Annual Game Music Awards 2017 – Artists of the Year


We are pleased to present the winners in the ‘Artists of the Year’ category of the Annual Game Music Awards 2017. These panel-voted, officially-recognised awards provide a thorough and wide-reaching recognition of achievement in game music over the last year. The panelists have selected their choices by carefully considering the merit of the game music created this year — as art and entertainment, as part of in-game experiences and as part of stand-alone albums. Congratulations to all winners, runners-up, and nominees.

Outstanding Artist — Eastern Composer

Keiichi Okabe

Keiichi Okabe’s contributions, both to Nier: Automata and Final Fantasy XV Episode Gladiolus showcased his prowess with vocals in music and helped define both soundtracks. –Don Kotowski




Yasunori Mitsuda

Other Nominations

Kohei Tanaka
Shoji Meguro
Yugo Kanno


Outstanding Artist — Western Composer

Joris de Man

Every section of Horizon Zero Dawn’s sprawling soundtrack was invaluable in building the game’s musical identity. However, Joris de Man’s warm melodies and rich orchestration brought the soundtrack to a whole new level. -Emily McMillan


Grant Kirkhope

Other Nominations

Borislav Slavov
Jessica Curry
Patrice Borgeault

Outstanding Artist — Independent Composer

David García Díaz

For Rime, Spanish composer David García Díaz wrote an ambitious score that conveys much of the game’s emotional texture. In addition to writing all of Rime’s music, Díaz had a hand in its presentation, using visual scripting to create an adaptive soundtrack that responds to player movement. As a testament to his skill, Díaz’s Rime compositions earned him a job at Ninja Theory, where he scored the critically-acclaimed Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. -Michael Hughes


Alec Holowka

Other Nominations

Ari Pulkkinen
Darren Korb
Stoj Snak

Outstanding Artist — Newcomer

Kristofer Maddigan

Kristofer Maddigan tackled his first game score with such a high level of skill, dedication, and ingenuity that he received immediate acclaim upon Cuphead’s release. The 30s-inspired jazz score not only featured superb compositions and performances, but brought a whole new genre of music to the game soundtrack table. -Emily McMillan


Jeff Russo

Other Nominations

Mariam Absounnasr
Tee Lopes

Outstanding Artist — Soloist

 J’Nique Nicole

J’Nique Nicole’s voice complemented the NieR universe wonderfully and brought both beauty and power to each of her contributions, whether solo or alongside Emi Evans, Nakagawa Nami, and Marina Kawano. -Don Kotowski


Julie Elven

Other Nominations

Kate Higgens
Nakagawa Nami
Sebastien Surel

Outstanding Contribution — Ensemble


Ireland’s ANÚNA brought a haunting and ethereal atmosphere to Xenoblade Chronicles 2, reminiscent of Mitsuda’s work on Xenogears. It’s no wonder they’ll be featured on the upcoming remastered soundtrack to that very game. -Don Kotowski


Kanagawa Philharmonic Orchestra

Other Nominations

Hungarian Studio Orchestra
Nashville Scoring Orchestra


Posted on February 7, 2018 by Emily McMillan. Last modified on February 7, 2018.

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About the Author

A native and lifelong Texan, I currently work in software education while contributing news, reviews, and interviews to VGMO on the side. I love the feeling that comes with the discovery of a brand new soundtrack, and always look forward to the next rekindling of that excitement. Outside of VGMO, I enjoy playing piano, listening to classical music and film scores, and trying to go unnoticed in any stealth RPG I can find.

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