David Lyttle Makes History with MOBO Nod

The Waringstown whiz is the first Irish artist to be nominated in the urban music awards' 20 years

Acclaimed County Down musician, songwriter and producer David Lyttle has been recognised by one of the UK’s most prestigious music institutions with a nomination for this year’s MOBO awards. He is the first Irish artist to be shortlisted in its 20-year history.

The renowned instrumentalist and collaborator, who currently operates as Musician-in-Residence at the Nerve Centre in Derry~Londonderry, is one of five nominees in the Best Jazz Act category and will go up against Polar Bear, Courtney Pine, Julia Biel, and Binker and Moses at the award ceremony on November 4 in Leeds.

The annual MOBO Awards has become one of the most televised music shows in the world and showcases the best British and international urban music talent. Previous winners have included Rihanna, John Legend and Sam Smith.

Perhaps best known as a prodigious jazz drummer in his early career, Lyttle has gone on to be described by Irish music magazine Hot Press as a 'one-man industry' for his work as a performer, producer and record label owner.

His diverse collaborations range from hip hop visionary Talib Kweli to jazz icon Joe Lovano to Irish recording artist Duke Special, who all feature on his third album Faces recently described by Rolling Stone as 'one of the best, robust listening experiences you're likely to have all year'.

Speaking about his nomination Lyttle said: 'Music of black origin has shaped popular music for the past 100 years and popular music today is still heavily indebted to the contribution of black artists. I have a deep love and respect for black music and I'm deeply honoured to have been nominated for a MOBO Award.'

As Musician-in-Residence at the Nerve Centre he has been collaborating with a range of musicians, songwriters, bands and producers from across Derry and the surrounding area to create and perform pieces of original music.

Martin McGill, Music Programme Manager at Nerve Centre congratulated the artist on the nomination: 'David is an outstanding artist and we’re delighted that he has been recognised by the MOBO awards. Since April, David has been working tirelessly with over 30 local musicians, songwriters and producers, from breakthrough talent to more established local acts, to produce a completely original work due for release and showcasing at the end of 2015.

'He has also delivered a host of interactive music masterclasses and talks to over 1,000 young people across the Derry and Strabane areas already this year – a feat in itself. We’re encouraging everyone to vote for him so he can bring his MOBO award back to the Nerve Centre.'

The Nerve Centre’s residency is funded by the PRS for Music Foundation, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Derry City and Strabane District Council through the City of Culture Legacy fund and the National Lottery via the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

James Hannam, Senior Grants Manager at PRS for Music Foundation said, 'We’re delighted that David has been nominated for a MOBO Award, which is testament to the high quality work he has produced in the jazz scene. This exciting nomination will also enhance the current Musician-in-Residence programme at Nerve Centre, which we are proud to be supporting.'

Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented: 'Congratulations to David on this prestigious MOBO nomination. To be recognised in this way is both an honour and is well deserved. The Arts Council is delighted to support this talented, innovative musician through the Derry Legacy Fund in a project that reaches out to local musicians across the city, developing their musical skills and talents. I encourage everyone to get online and vote for one of the finest musicians we are lucky to have in the region.'

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Elisha McCallion is encouraging the public to get behind David. 'This is a huge achievement and I am absolutely delighted that David Lyttle’s unique talent has been recognised. David Lyttle is one of our best-loved jazz musicians and has a long association with the City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival.

'Securing a nomination in the MOBO awards is a major achievement and we are one hundred per cent behind him to secure the Best Jazz Act category award.'

The winner of each category is decided by a public vote. Voting is now open via www.mobo.com.

Main image by Paul Brown.