MTV’s Woodie Awards delivered a rousing, live party from SXSW, doubling as a preview of this year’s chart-topping artists and delivering a taste of summer music festival vibes.
At the Woodies, established artists and fans are encouraged to “cosign” new talent, using their resources to support these musicians in any way possible. Big-name performers like Kanye West, Steve Aoki, and Drake have cosigned artists by helping them get signed to record labels, or using their massive following to promote new names.
Jidenna performs onstage at MTV Woodies LIVE at SXSW. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/MTV1617/Getty Images for MTV)
For fans, cosigning can be as simple as sharing new artists’ tracks on Soundcloud, or attending their shows. Ultimately, cosigning is really about showing support for likeminded artists, regardless of industry connections.
The Woodies embraces this collective connection between fans, newcomers, and superstars.
Legendary rapper Rick Ross performed at MTV’s first-ever Woodies in 2004. This year, he hosted the show. Ross opened up 2017’s festivities by hyping up the crowd with a personal anecdote about the importance of supporting new artists.
“It’s all about the come up,” said Ross. “It’s all about the cosign…I got a cosign from one of the greatest ever by the name of Jay-Z.”
Watch Ross open the festivities:
MTV let fans cosign their favorite acts with a multiplatform voting experience. Fans told MTV who they’d cosign with a tweet, and the network shared their messages on MTV’s social media channels:
We wanna hear which #woodies artist you think will make it big in 2017! Tweet @MTV with one of the artist hashtags above + to vote. btw, you’ll also get a chance to win a free music subscription. check out reeses.mtv.com for more.
A post shared by MTV (@mtv) on
Lil Yachty won as the most-cosigned artist of 2017, and fans got something in return—the chance to win a free music subscription:
@MTV @gofooji Got it! Tried for days! #NeverGiveUp #Blessings #WoodiesCosignMUNA pic.twitter.com/Kbvh2UFQGS
— Taffy Sweetie (@taffy_sweetie) March 15, 2017
It was a fans-first experience, and represented the spirit of the Woodies—collaboration, engagement, and good music.
Didn’t get to see the Woodies live in Austin? Here are some highlights from the event.
Producer and singer Jidenna crowd surfed after a passionate performance of his hit Helicopters.
Watch the moment below:
Lil Yachty and D.R.A.M. sparked up the stage with their medley of hits including Cash Machine, 1 Night, and Broccoli.
According to Complex, their “energetic and fake money-laced performance…was the show-stealing moment of the night.
See for yourself:
Pop singer Bibi Bourelly’s performed her hit Ballin. The song is about Bourelley’s experience of getting fired from Old Navy. It’s an anthem for any young artist struggling to balance their ambition and income.
Woodie of the Year: The Chainsmokers
Cover Woodie: Ed Sheeran (for his cover of Little Mix‘s Touch)
Click through to watch Ed Sheeran’s acceptance speech from the 2017 Woodies.
Woodie to Watch: Khalid
Khalid—not to be confused with DJ Khalid—is a 19-year-old R&B singer from Texas. In his acceptance speech, he thanked his mother and his fans for “being the reason” he performs.
Songwriter of the Year: PartyNextDoor
.@partynextdoor wrote @rihanna‘s “Work” so no surprise he won songwriter of the year at the #Woodies https://t.co/4BCMfILIQV pic.twitter.com/HMtREYZWMF
— Genius (@Genius) March 18, 2017
The night ended with a flood of pink confetti, and presumably many viewers updating their Spotify playlists to include these emerging artists.
Watch the full show on MTV.com.