The mtvU Woodie Awards are set to be bigger and better than ever this year: The annual awards show will once again take place in Austin, Texas, at South by Southwest, where the first-ever Woodies Festival will be launched.
The current lineup of performers includes Santigold, Childish Gambino, A$AP Rocky and EDM artist Steve Aoki, who is also nominated for Woodie awards alongside Mac Miller and Machine Gun Kelly. All three artists had plenty to say about their nominations during a Woodies conference call on Thursday.
"I'm just so focused on that award and I'm trying to speak it into existence," MGK said. "I've been mixing my debut album, and I've got a DMX collaboration and so many others, but there were people we fought to make sure we finally got them. We spoke it into existence and we really believed in it. It was the same thing with the Breakthrough award. No one expected us to win, we were the super-underdogs, so I'm just trying to speak [this award] into existence. And if I win it, my speech is going to be hilarious."
In addition to performing, Aoki is also nominated for the EDM Effect Woodie award, a new category that recognizes artists who are pushing boundaries in the electronic music arena. "The scene in America is really vibrant — a lot of the international artists are most excited to play out here," Aoki said of EDM's growth in the States.
"Sometimes their biggest markets are out here. America is really juicy with electronic music right now.
"I'm on this 60-day bus tour across the U.S. There's no way I could've done this three or four years ago," Aoki added. "We're definitely at a really impactful time for our music scene, and I think this is just the start."
Pittsburgh rapper Miller made a splash this year with both his debut album, Blue Slide Park, and his subsequent tours, thanks to an adept social media following. He's been nominated for both Woodie of the Year and Performing Woodie. "It's crazy, it makes me feel like there's no way I'm going to win," Mac said of receiving nods in categories that include veterans like Jay-Z. "But it's just great to be nominated with people that I grew up being some of my favorite artists. It makes me feel like I'm in the big leagues."
The Woodies invade SXSW on March 15 with the Woodies Festival. The best of the 2012 mtvU Woodies will air on MTV and mtvU on March 18 at 8 p.m. ET.