Though the BRIT Awards are long gone, faded away in a cloud of Damon Albarn's whiskey breath and the general confusion caused by Jack Whitehall being actually quite funny, the UK music industry's award season isn't quite over. Today, the nominations for the 2018 Ivor Novello awards, which honour excellence in songwriting, were announced, and there are a number of young musicians getting their dues, which is always something we enjoy yelling about on Noisey.
Dave and Stomzy are two of the biggest new names nominated. Dave's up for Best Contemporary Song for "Question Time," his smart, scorching track examining life and politics in the UK right now, alongside his co-writer Fraser T Smith (a writer and producer who has worked with Dave, as well as Kano, Adele, Tinchy Stryder, and more, so now you know). Stormzy is also nominated in that category – for "Don't Cry for Me," with his co-writers Varren Wade and Wizzy Wow (Wade's other songwriting credits include Lalah Hathaway and Wretch 32, while Wizzy Wow has worked with artists like Tinie Tempah, Estelle, and BBK), as well as the prestigious Album Award for Gang Signs & Prayer.
Recognition like this – for the very craft of songwriting itself – has largely eluded genres like grime and UK rap, despite the meticulous work that goes into crafting wordplay and beats. So, following Skepta's Ivor Novello wins last year, it's good to see both Dave and Stormzy nominated, though certainly, this sort of acknowledgement for the UK's most popular musicians has been a long time coming (and could do with involving some women, too.) Elsewhere, there are nominations for Mercury winner Sampha and Everything Everything, who both get nods in the Best Song Musically and Lyrically category, and – of course – Ed Sheeran and Rag 'n' Bone Man.
Those two dominate the Most Performed Work category, because obviously. Sheeran is basically up against himself in the category and nominated twice. First with co-writer Benny Blanco for "Castle on a Hill," obviously, and for "Shape of You," with his co-writers, pop giant Steve Mac, and Snow Patrol member and songwriter Johnny McDaid, also obviously. Both of these songs remain inescapable, to the point where the instrumental to "Shape of You" is on an M&S advert. So their inclusion in this category, which seems to be about volume, makes sense. Meanwhile Rag 'n' Bone Man is nominated for "Human," with his co-writer Jamie Hartman (a songwriter who has written for Christina Aguilera, no less). Can't have everything, I suppose.
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