As if it wasn’t already confirmed by now, grime music is most certainly in the mainstream, with the genre’s poster boy Skepta winning the prestigious Ivor Novello Award for songwriter of the year.
The 34 year old star also picked up another of the evening’s most prestigious prizes, for best contemporary song with his track ‘Man’. It follows Skepta’s much-publicised win at last September’s Mercury Prize, and his nomination for a BRIT Award for his fourth album Konnichiwa.
Skepta, real name Joseph Junior Adenuga, and his crew of artists known as Boy Better Know, have spearheaded grim over the last couple of years as it has forced its way into mainstream consciousness.
Skepta performing at Coachella 2017
Accepting both of his awards with a sense of visible shock, considering that the Ivor Novellos has traditionally been the bastion of white artists such as Adele and James Bay in recent years, the MC took to the stage and expressed his love for songwriting.
He said that he had “really fallen in love with songwriting. It’s helped me out through my life and I understand that in any time in my life I understand that the reason I’m so easy with bad times now is that I’m like ‘Oh, another song’s coming’. Songwriting has really allowed me to enjoy life and look at it from an objective place.”
“So many people are writing music around the world for different things and different reasons,” Skepta told the audience at the ceremony in London on Thursday night (May 18th). “Songs like ‘One Love’ by Bob Marley – they stand the test of time, it doesn’t matter, so anytime I write music I try to write in tune with an emotion and I hope there are more times like that for everyone.”
It was a good night for black artists in general, as Michael Kiwanuka picked up the best song musically and lyrically award for ‘Black Man In a White World’, while Laura Mvula triumphed in the best album category for second LP The Dreaming Room, despite recently having been dropped by her record label Sony.
Coldplay picked up their third Ivor Novello for most performed work for ‘Hymn For the Weekend’, Florence Welch of Florence + The Machine received the international achievement award, while British-Indian producer Nitin Sawhney, a pioneer of world music fusion in the 1990s, received the lifetime achievement award.