James Blunt should be feted not hated, says songwriter

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The Independent Culture

They are hated as much as feted despite - or perhaps because of - their ubiquity on the airwaves. But now Coldplay and James Blunt have the satisfaction of being shortlisted for some of the most prestigious prizes in British songwriting, the Ivor Novello awards.

The members of Coldplay received a total of three nominations for the songs "Fix You" and "Speed of Sound" while "You're Beautiful", the song Blunt co-wrote with Amanda Ghost and Sacha Skarbek, secured two. Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys, K T Tunstall, the Kaiser Chiefs and the team behind Gorillaz are among the other songwriters who will battle it out at the 51st Ivors ceremony in London on 25 May.

Announcing the shortlist yesterday, David Ferguson, head of the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters, said: "Technology is transforming the creative arts in many ways but it's a truism that we take for granted - music cannot exist without the endeavour and inspiration of songwriters."

David Stark, editor of SongLink, which brings songwriters and music publishers together, said the biggest surprise in the shortlists were that James Blunt was not in the running in the category for "best song musically and lyrically". That honour will go to Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys or K T Tunstall.

Amanda Ghost, Blunt's former co-writer, said she was thrilled to be in contention for the international hit of the year and the most performed work of the year awards. But she added: "The real award must go to James. I made a small contribution to the chorus but it's the vocal performance that sells that song."

Ghost said she always thought "You're Beautiful" was a good song but had not expected it to propel Blunt to worldwide fame. "And certainly nobody in the record business did because everybody passed on it," she said. "Being nominated for the Ivors means validation, it is the cherry on the cake. I know he's incredibly excited."

One thing that puzzled her was how many people disliked James Blunt despite his enormous sales. "It's phenomenal to me how many people hate him. It's baffling. Why are we knocking the one success worldwide this country has produced this year? We should be embracing it."

The winners of the Ivors are chosen by songwriters and publishers, giving them enormous kudos. Justin Hayward, a former winner with the Moody Blues who played at yesterday's nominations launch, said: "What matters is being recognised by other writers."

To encourage new songwriters, the academy announced a new songwriters' academy, open to songwriters of every age and genre with categories for under-18s and 18 and above. Entrants need to submit a CD of one of their songs and 30 will be invited for a special intensive masterclass. Details are available at www.songwritersacademy.co.uk.

The nominations

BEST SONG MUSICALLY AND LYRICALLY

* "Fix You". Writers: Guy Berryman/ Jonathan Buckland/ William Champion/ Chris Martin. Performed by: Coldplay

* "I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor". Writer: Alex Turner. Performed by: Arctic Monkeys

* "Suddenly I See". Writer: K T Tunstall. Performed by: K T Tunstall

BEST CONTEMPORARY SONG

* "Dare". Writers: Damon Albarn/ Brian Burton/ Jamie Hewlett. Performed by: Gorillaz

* "I Predict A Riot". Writers: Nick Baines/Nick Hodgson/ Simon Rix/Andrew White/Ricky Wilson. Performed by: Kaiser Chiefs

* "Wires". Writers: Joel Pott/Steven Roberts/Timothy Wanstall/Carey Willetts. Performed by: Athlete

BEST TV SOUNDTRACK

* A Waste Of Shame: The Mystery Of Shakespeare And His Sonnets. Composer: Kevin Sargent

*Colditz. Composer: Richard Harvey

* Elizabeth I. Composer: Rob Lane

BEST ORIGINAL FILM SCORE

* Chronicles Of Narnia The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe. Composer: Harry Gregson-Williams

* Evil. Composer: Francis Shaw

* Pride And Prejudice. Composer: Dario Marianelli

PRS (PERFORMING RIGHT SOCIETY) MOST PERFORMED WORK

* "Shiver". Writers: Natalie Imbruglia/Sheppard Solomon/Francis White. Performed by: Natalie Imbruglia

* "Speed of Sound". Writers: Guy Berryman/ Jonathan Buckland/ William Champion/ Chris Martin. Performed by: Coldplay

* "You're Beautiful". Writers: James Blunt/ Amanda Ghost/ Sacha Skarbek. Performed by: James Blunt

INTERNATIONAL HIT OF THE YEAR

* "Speed Of Sound". Writers: Guy Berryman/ Jonathan Buckland/ William Champion/ Chris Martin. Performed by: Coldplay

* "Tripping". Writers: Stephen Duffy/ Robbie Williams. Performed by: Robbie Williams

* "You're Beautiful". Writers: James Blunt/ Amanda Ghost/ Sacha Skarbek. Performed by: James Blunt

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