Best New Artist / Band

RILEY SMITH
  • Riley Smith

Gold Winner Aquakultre

Silver Winner The Drug Rugs

Bronze Winner Pretty Normal

Lance Sampson AKA Aquakultre has been rapping since he was a teenager—“I used to be a hardcore street rapper,” he says—and started writing songs, including “Sure” and “Safe,” in prison, where he was given a guitar. The name comes from his profession—he’s a plumber—and culture, with a twist. Sampson says his recent shows being backed by The Big Budi Band was “what really started getting a good buzz. They bring a serious element to live music. I was just busting out a USB and a computer. Once I started playing with a band it added a whole other element.” As for the future, he’s focusing on his plumbing career, picking up shows as offered: “I just let it come how it comes.”

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