716 Music Awards founder speaks on last year’s ceremony, plans for 2023

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — July 16, 2022 marked the first annual ‘716 Music Awards,’ founded by Abby Baez to celebrate local music. Now at the midway point between last year’s and this year’s awards, News 4 spoke with Baez to discuss the success of last year’s ceremony and the preparations for this year.

Baez spoke about her decision to create the ceremony, alongside her partners, Demeca Evens and Ra Maat.

“I felt like I had to create some excitement in the music industry in Buffalo. Everybody works, but nobody gets acknowledged for their work,” Baez said. “If I bring more excitement, it’ll make people work even harder and give us their everything when it comes to music.”

The event was held at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. Baez said the awards went well, with over 400 tickets sold.

Baez said the event featured mostly hip-hop artists, but as the show grows each year, she hopes to make the event more inclusive of other genres like rock, jazz, and R&B.

“When you do big things like this, everybody wants to be a part,” she said. “We had some Latin last year, but we want to expand it and have more musicians come out.”

She said in addition to having more artists come out, she hopes the second annual ceremony will bring a larger crowd as well.

Baez said it was important to her to create an awards ceremony like this for local artists, because, in addition to celebrating local music and creating excitement around the local scene, it created a space for people to network.

“Buffalo is very talented,” she said. “The main point was to create excitement, but also a platform where people could network with each other — people trading great music, who are excited about the craft.”

She said the event resulted in collaboration between a few of the artists.

In addition to honoring the artists in today’s scene, the ceremony also paid homage to pioneers of hip-hop in the area, like Griselda Records, the Black Soprano Family, and the late DJ Shay and DJ DC Lyve.

“We honored them for paving the way for this new generation of music in the City of Buffalo,” Baez said.

Because July 16 falls on a Sunday this year, Baez said the event will be hosted on July 15 instead.

“I hope everyone is just as excited for this year,” she said. “We want it to be bigger and better.

According to Baez, tickets for the 2023 awards will go on sale in May.

List of winners from 2022

  • Album of the Year: Rick Hyde, Plates II
  • Best Feature: Rick Hyde
  • Dance Song of the Year: Blupaper Nas, Casamigo
  • DJ of the Year: DJ Brasi
  • Female Artist of the Year: Ché Noir
  • Latin Artist of the Year: Aiden
  • Lyricist of the Year: Ché Noir
  • Male Artist of the Year: Jrey Cash
  • Music Group of the Year: Outwest Records
  • New Artist of the Year: Mona Visa
  • Performance of the Year: Dom Brown, 2021 Summer Jam
  • Podcast of the Year: Kids Are Sleeping
  • Producer of the Year: Tyrie Hames
  • Track of the Year: Rick Hyde, Hustler’s Prayer
  • Videographer of the Year: Kris Cold
  • Video of the Year: Balistic Man (feat. Benny the Butcher & The Shark), Worked Hard for This

Adam Duke is a digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of his work here.

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