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Nominees announced for 2021 Rising Star Award with Apple Music

The Ivors Academy has today announced the five nominees for its Rising Star Award with Apple Music, which returns for the second year.

Left to right Willow Kayne, Holly Humberstone, Kamal., Rachel Chinouriri and Allegra

The award discovers, supports, and accelerates the careers of the most promising music creators, and is part of Apple Music’s continued support of the songwriter and composer community. The winner receives a dedicated Ivor Novello Award and joins a roll call of songwriting greats that includes Adele, Stormzy, Annie Lennox, Paul McCartney, John Lennon and Joan Armatrading.

Listen to music from this year’s nominees and more on Apple Music

The 2021 Rising Star Award Nominees are:

Singer-songwriter Allegra has been writing and recording music since the age of 13. In her career, she’s worked with Grammy-award winner Tim Fagan and Grammy nominee Paul O’Duffy and performed on BBC’s The One Show and Jools Holland. Her debut single ‘Spectacles’ and new single “Excuse Me”, which was released earlier this year, both received airplay on BBC Radio.

Holly Humberstone
Creating new worlds within her music, 21-year-old Holly Humberstone has a deep understanding of the art of storytelling. The breakout star amassed more than 120 million streams for her critically acclaimed debut EP ‘Falling Asleep At The Wheel’ and came runner up in the BBC Sound of 2021, as well as following in the footsteps of Billie Elish after being chosen as Apple’s Up Next Artist. This summer Holly will perform her first ever headline shows, with four sold-out nights in London, plus a huge festival season underway.

Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kamal. ended 2020 at No.5 in GQ’s Best New Artists, with the Daily Telegraph acknowledging him as ‘UK music’s answer to Billie Eilish.’ P|rior to he releasing his debut EP ‘war outside’ last month, his first feature appearance was alongside multi award-winning musician Dave on his track ‘Mercury’ and the critically-acclaimed introspective cut landed Kamal. his first entry in to the UK Top 40 and a spot on BBC Radio 1’s A List.

Rachel Chinouriri
Singer and songwriter Rachel Chinouriri attributes her musical influence to her traditional Zimbabwean upbringing. Her music was featured in the critically-acclaimed TV series ‘I May Destroy You’ and Netflix original series ‘Dare You.’ She was named as one of the most influential young people in London by the Evening Standard as a part of their Progress 1000 list and has supported the likes of Celeste, Sam Fender and Lianne La Havas.

Willow Kayne
Artist Willow Kayne cites pop, hip-hop and punk as key influences on her sound. Her single ‘I Don’t Wanna Know’ – a fast paced riposte to online trolls – follows her ‘2 Seater’ debut single. Her forthcoming EP fuses references from the rave and punk subcultures with elements of retro futurism and real life Gen Z issues and experiences.

Following the success of last year’s mentoring scheme, 2020 Rising Star award-winner Mysie signed to mentor Fraser T Smith’s record label earlier this year. For 2021, each nominee will again receive a year-long mentorship from a well-established Academy member as their individual mentor as well as support from leaders from Apple Music, to help develop their networks, discover new opportunities, and better understand how to navigate their careers.

Representing an incredible array of talent and experience, this year’s mentors are:

  • Six-time Ivor Novello Award winning British singer, songwriter and music producer Cathy Dennis is mentoring Holly Humberstone
  • Ivor Novello Award winning British songwriter and music producer Jamie Hartman is mentoring Allegra
  • Ivor Novello Award winning singer, songwriter and producer Jamie Scott is mentoring Kamal.
  • Ivor Novello Award winning musician, songwriter and producer Nile Rodgers is mentoring Willow Kayne
  • Previous Ivor Novello judge, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Fiona Bevan is mentoring Rachel Chinouriri

Music legend Nile Rodgers, one of this year’s mentors, 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.”

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 acknowledgments 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.”

In its first year, the Rising Star Award received the most applications for any category in the Academy’s history. When the Ivors Academy called for public submissions earlier this year, they saw a 30% increase on last year’s entries, 50% of which were also made by female music creators.

The 66th presentation of Ivor Novello Awards at The Ivors with Apple Music is set to return to the Grosvenor House in London on 21st September and will follow all the latest government advice and regulations to ensure a safe event. Find out how to book tickets.


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