Inflo, who produced and co-wrote three songs on Adele’s blockbuster album 30, was announced as the winner of the Brit Award for producer of the year on Friday (Jan. 28). Inflo is the first Black producer to win that award, which was first presented in 1977 to George Martin.
Inflo (real name: Dean Josiah Cover) worked on two of the five albums that are nominated for British album of the year at the Brits – 30 and Little Simz’s Sometimes I Might Be an Introvert. Inflo produced or co-produced and co-wrote all of the tracks on that album.
“As the first Black music producer to ever win a Brit for best producer, I feel honored to be a part of change,” Inflo said in a statement. “All the Black producers before me, I’m in awe and have studied you. I am you. Thank you for both paving the way and for your integral contribution to British music.”
“‘Flo is a true creative in every sense of the word,” said Little Simz, who is nominated for four awards at this year’s Brits, putting her in a tie for the lead with Adele, Ed Sheeran and Dave. “Music is in his DNA. He really loves, lives and breathes this. There is no one more deserving of this award.”
Michael Kiwanuka, with whom Inflo has worked extensively, added: “As a producer, Inflo is a breath of fresh air to an artist trying to find their own voice. He helps you find what it is you want to say, and always puts his stamp on the work which always elevates the music.”
It’s surprising that it has taken this long for a Black producer to win producer of the year at the Brits. Paul Epworth, Trevor Horn and David A. Stewart are the top winners in the category’s history, with three win each. Brian Eno has won twice.
The story was very different at the Grammys, where a Black producer (Thom Bell) won the very first year the award for producer of the year, non-classical was presented (1974). Black producers have won the award 17 times over the years. The producer with the most wins in the category’s history (Babyface, four) is Black, as are the producers with the most nominations (Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, 11).
Inflo worked on the tracks “Woman Like Me,” “Hold On” and “Love Is a Game” on Adele’s album. The set was released after the cutoff for this year’s Grammy Awards, to be presented on April 3, but it is very likely to be nominated for album of the year and best pop vocal album at next year’s Grammy Awards.
Inflo helms the R&B music collective project Sault, which foregrounds Black-centric issues. Inflo has also worked with such artists as The Kooks, Jungle and Cleo Sol.
In 2017, Inflo won the best song musically and lyrically award at the Ivor Novello Awards for co-writing “Black Man in a White World,” performed by Michael Kiwanuka. In 2020, Inflo received the Mercury Prize for his production work on Kiwanuka’s third studio album Kiwanuka. He also won best album at the Ivor Novello Awards the same year for his work on Little Simz’s album Grey Area.
The Brit Awards are set to take place on Feb. 8 at The O2 Arena in London. British comedian Mo Gilligan will host.