Garbage legend Shirley Manson to receive Icon Award at VO5 NME Awards 2018

Bow down.

Garbage frontwoman Shirley Manson has been announced to receive this year’s Icon Award at the VO5 NME Awards 2018.

The ever-outspoken singer, actor and activist will be there in person to collect the coveted award at London’s O2 Academy Brixton on February 14, where she’ll be honoured for her consistently inspirational contribution to music and beyond.

“I am quite shocked but delighted to be recognised by NME with this award,” said Manson. “I read it religiously as a young teen and well into adulthood, back when it was still a broadsheet, learning so much between its pages about music and the trailblazing artists who filled its pages.


“I will always be grateful for their support in being one of the first British publications to help break Garbage back in 1995 and I still use the website as an excellent resource for discovering new talent. So yeah…. I’m pretty chuffed about it.”

Garbage's Shirley Manson
Garbage’s Shirley Manson

NME Editor-in-chief Mike Williams added: “Shirley Manson first appeared on the cover of NME way back in March 1996. Back then, her attitude, voice and general badassness made Garbage one of the most visceral and important bands of the era – and she’s as outspoken and inspirational to this day.

“Garbage gave us some of the defining singles of the 90s, and Shirley set a template for being a fearless straight-talker that has influenced countless acts and millions of fans since. It’s our delight to officially honour her as an NME Icon.”

Garbage's Shirley Manson
Garbage’s Shirley Manson

Alongside her life in music, activism remains an integral focus in Shirley’s career. From teaming up with animal rights organisation PETA to create a series of campaigns against the use of fur in fashion, working with MAC makeup to create a line for Viva Glam in honour of international AIDS research funding, and working with various LGBTQ charities, Shirley is an iconoclast and a maverick who has used her fame to help others. She’s also worked with children’s cancer charity PABLOVE and GIRLS ROCK – an international initiative that encourages girls from all socio-economic  backgrounds to get involved in making and playing music.


Last year, Forbes named her activist of the year.

The VO5 NME Awards 2018 take place at the O2 Academy Brixton on February 14. The evening will also feature performances from Alt-J, Stefflon Don and Skepta, Pale Waves, and our Godlike Genius Award winner Liam Gallagher.

Meanwhile, Garbage are currently working on new material ahead of celebrating the 20th anniversary of ‘Version 2.0’ next year.

“I’ve always been defiant and that’s not going to change,” Manson told NME about what’s inspiring her at the moment. “That’s never changed, even if you look at our old songs. I was quite surprised to find all the jewels that we did that were so relevant now – like ‘Boys Wanna Fight’, ‘Sex Is Not The Enemy’, ‘Bleed Like Me’. All these songs really are appropriate to the climate that we find ourselves in.

“I see a lot of people change their spots out there. One minute they’re pop, the next they’re full of protest and sass and vinegar, the next minute they’re singing really sad love songs…I don’t know. The people now they just jump on whatever bandwagon is in vogue, that’s just not my style. It’s not who I am.”

She added: “I am who I am, for better or for worse. And I am, and always will be, defiant.”

Garbage live

The band’s upcoming ‘Version 2.0’ UK dates are below. Tickets are available here.

14 September – O2 Academy, Brixton, London
15 September – O2 Academy, Brixton, Londo