Skepta wins songwriter of the year at Ivor Novello awards


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Grime’s grip on the music industry was reaffirmed at this year’s Ivor Novello awards as Skepta won two of the biggest accolades.

The star was named songwriter of the year and also won for best contemporary song. As well as a sign of his recent success, it marked a departure for the Ivor Novellos. The ceremony is intended to acknowledge talent in songwriting but has often been seen as overly dominated by white artists, with Adele, James Bay and Ed Sheeran the big winners in recent years.

Skepta, real name Joseph Junior Adenuga, and his crew of artists operating under the banner of Boy Better Know have championed grime in the mainstream and brought it to an international audience over the past year. He was visibly shocked by his two awards at the ceremony in London on Thursday, and was presented with the songwriter of the year trophy by his sister, radio host Julie Adenuga.

“I could talk about the time he bleached his hair blond, that we dressed up as Mortal Kombat characters, but I’m not going to do that,” she said. “I’m going to tell the story of how, from day one, our family has been about creation – sometimes because we couldn’t get some things, mostly because of the luck we made. So to stand here in 2017, and present my brother with this award, I’m just so excited to see people celebrating him, appreciating him, applauding him and rewarding him.”

Before handing him the microphone, she joked that while he had been named songwriter of the year, one of his lyrics was “ring, ring pussy, it’s your mama on the phone”.

Skepta said he had recently “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.”

Skepta won best contemporary song for Man, which sampled a Queens of the Stone Age track.


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