MPG Awards 2016: Youth, Ashcroft & Waterman

“So we finally made it to Park Lane, then,” beamed Tony Platt, leading member of Britain's Music Producers Guild, before addressing the packed out Ballroom at Park Lane's Grosvenor House last night. This was the eighth annual MPG Awards, where the best of the best and the up and coming of the music production industry gather to applaud the work of their peers and, frankly, drink a hell of a lot of wine (or was that just our table?) It was also the second MPG Awards where Headliner has been the official Media Partner, and we couldn't be prouder.

Where to begin? Well, we 'began' in the Red Bar (very aptly named considering our choice of tipple) adjacent to the Ballroom for a few looseners, and then it was time for the main event: a great little champagne drinks reception, followed by a fabulous awards dinner – the best yet, in our opinion.

The vibe of the event was terrific – buzzing throughout, and cram-packed full of producers and engineers, not to mention some very special guest presenters: guitar hero, Jimmy Page; mega-producer, Pete Waterman; Hot Chip; and Sunset Sons, to name a few.

FKA Twigs, perhaps the edgiest solo artist around right now, deservedly picked up two big awards: UK Album of the Year, and UK Single of the Year; and super-talented young producer, Charlie Andrew, clinched the top award of the night: UK Producer of the Year, as well as the first BRIT Award of 2016, such is the relationship between the BRITs and the MPGs. Very cool, all round.

And then there was the finale. Wow. Martin Glover (AKA Youth) was awarded the coveted Outstanding Contribution to UK Music award, and after giving a very heartfelt and genuine acceptance speech, we were treated first to a personal VT from Youth's bandmate, Sir Paul McCartney (the two formed The Fireman some 20 years back), and then a spine tingling live performance fronted by the iconic former-Verve frontman and genius songwriter, Richard Ashcroft.

With Youth on bass, Paul Cook (former Sex Pistols drummer) keeping the beat, and a collection of players and backing vocalists, it really was something to remember. Ashcroft looked like he'd never been away, and the set included a stunning rendition of Bitter Sweet Symphony, the song which Youth himself convinced Ashcroft not to ditch when recording Urban Hymns, and the poignant and beautiful Drugs Don't Work – extra special for Youth, we suspect, considering Ashcroft sang the ballad at Youth's manager, Jazz Summers' funeral last year.

Big congratulations to all the winners (see the full list below), and a huge pat on the back to the MPG and its hard-working team for putting on such a wonderful night. And finally, a personal thank you to Youth and Richard for inspiring me to revisit my early 20s: I downloaded Urban Hymns again this morning for less than half what I paid for it in 1997... How this industry has changed! But then again, how it hasn't: timeless, beautiful records still exist, and clearly live forever; and the evident bond that Ashcroft has with Youth just goes to show how important the relationship between artist and producer truly is, which in turn goes to show just how big a deal the MPG is.

The Winners:

UK Producer of the Year, sponsored by The BRITS 2016:
Charlie Andrew

Outstanding Contribution to UK Music, sponsored by PPL:
Youth (Martin Glover)

Recording Engineer of the Year, sponsored by AMS Neve:
Olga Fitzroy

Mix Engineer of the Year, sponsored by Solid State Logic:
David Wrench

Mastering Engineer of the Year, sponsored by SADiE and Transco Blanx:
John Davis

UK Album of the Year, sponsored by G-tech and Jigsaw24:
FKA Twigs – LP1

UK Single Song Release of the Year, sponsored by Shure:
FKA Twigs – Pendulum

Re-mixer of the Year, sponsored by Prism Sound:

Breakthrough Producer of the Year, sponsored by Focusrite:
Catherine Marks

Breakthrough Engineer of the Year, sponsored by Musicguard Insurance:
Brett Cox

International Producer of the Year, sponsored by Pro Tools Expert:
Max Martin

Studio of the Year, sponsored by Avid:
Air Studios

The A&R Award:
Chris Briggs

The MPG Award for Innovation sponsored by Audio Note:
Geoff Emerick

The MPG Award for Inspiration sponsored by Universal Audio:

Sylvia Massy

Special Recognition Award:
Fran Nevrkla