Adele, Ed Sheeran and Inflo, a musician billed as “the most influential and mysterious producer on the planet”, have dominated the Ivor Novello award nominations in a year in which drill artists were also recognised by the most prestigious songwriting awards in the UK.
Dean Wynton Josiah Cover, AKA Inflo, leads the award nominations, which celebrate Britain’s best songwriters and composers, with four, while Ed Sheeran – who has just won a plagiarism battle over his song Shape of You – has three nods and Adele is in the running for two awards, including songwriter of the year.
Adele will compete for the songwriting award with Coldplay, Raye, Dave and Ed Sheeran, who also has two songs – Bad Habits and Shivers – nominated in the PRS for music most performed work category.
Inflo has credits on three of the five albums nominated in the best album category, with work on Cleo Sol’s Mother, Sault’s Nine and Little Simz’s Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, while Nottingham duo Sleaford Mods’ LP Spare Ribs and Laura Mvula’s 80s pop-inflected Pink Noise round out the category.
Mvula said she was delighted to receive the nomination for the album she worked on during lockdown after being dropped by her label, despite producing two Mercury prize-nominated albums. “Sometimes it was hard to imagine getting to the finish line, so to know that it has made some impact in such strange times is really exciting for me,” she added.
The songwriter said the lineup for this year’s Novellos, which is one of the most diverse ever, was important, especially for young Britons who will see people like themselves represented. She said: “They need to know that they can do whatever they want to do, especially when it comes to creativity and the arts. I’m genuinely thrilled to feel empowered and celebrated, and to be a symbol of something that is needed and positive in this ever-changing climate.”
The hip-hop genre drill was also recognised with Russ Millions and Tion Wayne’s number-one single Body nominated in the best contemporary song category, alongside FKA Twigs’ Don’t Judge Me, a collaboration with rapper Headie One and Fred Again. James Blake’s track Coming Back, featuring SZA, PinkPantheress’s Just For Me and Little Simz’s I Love You, I Hate You all secured nods.
Elsewhere, Jonny Greenwood’s soundtrack for Pablo Larraín’s Diana, Princess of Wales biopic, Spencer, is up against scores for After Love, Censor, The World To Come and Edgar Wright’s time-travelling psychological thriller Last Night In Soho.
Inflo’s domination of the Ivor Novello nominations continues his meteoric rise. He has already won a Novello for Little Simz’s Grey Area and worked on Michael Kiwanuka’s Mercury-prize-winning album Kiwanuka, before teaming up with Simz again on her award-winning album Sometimes I Might Be Introvert and contributing to Adele’s 30.
He is a member of the press-shy Sault project, which has melded hip-hop, soul, spoken word and R&B over the course of five releases, and at this year’s Brits he became the first black Briton to win producer of the year, following in the footsteps of Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel and Calvin Harris.