Who was Ivor Novello? Harry Styles bags 3 noms at music awards named after Welsh entertainer

Harry Styles has a total of three nods in two categories, including 'Songwriter of the Year,' for his songs ‘Watermelon Sugar’ and ‘Adore You’

                            Who was Ivor Novello? Harry Styles bags 3 noms at music awards named after Welsh entertainer
Harry Styles has been nominated for multiple Ivor Novello awards (Photos by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy and Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Former One Direction member Harry Styles, Scottish singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi, and American-British singer and songwriter Celeste are among the leading nominees at 2021’s Ivor Novello Awards. Styles has been nominated for 'Songwriter of the Year' along with his collaborator Kid Harpoon. AJ Tracey, Celeste, Jamie Hartman, Kamille, and MNEK have also been nominated in the same category. 

Styles has a total of three nods in two categories with his songs ‘Watermelon Sugar’ and ‘Adore You’. Celeste has also been nominated in the Best Song Musically and Lyrically category along with the likes of Arlo Parks, Headie One, and Marina.


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In this image released on March 14, Harry Styles performs onstage during the 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards at Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, California and broadcast on March 14, 2021. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

The Ivors Academy is the UK’s independent professional association for music creators. As per its website, it is a “community of diverse, talented songwriters and composers across all styles. Their talent creates the music that the world loves.” As per reports, the 66th presentation of Ivor Novello Awards will take place at Grosvenor House in London on September 21.

Who was Ivor Novello?

The first Ivor Novello Awards were presented at a televised event from the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London on March 11, 1956. The statuette is a representation of Euterpe, the Greek muse of music and lyric poetry. It was designed by Hazel Underwood, an undergraduate of St Martin’s School of Art in London, in 1955. 

The Ivor Novello Awards are named after Ivor Novello, a Welsh composer, and actor, who became one of the most popular British entertainers of the first half of the 20th century. Novello was most famous for his West End musical productions ‘Glamorous Night’ in 1935 and ‘Dancing Years’ in 1939.

Welsh actor and composer Ivor Novello (1893 - 1951) leaves Waterloo Station in London on the 'Aquitania' boat train, en route to the United States, 1st January 1936. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

As per English Heritage, a charity that manages over 400 historic monuments, buildings, and places in England, Novello was born in Cardiff as David Ivor Davies. He developed a strong interest in music and the world of theatre from his mother, Clara Novello Davies, who taught singing. In 1927, he changed his name to Ivor Novello. He made his debut as an actor in the silent film ‘The Call of the Blood’ in 1920 and enjoyed subsequent success on stage and screen. He performed in Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Lodger’ in 1926 and in the 1924 play ‘The Rat’, which he also co-wrote.

A 2004 feature in The Guardian noted that Novello's “homosexuality was an open secret in theatrical circles”. The feature said that Hitchcock's biographer Donald Spoto pointed out that Novello was "never, on or off the set, especially shy about his homosexual life". 

It was perhaps because of this, critics called him "effeminate" and "overly pretty". Film writer Geoffrey Macnab noted that when he was cast as an Austrian innkeeper in Basil Dean's ‘Autumn Crocus’ in 1934, one reviewer even took exception to his legs, writing that "Novello's schoolboy knees under his Tyrolean shorts make the audience, if not the players, feel bashful".

Novello died on 6 March 1951 of a heart attack at his London home. Novello's funeral at Golders Green crematorium in London, Macnab wrote, “provoked mass hysteria among female fans,” reminiscent of that at the death of silent-screen idol Rudolph Valentino.

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