The PLAY – Portuguese Music Awards – which currently include 14 categories – were officially created in 2019 with the aim of valuing, celebrating, and promoting the greatest hits of national music, contributing to the recognition of talent and the careers of Portuguese and Portuguese-speaking artists.

The PLAY Awards are promoted by Audiogest and GDA, entities that represent, on the one hand, record labels (multinational, national, and independent) and also artists, and, on the other hand, performers and performers. To ensure transparency and impartiality, the entire process (nominations and choice of winners) is decided by external auditor PwC.

Out of 50 nominated artists, 14 artists were selected as winners and the gala was also marked by greatly anticipated performances by well-known artists, however, what stole the show was the Alentejo cante performances that took place, which were classified as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2014.

Credits: Supplied Image; Author: Fotos Prémios PLAY;

PLAY Winners Announced

Slow J was the artist of the night, winning Best Male Artist, voted by the Academy (a feat he had already achieved in 2020) as well as the Critics’ Award, awarded by the press for his album “Afro Fado”. Hip-hop continued to achieve two more awards at the ceremony, with LEO2745 being chosen for Best New Artist and T-Rex for Best Album with "COR D'ÁGUA".

Bárbara Bandeira won Best Female Artist following winning Vodafone Song of the Year in 2022. André Caniço along with Pedro Mafama, the Best Music Video, for “Estrada”. Additionally, the Light and Popular Music Award was awarded to the group Sons do Minho for “Restart” and “Tá Ok” by Dennis, e Kevin O Chris was awarded the Lusophony Award.

In terms of albums, fado singer Ricardo Ribeiro saw his "Terra que Vale o Céu" recognized as Best Fado Album; "LAMENTOS" earned pianist António Pinho Vargas the Best Classical/Classical Music Album and the work "Chromosome", by drummer Mário Costa, was crowned as Best Jazz Album.

Credits: Supplied Image; Author: Fotos Prémios PLAY;

For the second consecutive year, Calema was awarded the Best Group Award, and their name was also associated, albeit indirectly, with another first place. "Maria Joana" by Nuno Ribeiro, Calema, and Mariza was chosen by the public as the Vodafone Song of the Year in this edition. Most interestingly, this is the only category decided on by the public via social media. There was an incredible 39, 709 votes cast, which is an increase of 50% compared to 2023.

Credits: Supplied Image; Author: Fotos Prémios PLAY;

The Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded to maestro Victorino D'Almeida by the Mayor of Lisbon, Carlos Moedas, for his more than 70 years dedicated to the composition and promotion of classical music.

Credits: Supplied Image; Author: Fotos Prémios PLAY;

“A Form of National Self-esteem”

It was a pleasure to speak with the director of PLAY, Paulo Carvalho, who In 2017, presented the concept PLAY – Portuguese Music Awards to the directors of Audiogest and GDA, who were immediately interested in it.

Paulo told The Portugal News, “This event was really missing in Portugal, almost everywhere in the world, countries have these prizes for artists such as the Grammy’s and the Brit Awards and I felt it was needed. This is a vital way of promoting your country's music and it is almost a form of national self-esteem.”

When asked how the event went, Paulo shared “It went really well. PLAY has had an upward trajectory, especially on social media, but we have also had notable growth in TV audiences which is interesting because there is a tendency for TV audiences to be lower. This result makes us very happy because it is the solification of our brand and also of the publics interest in Portuguese music because we are talking about a live TV show that runs for three hours. This connects with the fact that there has been a remarkable growth in sales of Portuguese music in the last year, we believe that PLAY has had a small influence on this.”

Credits: Supplied Image; Author: Fotos Prémios PLAY;

Paulo went on to explain that he believes this growth is down to new generations listening to a lot of Portuguese music. “There are many artists, fortunately, emerging in Portugal every day, with proposals that have in fact been accepted by of the younger generations, also those who nowadays are more within the digital platforms of music consumption. I believe that it will be even more visible when older generations also join digital platforms.”

Connection to Music

When asked about his connection to music, Paulo shared “I have been connected to the world of shows from a young age, I was still at university and I already worked part-time at a booking agency.”

Following this, between 1995 and 2001 Paulo became a show producer at the Centro Cultural de Belém, where he worked directly with artists such as Mikhail Baryshnikov and Tony Bennet, among many others.

In 2001 he joined Oficina da Illusion as an agency director, where he remained until 2012. During this period, he managed the agency team of artists such as Ana Moura, Carlos do Carmo, David Fonseca, João Pedro Pais, Pedro Abrunhosa, and Da Weasel.

In 2012 he founded Novagência, where he managed artists such as GNR, Carlos do Carmo, Paulo Praça, Tape Junk, Minta & the Brook Trout, Norton, Primitive Reason, Mick Harvey, and John Parish, among many others.

“It has been a very positive year because of the growth PLAY has achieved, which makes me very proud. I also run a small festival that brings together music and wine, in Évora every year, in July, called EA LIVE Évora, which is very popular with the expat community that takes place in the Adega Cartuxa.”


Following undertaking her university degree in English with American Literature in the UK, Cristina da Costa Brookes moved back to Portugal to pursue a career in Journalism, where she has worked at The Portugal News for 3 years. Cristina’s passion lies with Arts & Culture as well as sharing all important community-related news.

Cristina da Costa Brookes