Stormzy: Black music ‘most definitely the popping thing’ right now

Stormzy has welcomed the recognition being given to young black musicians as he attended a prestigious music ceremony to honour songwriting.

The rapper is nominated for best album for Gang Signs And Prayer and contemporary song for Don’t Cry For Me, featuring Raleigh Ritchie, at the Ivor Novello Awards.

Rapper Dave is also nominated for contemporary song for his politically charged track Question Time, which pays tribute to victims of the Grenfell Tower fire and takes on Theresa May and David Cameron.

Speaking on the red carpet at the awards ceremony on Thursday, Stormzy said recognition for himself and Dave, as well as a nomination for singer-songwriter Sampha, is a celebration of young black artists.

He said: “It’s just black music. It’s not grime, Dave isn’t a grime artist… it’s just black music.

“Young black artists getting our dues… as time goes on, it’s a time thing but black music is most definitely the popping thing right now.”

The Brit Award-winning rapper said the Ivors are special because they recognise songwriting.

He said: “It’s your pen, as a songwriter… your pen is your, it’s your most trusted asset. It’s our arsenal, it’s our weapon, it’s our everything, really.

“So the Ivors… you’ve got a lot of award shows, but the Ivors only notices your pen.

“It doesn’t care if I’m Stormzy, it just cares about the art. So it’s always pleasant in that case.”

On a potential win, he added: “I dreamt it, hopefully today it comes true, but either way I’m happy to be here.”

He will go up against Dave in the best contemporary song category – as well as Dave’s producer Fraser T Smith.

Sampha during the 63rd Annual Ivor Novello Songwriting Awards at Grosvenor House in London (Ian West/PA)

Smith echoed Stormzy’s words, telling the Press Association: “This is a great celebration of the state of British music.

“I’m proud to be involved in their journey, I’ve been doing this a long time and it’s amazing to be a part of this seven-minute rap song that has no chorus (Question Time), and for it to be nominated, it’s just an incredible feeling.”

Asked about award shows recognising musicians from a more diverse background, he said: “I think so – Skepta winning songwriter last year… it’s great to see all great music instead of one form of music.”

Ed Sheeran has two songs, which he co-wrote, in the running for most performed work, Castle On The Hill and Shape Of You.

He competes against Rag’n’Bone Man’s Human in the category.

Nominees for best song musically and lyrically are Sampha’s (No One Knows Me) Like The Piano, Elbow’s Magnificent (She Says) and Everything Everything’s Can’t Do.

Billy Ocean, Laura Mvula, Lisa Stansfield, Billy Bragg and Labour deputy leader Tom Watson were among the attendees at the event in central London.

- Press Association

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