A TECHNO producer has been shortlisted alongside legend Gruff Rhys for the Welsh Music Prize.

Kelly Lee Owens, from Rhuddlan, is among 12 artists named on the final list following her second album Inner Song.

The annual award celebrates the best new music created in Wales and has previously been won by the likes of Gruff Rhys, Gwenno, Boy Azooga and last year’s winner Deyah.

Owens was whittled down from a longlist of 129 albums by the 100 plus judging panel. Other albums on the shortlist include the solo album Seeking New Gods by Super Furry Animals’ Rhys, Strange Lights Over Garth Mountain by Gwenifer Raymond, El Goodo’s final album Zombie.

In Inner Song, the 33-year-old, who moved to Manchester aged 19 and worked as an auxiliary nurse before turning to music, dives deep into her own psyche to break down the struggles she’s faced over the last few years. She explores the personal pain while embracing the beautify of the natural world with a confident, rich sound.

Next month a panel of music industry judges will then have the difficult task of choosing whether it should be chosen for the coveted prize.

Radio presenter Huw Stephens said: “Every year we are blown away by the outstanding music talent in Wales. The wide variety of talent we have in the shortlist is great to see; it's a really strong shortlist of albums.

“It’s been a tough year for the music industry with events being cancelled and postponed, so there’s never been a better time to support Welsh artists. Our judges will decide on a winning album, but I hope people listen to all the nominees; the quality is exceptionally high.”

The 2021 winner will follow in a long succession of artists and albums which have gone on to national and international success. Last year’s winning album, Care City by Deyah was a powerful self-produced album chosen for its fusion of laid-back beats, lyrical flow and occasional song from the Cardiff raised MC who tackles subjects such as addiction, isolation and healing.

The Welsh Music Prize event will return to Cardiff following an online-only ceremony last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Peter Leathem, Chief Executive Officer at PPL, said: “This shortlist is a celebration of the diversity of Welsh music. Afro-funk, blues, rap, folk, Latin, techno and psychedelia are among the many genres represented here in a fantastic selection of Welsh albums from the last year.

“Congratulations to all those shortlisted. It is clear Wales continues to be a rich source of musical talent.”