Fraser T Smith talks Ivors Award win and new music

Multi-award-winning producer and artist Fraser T Smith has spoken to Headliner about his latest awards success at this week’s Ivors Awards, staying creative during lockdown and his plans to release more new music.

The 2021 Ivors Awards, which took place in-person for the first time since the pandemic at London’s Grosvenor House on September 21, saw Smith scoop the coveted Best Contemporary Song award for Children Of The Internet featuring Dave, from last year’s Future Utopia – 12 Questions.

Having produced work for the likes of Stormzy, Dave, Kano, Adele, Sam Smith and many other high-profile artists, Future Utopia – 12 Questions marked Smith’s first album release as an artist in his own right.

“It’s amazing, to have won anything for my own project is incredible,” he told Headliner at the Ivors Awards ceremony. “Dave and I have won in this category twice before, but that’s been with me as a producer working with Dave and he should take all the glory for that. But for this, where it was my vision, to get that validation from the Ivors Academy feels truly amazing.

“I’m a very collaborative producer, so I have to look into their vision and how I can amplify and enlarge it, but with something like this where it is my own project, I felt that I really had to step up and be like a creative director. It’s absolutely something I want to do again. I’ve already started the next record.”

As for what makes the Ivors such a revered awards institution, Smith continued: “An awards ceremony like this, that has so much history and credibility, that honours the songwriters, and is not on TV, isn’t about hype or some massive ad spend or simply throwing money at something, really resonates with me.”

Smith also opened up on his collaborations with last year’s Ivors Rising Star Award winner Mysie, as well as how he has continued to stay creative during the pandemic.

“Throughout the pandemic I was finishing my record and promoting it,” he said. “And I’ve been working with Mysie through the Apple Music mentorship programme. So, we were talking and now we’re creating, and we’ve made two EPs together. It’s been a really fertile time for me creatively. I moved out to the country, which was a real blessing. The closer you are to nature, the closer you are to creativity. Nature has been a good thing and it keeps me creative.

“As for Mysie, she is incredible. And the thing that is unique about that relationship is that we spent a year together without any constraints, just talking as people. Then the more I knew about her and the more I found out about her music, it just naturally came together. It’s become a really fruitful relationships and we’re writing amazing songs together.”

Other big Ivors winners on the day included Lianne La Havas for Best Album, Celeste and Jamie Hartman for Songwriter of the Year, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora for Special International Award and Tears For Fears for Outstanding Song Collection.

You can view the full list of winners here.

The 2021 Ivors Awards ceremony also saw ABBA songwriting legend Bjorn Ulvaeus unveil a brand new initiative dubbed Credits Due, which is designed to ensure songwriters are accurately and fairly paid for their work. At present, it is estimated that up to half a billion pounds in royalties are either lost or misallocated.

Speaking to Headliner at the Ivors Awards ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House, Ulvaeus explained the reasons behind the launch of Credits Due.

“I wanted to get involved because it is so simple and so uncontroversial,” he said. “The music industry is a huge and complex industry. It’s like the very largest oil tanker; it is very hard to steer it in another direction. But this is one thing that can be done, and it is simple and doesn’t need to take that long. It is all about getting people in the industry to think ‘yes, we absolutely have to have those parts identified and we cannot release a record without them.”

You can read our interview with Ulvaeus in full here.