The 2018 Grulke Prize Winners

SXSW is pleased to announce the winners for this year’s Grulke Prize.

The award, now in its sixth year, was developed in honor of our friend and colleague Creative Director Brent Grulke, who passed away on August 13, 2012.

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 Prizes are 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 a new project.

Last year’s winners were The Lemon Twigs, Jain, and Robyn Hitchcock.

The Grulke Prize winner for Developing U.S. Act is Starcrawler. Hailing from Los Angeles, Starcrawler formed two years ago when lead vocalist Arrow de Wilde first met drummer Austin Smith. Shortly thereafter, guitarist Henri Cash and bassist Tim Franco joined the band. The group is known for their squalling riffs, thundering beats and incendiary performances, fronted by de Wilde’s otherworldly magnetism. The band captivated audiences throughout their performances at this year's music festival.

The Grulke Prize winner for Developing Non-U.S. Act is Jade Bird. Already a recipient of the Reeperbahn Festival Anchor Award, this London-based songwriter took SXSW by storm, charming all who saw her with her clear voice and fetching songs. When she was barely a teenager, Jade learned to play guitar and started writing her own lyrics, eventually settling into an intense song-a-day pace. Some were good, others better left forgotten, but the process sharpened her chops and shaped her approach to songwriting. Her debut EP, Something American, is out now.

The Grulke Prize winner for Career Act is Todd Rundgren. A wizard, a true star — the title of Todd Rundgren's 1973 solo album aptly sums up the contributions of this multi-faceted artist to state-of-the-art music. As a songwriter, video pioneer, producer, recording artist, computer software developer, conceptualist, and — most recently — interactive artist (re-designated TR-i), Rundgren has made a lasting impact on both the form and content of popular music. His myriad production projects include albums by Patti Smith, Cheap Trick, Psychedelic Furs, Meatloaf, XTC, Grand Funk Railroad, and Hall and Oates.

Jurors for the Grulke Prize include music critics, industry professionals, and SXSW staff, many of whom knew and worked with Brent over the years.

Starcrawler – photo by Merrick Ales. Jade Bird – photo by Chris Saucedo/Getty Images. Todd Rundgren – photo courtesy of the artist.

By Lillian Park