Arts / ‘Hip hop harpist’ Anise shortlisted for Scottish music prize

Anise Pearson (Queen of Harps).

A MUSICIAN mixing rap, spoken word and harp who grew up in Shetland has been selected from more than 500 entrants to be shortlisted for a prestigious national BBC prize.

Anise Pearson, who is now living in Edinburgh and goes by the name of Queen of Harps, is one of eight acts shortlisted for BBC Introducing’s Scottish Act of the Year prize.

People can vote online for their favourite act until 11pm tonight (21 March).

The winner will receive two recording sessions with BBC Radio Scotland, a spot at Scotland’s largest festival TRANSMT, a bespoke PR campaign and the chance to play at Radio 1’s Big Weekend event.

The judges for the competition, which promotes up and coming artists, are Gemma Bradley (Radio 1), Arielle Free (Radio 1), KT Tunstall, Sam McTrusty (Twin Atlantic) and Jack Cochrane (The Snuts).

Speaking to Shetland News, Pearson – daughter of the late Heidi Pearson – said she was taken aback by being shortlisted.


“It just feels surreal,” she said. “I’ve worked really hard to get where I am, and I was just having fun with it. I never really took my music all that seriously – and now I think it’s all kind of a bit serious!

“I’ve written to try and get through life struggles, and it’s amazing to realise that people actually resonate with what I’m putting out. It’s an out of this world feeling.”

She added that it was a “miracle” she has reached this stage after previously being in an “extremely low place” and feeling lost.

“If you had asked me five years ago, would I have been played on BBC radio and doing shows, traveling with my music, I would’ve laughed,” Pearson said.

The musician moved away to the Scottish mainland when she was around five, but said she hopes she can “do Shetland proud”.

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It comes after Shetland pianist Amy Laurenson won BBC Radio Scotland’s Young Traditional Musician 2023 prize.

Meanwhile Pearson is playing a number of Scottish festivals this year, including a slot at the Tall Ships event in Lerwick.

“I’ve never played in Shetland before, so it’s going to be exciting,” she said.

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