Jamie Cullum, Joan Armatrading and Little Simz were among the artists honored at the 2020 Ivor Novello Awards.
Postponed from May and then canceled as a ceremony due to the pandemic, the 2020 Ivor Novellos were finally revealed Wednesday in an announcement made by Matt Wilkinson on Apple Music 1 Radio.
The awards, selected by juries of the winners’ peers, celebrate British songwriting and scoring for film and television. Among the top winners for 2020 was the rapper Little Simz who triumphed in the best album category for “Grey Area,” a recording that also had her nominated for the Mercury Prize last year.
She shares the award with the album’s producer, Inflo. Simz told The Guardian: “This award is really special, because it’s about the power of the pen, and to know that my pen is being respected and acknowledged is a good feeling.”
Jamie Cullum won the Ivor Novello in a category dubbed “best song musically and lyrically” for “The Age of Anxiety.” The singer has said the song was inspired by texts he got from the late Amy Winehouse, whom he befriended while she was touring as his opening act, although the song title derives from the poet WH Auden and the song references contemporary topics like Brexit and social media.
Best contemporary song went to Dave for “Black,” a song about the historic and current struggles of Black people that the judges described as “important, eloquent and a song that not only empowers but is borderless in its musicality.” He and his producer, Fraser T Smith, won the same award two years ago.
Calvin Harris and Rag ’n’ Bone Man won “most performed work” for the song “Giant.” Songwriter of the year went to Steve Mac, who has written for and with artists including Ed Sheeran and Pink. The singer Mysie picking up the rising star award.
The Academy Fellowship, aka the Ivors’ lifetime achievement award, went to Joan Armatrading. Although the “Ivors” are now in their 65th year, this marked only the 19th time they’ve given out this particular honor. Previous recipients include Paul McCartney and Elton John.
Another previous winner, Annie Lennox, who was honored in 2015, said: “Joan Armatrading was born to create beautiful music, as she has done so consistently over the decades of her life, as an outstanding singer-songwriter, recording artist and performer. With her definitive voice and unique guitar playing style, her songs are masterful classics. She is a legendary British artist who thoroughly deserves to be recognized and honored with an Ivors Academy Fellowship. I’m thrilled to know that she will soon be part of this incredible association.”