A tearful Lily Allen won three Ivor Novello Awards at the ceremony for British songwriters in London – and said she now plans to focus on writing for other artists.
There were also awards for alt-rock act Bat For Lashes, singer songwriter Paolo Nutini and Paul Weller, who received the lifetime achievement award from Noel Gallagher. “This is a man who is rock,” said Gallagher. “I love you.”
“I’ve enjoyed the last 33 years I’ve been writing songs and hopefully, with God’s good grace, I’ll do some more,” said Weller.
Allen appeared overwhelmed at the recognition from the judging panel of songwriters at the awards, presented by BASCA (British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors) and PRS for Music, which is now in its 55th year.
Songwriters Of The Year
Allen shared the awards with her co-writer Greg Kurstin. The Parlophone/EMI hit “The Fear” (Universal Music Publishing/EMI Music Publishing) won for most performed work and best song musically and lyrically.
“This song is so much about feeling so lost,” said Allen. “It has made me feel quite found all of a sudden.”
The pair also won the songwriters of the year award, by which time Allen seemed to have composed herself. She thanked “all those who have provided me with inspiration,” and joked that those songwriters’ publishers may not have noticed.
Allen also took the opportunity to make clear she has little time for certain elements of her working life, alluding to the media scrutiny surrounding her. “It’s the songs themselves I’m most proud of,” she told the audience today (May 20) at the Grosvenor House hotel.
Later the BRIT Award winner made clear she considers the Ivors “real” awards and not just a commercial enterprise, adding that she was “very grateful” the three awards were from other songwriters.
Writing For Lady Gaga
Allen’s presence will undoubtedly guarantee media coverage of the event – she was surrounded by microphones and photographers as she conducted a live Radio 2 interview, while smoking a cigarette in violation of the U.K. smoking ban – but she will be taking a lower profile.
She told reporters that she still intends to go on a hiatus from her artist career, after her remaining live shows in 2010. “I’m ready to just take a break from it,” she said. “I’m still writing… I’m not writing for myself.” Allen added that she would like to write for other artists including Lady Gaga, although admitted her services may not be required.
For all Allen’s success, Paolo Nutini‘s Atlantic album “Sunny Side Up” is the bigger seller – it is certified for 1.2 million U.K. shipments, compared to 900,000 for Allen’s sophomore set “It’s Not Me, It’s You” – so it was understandable why the judges gave him the album award. The Scottish songwriter is published by Warner/Chappell.
Bat For Lashes Finally Triumphs
Bat For Lashes‘ Parlophone/EMI single “Daniel” did not enjoy the airplay success of hits by Allen or Nutini, but it was a deserving winner of the best contemporary song award – especially as Bat For Lashes has missed out on two Mercury Prizes and lost out in the 2010 BRIT award female artist category to Allen. “Daniel” was written by Natasha Khan and is published by Chrysalis Music.
“I’m so shocked,” Khan told the audience. “Who would have thought that when I was sitting in my pyjamas in my bed writing this song, I would be up her collecting this? I’m writing my new album and I hope to do many more ‘Daniel’s.”
“I’m overwhelmed with emotion,” she said later. “It was the song I had the most intense relationship with.”
“The Ivors is quite close to my heart,” Khan added. Recalling her previous awards misses, she added: “Always the bridesmaid – but today I’m the bride.”
Save 6 Music Campaign Continues
The ceremony was also notable for the opening speech from BASCA chairman Sarah Rodgers, when she referred to the management proposal to close digital radio station BBC 6 Music as “an act of cultural vandalism.” And she referred to earlier positive comments about the station by Ed Vaizey, a guest at her table who has been appointed culture minister in the new Conservative Liberal Democrat coalition.
Former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr won the inspiration award, presented by Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand, and later the pair both called for 6 Music to be saved. However, it seems unlikely the modern rock and alternative station will be able to defy management and broadcast their lengthy conversation with a 6 Music reporter. Perhaps the recording could be sent to the BBC Trust, which will consider the closure plan in the weeks ahead.
Daniel Pemberton, published by Moncur Street Music, received the Ivor for best television soundtrack for “Desperate Romantics”; Sir Peter Maxwell Davies snagged the classical music award; and the inaugural best original video game score went to Joris de Man for “Killzone 2.”
‘The Song is the Bottom Line’
The end of the ceremony was more for the long-serving songwriters. Producer Trevor Horn received the outstanding contribution to British music honor, while lyricist Sir Tim Rice was awarded the Academy Fellowship.
Neil Sedaka proved a popular choice for the special international award, and the New Yorker had some good jokes. In a “trendy and fickle business,” he noted that “the song is the bottom line, it’s the song that really counts.”
Imogen Heap won for international achievement, and John Powell picked up the best original film score award for “Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” (EMI Music Publishing). But late arrival Dizzee Rascal went home empty-handed.