Sampha, Yussef Dayes and Daniel Pemberton top Ivor Novello award nominations

Neo-soul singer Sampha, jazz drummer Yussef Dayes and composer Daniel Pemberton have topped the nominations for the 2024 Ivor Novello awards, which recognise the best in British and Irish songwriting and composition for the screen.

Sampha and Dayes are individually nominated for best album, while they share a joint nomination for co-writing Sampha’s track Spirit 2.0, which is up for best song musically and lyrically.

In a review of Sampha’s nominated album Lahai, Guardian critic Alexis Petridis described Spirit 2.0 as “a perfect summation of the album’s qualities – the tune luxurious, but set to a backing that slowly builds from a nagging guitar figure and an icy synth tone into jazzy drum’n’bass”. The south London-born artist has been courted as a collaborator by a range of US A-listers including Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West and Solange, while releasing solo material – his debut album Process won the Mercury prize in 2017.

Dayes, one of the central players in the vibrant London jazz scene of recent years, continues his recent flush of success following the release of his album Black Classical Music. He gave a well-received headline show at Royal Albert Hall and became a rare jazz nominee at the Brit awards, recognised in the rock/alternative category this year. Black Classical Music is predominantly instrumental rather than song-based, but the awards also recognise composition, and according to organisers the album category “celebrates consistent and inventive creativity, as well as exceptional songwriting”.

Pemberton is nominated in two composing categories: best original film score for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, and best television soundtrack for the third season of Slow Horses, the latter shared with producer-composer duo Toydrum, AKA Pablo Clements and James Griffith.

Pemberton has previously been Oscar-nominated in 2021 for his song with Celeste, Hear My Voice, included in The Trial of the Chicago Seven, and has four Golden Globe nominations for scores for films such as Steve Jobs and Motherless Brooklyn. He recently scored the Michael Mann film Ferrari.

Lankum, whose album False Lankum was named the best of 2023 by Guardian critics, join Sampha and Dayes in the album category alongside Irish singer-songwriter CMAT, and Raye, who swept the board at this year’s Brit awards, winning a record-breaking six awards in one night.

Victoria Canal, nominated for best song musically and lyrically. Photograph: Karina Barberis

Also nominated for best song musically and lyrically are Blur for The Narcissist – their second ever nomination, after a win in 1996 at the peak of Britpop when they shared the best songwriter award with arch rival Noel Gallagher. The Japanese House (for Sunshine Baby), Victoria Canal (for Black Swan) and Tom Odell (for Black Friday) round out the category.

Canal was the winner of the rising star award last year – this year’s nominees in that category are Blair Davie, Chrissi, Elmiene, Master Peace and Nino SLG.

Up for best contemporary song is another of this year’s Brit winners, London funk-pop band Jungle for their slow-burn streaming hit Back on 74, and another mainstay in London’s jazz scene, Speakers Corner Quartet for Geronimo Blues featuring Kae Tempest. The US singer Mette (for Mama’s Eyes) and South African singer Tyla (for global Afro-pop hit Water) are also recognised thanks to their British songwriting teams.

Arguably stretching the category’s celebration of “originality in songwriting” to its limit, Brian Eno and Fred Again are nominated for Enough, a track whose lyrics are made up of three sampled lines from Don’t You Dare by singer-songwriter Winnie Raeder.

Nominees for most performed work, acknowledging commercial success, are Harry Styles (As It Was, also last year’s winner), PinkPantheress and Ice Spice (Boy’s a Liar), Jazzy (Giving Me), Central Cee & Dave (Sprinter) and Kenya Grace (Strangers). The songs’ various co-writers are also nominated, though Grace wrote, produced and performed her hit alone, becoming only the second woman in history after Kate Bush to top the UK chart with a totally self-made track.

Kenya Grace performing at Coachella festival earlier this month. Photograph: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Coachella

Film, TV and video game soundtrack composers are also recognised, for work across the likes of Poor Things, The Crown and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III.

The awards take place on Thursday 23 May at the Grosvenor in London.

Ivor Novello nominations 2024

Best album
Yussef Dayes: Black Classical Music, written by Yussef Dayes, Rocco Palladino and Charlie Stacey
CMAT: Crazymad, for Me, written by CMAT
Lankum: False Lankum, written by Daragh and Ian Lynch, Cormac MacDiarmada and Radie Peat
Sampha: Lahai, written by Sampha
Raye: My 21st Century Blues, written by Raye and Mike Sabath

Best contemporary song
Jungle: Back on 74, written by Lydia Kitto, J Lloyd and Tom McFarland
Fred Again & Brian Eno: Enough, written by Brian Eno, Fred Gibson, Buddy Ross and Winnie Raeder
Speakers Corner Quartet: Geronimo Blues (ft Kae Tempest), written by Kwake Bass, Peter Bennie, Biscuit, Raven Bush and Kae Tempest
Mette: Mama’s Eyes, written by Todd Dulaney, Ines Dunn, Barney Lister and Mette
Tyla: Water, written by Imani “Mocha” Lewis, Corey Lindsay-Keay, Jackson Lomastro, Ari PenSmith, Rayo, Sammy Soso and Olmo Zucca

Best song musically and lyrically
Tom Odell: Black Friday, written by Laurie Blundell, Max Clilverd and Tom Odell
Victoria Canal: Black Swan, written by Victoria Canal, Jonny Lattimer and Eg White
Sampha: Spirit 2.0, written by Yussef Dayes and Sampha
The Japanese House: Sunshine Baby, written by Amber Bain
Blur: The Narcissist, written by Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon, Alex James and Dave Rowntree

Most performed work
Harry Styles: As It Was, written by Kid Harpoon, Tyler Johnson and Harry Styles
PinkPantheress & Ice Spice: Boy’s a Liar Pt 2, written by Ice Spice, Mura Masa and PinkPantheress
Jazzy: Giving Me, written by Conor Bissett, Robert Griffiths and Jazzy
Central Cee & Dave: Sprinter, written by Central Cee, Dave, Jo Caleb and Jonny Leslie
Kenya Grace: Strangers, written by Kenya Grace

Rising star award
Blair Davie
Master Peace
Nino SLG

Best original film score
Poor Things, by Jerskin Fendrix
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, by Daniel Pemberton
Typist Artist Pirate King, by Carly Paradis

Best original video game score
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III, by Walter Mair
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, by Stephen Barton and Gordy Haab
Tin Hearts, by Matthew Chastney

Best television soundtrack
Boat Story, by Dominik Scherrer
Slow Horses (season three), by Daniel Pemberton and Toydrum
The Crown: The Final Season, by Martin Phipps
The Following Events Are Based On a Pack Of Lies, by Arthur Sharpe
Three Little Birds, by Benjamin Kwasi Burrell


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