The Asbury Music Awards, presented each year by The Saint and Asbury Music Company, originally known as The Golden T-Bird Awards, premiered in Asbury Park in 1993. An annual music scene staple, the first Asbury Music Awards was held at the former T-Birds Cafe on Main Street in Asbury Park, NJ. Scott Stamper, of The Saint in Asbury Park, founded, and originally designed the Asbury Music Awards in 1993 along with Peter Mantas, formerly of The Saint, now the Entertainment Director at Langosta Lounge + Asbury Park Yacht Club, as a response to the area's hardworking musicians, singers and songwriters, artists, and the longstanding, ever-evolving Live Original Music scene in Asbury Park and at the Jersey Shore.
The Asbury Music Awards was created to recognize local New Jersey original acts. It has evolved over the years and continues to grow to be an awards program that represents original music throughout the state of New Jersey. Inspired by a desire to give something back to the musicians and music community who make up the Jersey Shore's diverse music culture, Stamper began presenting the awards to the talented musicians, singers and songwriters who had presented live original music and paid their dues in the various music rooms in the area. Asbury Park music venues present day are many and include The Saint, The Stone Pony, The Wonder Bar, Asbury Lanes, Langosta Lounge, McLoone's Supper Club, and many more, and outside of Asbury Park, The Brighton Bar in Long Branch, The Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, and The Court Tavern in New Brunswick, to name only a few.
The 1993-1994 Asbury Music Awards took place at T-Birds Cafe. The show was originally held at the legendary music venue in Asbury Park, The Saint, however, due to rapid growth, the show was moved to a larger venue. At this time, the show was renamed the Asbury Music Awards (1995).
For two years, The Saint hosted the celebration for local artists, singers and songwriters, but the show quickly developed and outgrew the venue. To accommodate the burgeoning crowds, the Asbury Music Awards moved to The Fastlane in 1997, The Stone Pony in 1998, and The Tradewinds in Sea Bright in 1999. This Tradewinds was a banner show, drawing over 800 attendees. The Stone Pony hosted the Asbury Music Awards in 2000 and 2001, The Tradewinds in 2002, and since 2003, The Stone Pony has been the host of the Asbury Music Awards. In addition to the recognition the Asbury Music Awards provides to local musicians, singers and songwriters, the shows have also proven a great opportunity for music fans, promoters, artists, media, local venues and the music community on a whole to experience the incredibly diverse talent in a wide variety of musical genres in one very special and intimate evening of music and celebration.
Over the years, the Asbury Music Awards stage has been graced by New Jersey luminaries Nicole Atkins, Kid With Man Head, Outcry, Samhill, Evelyn Forever, Barry and The Penetrators, What About Frank, April Smith, The Soul Project, Woodfish, A Love Like Pi, Stringbean & The Stalkers, Brown, Last Days of Empire, Green Tag Sale, Chris Batten and The Woods, Amanda Duncan, Turtle Soup, Last Perfect Thing, Rick Barry, Status Green, Outside The Box, Karmic Juggernaut, Low Flying Jets, Lance Larson, Twine, Keith Kenny, Phil Benson, Matt O'Ree Band, Parlor Mob, Eryn Shewell, Allie Moss, Ready Make Breakup, Maybe Pete, Bob Burger, Christine Martucci, Tony Tedesco, Days Awake, Sekond Skyn, Chemtrail, River City Extension, Alex Brumel and Janel Elizabeth, Cara Salimando, Jo Wymer & The Itty Bitty Band, Quincy Mumford & the Reason Why, Domino Effect, The Black Clouds, Laura Warshauer, Accidental Seabirds, and Wreaths, to name just a few.
So much goes on behind the scenes in planning and preparation for the Asbury Music Awards. The nominees and performers are selected by a panel of industry veterans which include promoters, sound technicians, radio personalities, music writers, music fans, and club owners. Artists that have graduated to a major label or those who have won or been nominated for a particular category for five consecutive years at the Asbury Music Awards are eligible for “Record of The Year” and “Best Thing To Happen in Asbury Park”, and may appear onstage presenting or performing during the ceremonies, however, they have graduated from being nominated from most if not all other categories, making room for up and coming artists, musicians, singers and songwriters.
After the carefully chosen Asbury Music Awards panel convenes and chooses all performers and nominees, the names of the nominees for each category are compiled in ballot format and distributed to a select group of music industry insiders, devoted music fans and local music scenesters. The voting process is not open to the general public, but much effort is put into selecting voters. This method has proven most equitable, as it precludes "ballot stuffing" than can skew results in certain categories.
Area clubs, music-related businesses, record stores, radio stations, newspapers and time tested music enthusiasts are ALL represented in the final voting. Ballots are painstakingly counted, votes are tallied, and the winners are revealed for the first time at the Asbury Music Awards ceremony. A variety of local music alumni, past award recipients, sponsors, and industry professionals are invited by the panel to present awards each year. The Asbury Music Awards have been going grooving for 24 years, celebrating local musicians, singers-songwriters and the creative community at the Jersey Shore, in support of live original music and the arts.
Each year, the Asbury Music Awards shines a light on Asbury Park and the Jersey Shore's brightest stars, recognizing as many genres, sounds and artistic expressions that we can possibly represent, in one celebratory night. From live original music, the arts and pop culture, to behind the scenes heroes, all are represented. Our creative community is strong and one-of-a-kind, no one is left out, or excluded.
Yearly, new categories are on the table, and up for consideration. We follow a few simple guidelines, for a variety of reasons. Many times, categories are formed, but delayed. sometimes depending upon whether or not there's enough candidates to warrant forming a new category. If there are not enough candidates to form a new category, the AMAs recognize artists achievements in an existing category, such as Journalism. If there is not one specific category for the genre or artistic expression, etc.. we find alternative and creative ways in which to champion and recognize the creative mind at the Asbury Music Awards.