Some of the biggest British stars of the last year are in the running for 2015’s Ivor Novello Awards. Sam Smith’s ‘Stay With Me’, George Ezra’s ‘Budapest’ and Clean Bandit’s ‘Rather Be’ are all nominated for the most played song of the past year.

The annual awards, which are now in their 60th year, are exclusively voted for by songwriters, making it a rare example of musicians being recognised by their peers instead of by the public. ‘The Ivors’ is a comparatively short and exclusive list of categories, with only three nominations in each.

Sam SmithSam Smith's 'Stay With Me' is up for Most Performed Work at the 2015 Ivor Novellos

You may not immediately recognise his name, but a fellow called James Napier has bagged the most nominations, having co-written the huge hit singles ‘Rather Be’ and ‘Stay With Me’. Both tracks were included in the Most Performed Work category, while the former is also nominated in the Best Contemporary Song category.

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Speaking to the BBC about his nominations, Napier, also known as ‘Jimmy Napes’, said it was “a tremendous honour”. ‘Rather Be’ was the second biggest selling single of 2014 in Britain (behind Pharrell’s ‘Happy’), and ‘Stay With Me’ was the seventh.

The Clean Bandit song is also up against ‘Two Weeks’ by the critically-acclaimed FKA twigs and ‘Every Other Freckle’ by former Mercury Music Prize winners Alt-J. The Best Album category is contested entirely by indie acts – Bombay Bicycle Club, Royal Blood and Wild Beasts all got nominated.

The other important category ‘Best Song Musically and Lyrically’ features Ben Howard’s ‘I Forget Where We Were’, Hozier’s ‘Take Me To Church’ and the little known band Bear’s Den with ‘Above The Clouds of Pompeii’.

The Ivors nominations are selected by the British Society of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA). The organisation’s chairman Simon Darlow said that the field reflected the “health and diversity” of British and Irish songwriting.

In a statement to the BBC, he said: “These awards were created to raise the profile of our best creative talent and today's nominations, which include a host of fresh new writers, demonstrate that The Ivors continue to achieve this. Congratulations to everyone represented here today.”

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