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Ivors Academy announces rising star award nominees

·4-min read

Singer-songwriter Rachel Chinouriri, whose music featured in the critically acclaimed TV series I May Destroy You, is among the contenders for The Ivors Academy’s rising star award.

Chinouriri, 22, who attributes her musical influence to her traditional Zimbabwean upbringing and has previously supported Brit Award winner Celeste and singer Sam Fender, will receive mentorship from multi-instrumentalist Fiona Bevan, who has co-written for Ed Sheeran.

The songwriters and composers Allegra, Holly Humberstone, Kamal., and Willow Kayne are also nominated for the award, which honours British and Irish talent aged 18-24 who show exceptional potential and ambition.

Each nominee will be paired with an acclaimed songwriter and academy member who will provide mentorship, support and guidance for a year to develop their network as they learn how to navigate their careers.

Rachel Chinouriri’s music featured in the TV series I May Destroy You (The Ivors Academy)
Rachel Chinouriri’s music featured in the TV series I May Destroy You (The Ivors Academy)

Allegra, who has been writing music since she was 13, has previously worked with Grammy award winner Tim Fagan and Grammy nominee Paul O’Duffy and performed on the BBC’s The One Show.

She will be mentored by songwriter Jamie Hartman, who was the lead singer of the indie-pop band Ben’s Brother.

Singer-songwriter Allegra has been writing and recording music since the age of 13 (The Ivors Academy)
Singer-songwriter Allegra has been writing and recording music since the age of 13 (The Ivors Academy)

Six-time Ivor Award winner Cathy Dennis, who has written for Kylie Minogue and Britney Spears, will mentor 21-year-old Humberstone, who was runner-up for the BBC Sound of 2021 and followed in the footsteps of Billie Eilish when she was chosen as Apple’s Up Next Artist.

Holly Humberstone came runner-up in the BBC Sound of 2021 (The Ivors Academy)
Holly Humberstone came runner-up in the BBC Sound of 2021 (The Ivors Academy)

Kamal’s first feature was with Brit and Mercury award winner Dave for his track Mercury, which landed him in the UK Top 40 before the release of his debut EP War Outside at the age of 18.

He will be mentored by singer-songwriter Jamie Scott, who has worked with One Direction and Justin Bieber.

Kamal. has previously featured on the multi-award winning rapper Dave’s track Mercury (The Ivor Academy)
Kamal. has previously featured on the multi-award winning rapper Dave’s track Mercury (The Ivor Academy)

Musician and producer Nile Rodgers, who was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2016, will mentor Willow Kayne, 19, who combines pop, hip-hop and punk as her key influences, to produce her two singles I Don’t Wanna Know and 2 Seater, which explore Gen Z issues and experiences.

Willow Kayne writes about real-life Gen Z issues and experiences (The Ivors Academy)
Willow Kayne writes about real-life Gen Z issues and experiences (The Ivors Academy)

Bevan described Chinouriri as “absolutely incredible”.

She told the PA news agency: “She has got so much potential, so much talent and she is already making waves – and I absolutely love what she does, so it will be a really beautiful and interesting partnership.”

Bevan, who has co-written music with Ed Sheeran, Tom Walker and Steps, added: “We are very well matched because her artist project is her priority at the moment and I have always been an artist first and foremost, and so I have navigated a lot of those waters over the last few years as a female artist. I think that is going to be really invaluable for her.”

Rodgers said: “As a producer, my role is to create an environment where the artist, musicians and songwriters can be confident to give their very best.

“I see my role with The Ivors Academy and my friends at Apple Music similarly.

“I love mentoring and nurturing the incredible young talent they are accelerating the development of.

“They are the stars of the future.”

For the second year of the award, the nominees were chosen by a group of award-winning songwriters and composers from across The Ivors Academy’s membership.

The Ivors Academy, which began in 1956, presents the Ivor Novello Awards to exceptional songwriters and composers.

It has previously recognised superstars such as Adele, Stormzy, Annie Lennox, Sir Paul McCartney, John Lennon and Joan Armatrading.

Last year’s winner, Mysie, signed to her mentor Fraser T Smith’s record label in 2021 and produced an EP called Undertones.

The rising star award is supported by Apple Music to help cultivate the next generation of music creators.

Shaznay Lewis, Ivor Novello Award winner and chair of The Ivors Awards committee at The Ivors Academy, said: “I’m delighted that the rising star award with Apple Music returns for a second year.

“Keep an eye on these nominees, they’re worth watching.

“I hope that the right support and recognition helps them blaze new trails and inspire other emerging music makers.

“Opportunities and acknowledgements like this are more important than ever and The Ivors Academy and Apple Music are proud to support the young artists nominated for this year’s award.”

The winner will be announced on September 21 as part of The Ivor Awards 2021.

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