A month ago, Nick Hemming made history as the first self-published musician to be nominated for an Ivor Novello Award. He may not have won, but a new publishing deal for the frontman, guitarist and chief songwriter with U.K. indie-folk act the Leisure Society has undoubtedly proved the value of that Ivors nomination.

As previously reported (Billboard.biz, April 21), Hemming was nominated for best song musically and lyrically for "The Last Of The Melting Snow," which was first released in December 2008 as a limited edition CD as well as a download. Although it didn't chart, it received airplay on national AC broadcaster Radio 2.

At the awards ceremony yesterday (May 21), which honors U.K. composers and songwriters, Hemming lost out to Elbow's "One Day Like This" (Salvation Music, Warner/Chappell) - whose singer, Guy Garvey, has championed Hemming's work. By that stage, though, the part-time musician had already quit his day job after signing a two-year publishing deal with London-based Notting Hill Music.

"I signed with Notting Hill Music last weekend, so that's exciting," he tells Billboard.biz. "It's my last day at work [on Friday, May 22] at a warehouse in Wimbledon [south London]. I'm a full-time musician as of Monday."

Notting Hill's other U.K. songwriter recording artists include Dizzee Rascal, Funeral For a Friend and the King Blues.

However, the Brighton-based Leisure Society, which is part of a local collective of musicians, will continue to release music via its own label Willkommen Records. Its debut set "The Sleeper" was physically released in March. Hemming has also been in several bands before and plays with other acts in the Willkommen collective.

"There are a few people [labels] who are interested but we haven't signed anything yet," he says. "We're holding out a little bit - we're scared of signing our rights away because we've been doing it on our own for so long. But I think we probably will do eventually."

The band is playing U.K. dates this summer including the Big Chill and Green Man festivals.

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