grammy MusiCares Person of the Year given out by NARAS. She has 44 career Top 10 country albums, a record for any artist, and 110 career-charted singles over the past 50+ years.
Horsegirl photo by Raegan Labat, Yard Act photo by Renee Dominguez, Dolly Parton photo by Michael Loccisano / Getty Images for SXSW
SXSW 2019 GRULKE PRIZE WINNERS
Developing U.S. Act: Pink Sweat$
Developing Non-U.S. Act: Angie McMahon
Career Act: The Chills
SXSW 2018 GRULKE PRIZE WINNERS
Developing U.S. Act: Starcrawler
Developing Non-U.S. Act: Jade Bird
Career Act: Todd Rundgren
SXSW 2017 GRULKE PRIZE WINNERS
Developing U.S. Act: The Lemon Twigs
Developing Non-U.S. Act: Jain
Career Act: Robyn Hitchcock
SXSW 2016 GRULKE PRIZE WINNERS
Developing U.S. Act: Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals
Developing Non-U.S. Act: Låpsley
Career Act: Iggy Pop
SXSW 2015 GRULKE PRIZE WINNERS
Developing U.S. Act: Leon Bridges
Developing Non-U.S. Act: Courtney Barnett
Career Act: Spoon
SXSW 2014 GRULKE PRIZE WINNERS
Developing U.S. Act: Future Islands
Developing Non-U.S. Act: The Strypes
Career Act: Damon Albarn
SXSW 2013 GRULKE PRIZE WINNERS
Developing U.S. Act: Haim
Developing Non-U.S. Act: CHVRCHES
Career Act: The Flaming Lips