In the first of two winners’ announcements for the O2 Silver Clef Awards 2023, Nordoff and Robbins is excited to honour international superstar and cultural icon Stormzy with the flagship O2 Silver Clef Award. The O2 Silver Clef Award is the most prestigious award of the day, honouring artists of the highest calibre who continue to impact the music industry with their outstanding careers and contribution to music. Previous legendary winners include: David Bowie, Ed Sheeran, Roger Waters, Paul McCartney, George Michael, Annie Lennox, Dame Shirley Bassey, Kylie Minogue, The Rolling Stones, Oasis and Coldplay.
Wet Leg will receive the New Music Award and Biffy Clyro win Best Live Act. Pop icon NenehCherry is given Outstanding Achievement, the legendary Mark King of Level 42 will receive the esteemed Icon Award, and Ayanna Witter-Johnson wins the Classical Award.
Winners of Best Male, Best Female, Best Group, International and Innovation will be announced in June, ahead of the ceremony.
The O2 Silver Clef Awards are held to recognise and celebrate the talent of the winning artists. Since 1976, the awards have raised £12 million for Nordoff and Robbins’ vital music therapy services and honoured some of the greatest names in music, with last year’s event raising over £750,000; including £200,000 from the auction of George Michael’s personal piano, kindly donated by the George Michael estate. In 2022, Nordoff and Robbins held nearly 50,000 music therapy sessions across the UK for some of the most isolated people in society, and the need for music therapy is greater than it has ever been.
Nordoff and Robbins’ vision is to live in a world where through music therapy, human potential is recognised regardless of profound disability, illness or social exclusion. Shaped by more than 60 years of practice, its trained music therapists use the power of music to transform people’s lives by helping them express themselves and connect with others. The charity works with children and adults affected by life limiting illness such as dementia, learning disabilities including autism, physical disability and mental health issues at over 350 schools, hospitals, hospices and care homes, as well as providing sessions from its centres nationwide.
Hosted with O2, the annual lunch is one of the highlights of the music industry calendar, bringing together artists, celebrity supporters and influencers to raise vital funds for the music therapy charity.The awards are the biggest fundraising event of the year for Nordoff and Robbins, thanks to table sales, sponsorship and special auctions on the day, helping its trained music therapists to support some of the most vulnerable people in the UK.
Presented by Edith Bowman for the fifth-year running, with Peter Andre covering the blue carpet celebrity arrivals for the third time, the awards recognise and celebrate the powerful impact of music on all members of our society.
• Receiving the flagship O2 Silver Clef Award, Stormzy is a multi-award-winning musician who hails from South London, England. His three albums to date; ‘Gang Signs & Prayer’, ‘Heavy Is The Head’ and ‘This Is What I Mean’ all finished at #1 in the UK album chart, with the former two subsequently being nominated for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize. His remarkable ascent has been accompanied by his honest and relatable character. A true spokesman of black empowerment and social activism, Stormzy is one of the UK’s most inspiring figureheads who has consistently stood up for people from all areas of life; encouraging his fans and listeners alike to speak openly about their beliefs and fight for their rights.
• The award for Ticketmaster Best New Music will go to indie rock artists Wet Leg, whose self-titled album debuted at No 1 on the UK Albums Chart in 2022.
• One of the UK’s most successful rock bands, with three No 1 albums and numerous headline sets from Reading and Leeds to Download, Biffy Clyro will be awarded the PizzaExpress Live Best Live Act Award.
• Swedish singer-songwriter, rapper and cultural icon Neneh Cherry will pick up the Tysers Outstanding Achievement Award in recognition of her influential career starting with the global success of her debut single ‘Buffalo Stance’ and album ‘Raw Like Sushi’ in 1989. In 2019, Neneh released new solo albums and began touring extensively including dates at Glastonbury and the Hollywood Bowl. In 2022, Neneh released ‘The Versions’, a collection of her greatest hits covered by artists including Sia, Robyn and Greentea Peng.
• The legendary Mark King will receive the American Express Icon Award. As lead singer and bass player of funk-rock icons Level 42, King achieved a string of Top Ten hits throughout the 1980s including ‘The Sun Goes Down (Living It Up) (1984), ‘Lessons in Love’ (1985), Running in the Family (1987) and ‘Staring at the Sun’ (1988). Now celebrating over 40 years with Level 42, Mark continues to delight audiences around the world.
• Multi-talented singer, songwriter, pianist and cellist Ayanna Witter-Johnson will pick up the PPL Classical Award, in recognition of her unique boundary crossing music.
Wet Leg said: “To the hunnies at Nordoff and Robbins, tysm for choosing us for Best new music award!?! We’re blushing red as lobsters 🦞 😳 We’re so stoked to be supporting Nordoff and Robbins to bring music to those who need it most! Through their work, they provide music therapists to isolated children and adults which allows them to break down barriers whilst making real connections with other people. xx.”
Biffy Clyro said: “We’re so pleased to receive the Best Live Act Award. Some of our favourite memories have been created on stage and nothing compares to the response from a live audience. Music brings us together in such a unique way– all people – from non-verbal children to older people with dementia can really respond and communicate in the music therapy sessions, which is why Nordoff and Robbins’ work is so incredibly important.”
Neneh Cherry said: “I’m delighted to be chosen for the Outstanding Achievement Award. I’ve recently seen first-hand the incredible work that Nordoff and Robbins’ trained music therapists carry out with some of the most vulnerable members of our society. For many, the sessions can be transformative. I’ve worked with so many fantastic artists in my career and I’m proud to support a charity which aims to give everybody access to the power of music.”
Mark King said: “I am beyond thrilled to be chosen as recipient of the Icon Award this year. I’m doubly delighted as I have been an enthusiastic supporter of Nordoff and Robbins for the last 15 years. Often people receiving music therapy find it difficult to communicate with the world through words, and I have spent time at their London centre and witnessed the joy that clients feel when they are being truly heard through music. Music is universal – whichever country I tour, it’s our common language. Helping to raise funds for this wonderful charity which has music at its core is such a blessing.”
Ayanna Witter-Johnson said: “Super excited to be collecting the Classical Award. Musically I feel at home in a number of genres from classical to RnB, reggae, soul and jazz, and have always combined them allowing me the musical freedom to engage with a wide breadth of audiences, and showcase my authentic, diverse self. It is important to recognise the various ways that we can reach people through music. This is why I support Nordoff and Robbins, who are working hard to break down those communication boundaries that exist for many people, so that they can be fully heard and their individuality can be expressed.”