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Sam Fender and Dave lead winners at 2022 Ivor Novello Awards

Fender paid tribute to a "good friend of mine who recently passed away" as he accepted the gong

By Nick Reilly

Sam Fender and Dave
Sam Fender and Dave (Picture: Rolling Stone UK)

Sam Fender and Dave have led the winners at this year’s Ivor Novello Awards.

The ceremony, which celebrates the UK’s best songwriters, returned to London’s Grosvenor House on Thursday (May 19) and also saw major wins for the likes of The Cure, Paul Heaton and Laura Mvula.

Accepting the award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically, Fender paid tribute to a recently departed friend who had played an instrumental role in launching his early career.

“A very good friend of mine passed away last week. He was my first ever boss and gave me a job when me and my mother were unemployed,” he said.

“He always used to hit us across the head with a newspaper for being a shit barman because I was always playing guitar instead of serving customers. Until one day, he said go get your guitar out and sit in that corner.

“That was because my manager, Owain Davies, was an up and coming manager and he’d just come back and walked into the pub. If I hadn’t got my guitar out and played it to this man over there, none of this would’ve happened. So thank you so much.”

While Dave wasn’t present to collect the award for songwriter of the year, the win marked his fourth Ivor Novello, having previously won best contemporary song three times for ‘Question Time’ in 2018, ‘Black’ in 2020 and ‘Children Of The Internet’ last year.

Previous winner Ed Sheeran also claimed the most performed work award for ‘Bad Habits’, alongside co-writers Fred Again and Johnny McDaid of Snow Patrol.

Best contemporary song was won by producer Dean “Inflo” Josiah Cover and rapper Little Simz for ‘I Love You, I Hate You,’ taken from her acclaimed 2021 album Sometimes I Might Be Introvert.

A potential star of tomorrow came in singer-songwriter Naomi Kimpenu, who won the rising star award. Her debut EP ‘Prelude’ was released last year and was praised by the Ivors Academy for her “perfectly poised vocals and sincere songwriting”.

Elsewhere, the music icon award hailed the work of The Cure’s Robert Smith and bassist Simon Gallup from The Cure, while Paul Heaton won the outstanding song collection award, which recognised his work with The Housemartins, The Beautiful South and Jacqui Abbott.