Harry Styles, Lianne La Havas, Dave and Fraser T Smith are the big winners at this year’s Ivor Novello awards, which celebrate Britain’s best songwriters and composers.
In their third Ivor Novello win in four years, Dave and Fraser T Smith were awarded best contemporary song for Children of the Internet. The song is performed by Future Utopia – Veteran producer Smith’s new project – and features Dave and Es Devlin. The track explores the impact of social media and hyper-connectivity, particularly on younger generations.
Smith, who has built a reputation as UK hip-hop’s go-to producer – also working with the likes of Kano, Ghetts and Stormzy – appeared on the Brit Awards stage last year alongside Dave for a performance of Black.
Styles picked up his first Ivor for Adore You, the second single from his Grammy-nominated and UK double platinum-selling album Fine Line. The track, written with Amy Allen, Tyler Johnson and Kid Harpoon, peaked at no 7 and spent a total of 40 weeks in the official singles chart. It triumphed in the PRS for music most performed work category. The award is drawn from performance data collated by royalties organisation PRS for Music.
Lianne La Havas’ self-titled third album won in the best album category. Written with Matthew Hales, the concept album depicts the stages of a relationship from early romance to its end. It is the pair’s first Ivor, having both been first nominated in 2013 for Lianne La Havas’ debut, Is Your Love Big Enough? An Observer review gave the album four stars, calling it “purposeful, tender and bold”.
The award for best song musically and lyrically went to Obongjayar and Barney Lister for God’s Own Children, from the EP Which Way is Forward?, which Obongjayar has described as “a project about love, family, self-empowerment and self-belief”.
Celeste and Jamie Hartman received the Ivor for songwriter of the year for a body of work in 2020 that included Stop this Flame, I Can See the Change, and A Little Love for the John Lewis Christmas advert. The rising star award with Apple Music went to 20-year-old Bristol-born artist Willow Kayne, whose work spans hip-hop, punk and electronica. All rising star award nominees receive a year-long mentorship from an Ivors Academy member and leaders from Apple music. Nile Rodgers, who will be mentoring Kayne, called her a “genuine star in the making”.
Meanwhile, composer Blanck Mass won best original film score for the Bafta-nominated Irish crime drama Calm with Horses; Geoff Barrow, Ben Salisbury and The Insects won best television soundtrack for sci-fi thriller Devs; and Gareth Coker won best original video game score for Ori and the Will of the Wisps.
Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora collected the special international award with Apple Music for a 30-year musical partnership, Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith won outstanding song collection, and Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory were recognised with the Ivors inspiration award for their work as the duo Goldfrapp.
Mark-Anthony Turnage, whose work has been performed at the BBC Proms, Sadler’s Wells, the Royal Ballet and the Royal Opera, won the classical music award.
The Ivors Academy announced the winners on Tuesday. All but two of the categories (PRS for music most performed work and songwriter of the year) was judged by individual panels of songwriters and composers.
This year, 70% of the 26 songwriters and composers recognised with an Ivor picked up an award for the first time. Others nominated who missed out on gongs included AJ Tracey, Laura Marling and Mahalia. Screen nominations recognised original music from Noughts + Crosses, a Suitable Boy and The Trial of the Chicago 7.
Shaznay Lewis, Ivor award winner and chair of the Ivors awards committee, said each winner “brings joy to so many and creates the soundtrack to our lives. As well as being astounded by their achievements, I would like to thank every winner and nominee for creating the most wonderful and era-defining music.”