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Sam Fender jokes he plans to destroy a Keir Starmer pinata with his Ivor Award

Sam Fender at the annual Ivor Novello Songwriting Awards (Yui Mok/PA)
Sam Fender at the annual Ivor Novello Songwriting Awards (Yui Mok/PA)

Sam Fender has joked that Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is the next politician he plans to turn into a pinata and destroy with a trophy after winning his first Ivor Novello Award.

Following his win at the Brit Awards for best alternative/rock act in February, the singer returned to his local pub in North Shields with a pinata made to look like Boris Johnson which he proceeded to smash with his new award.

On Thursday, he claimed the Ivor Novello for best song musically and lyrically for his classic rock-inspired track Seventeen Going Under, written about his teenage years in his hometown in north-east England and the trials he and his family faced.

When asked if he had similar plans for his Ivor award, he told the PA news agency in the winner’s room: “Ah yes, Keir Starmer, we’re going to smash his face in as well.”

The 28-year-old also reflected on the challenges of making it in the music industry as an artist from a regional area and how “much more work” needs to be done to help diversify the talent pool.

He explained that his manager Owain Davies discovered him “by fluke” when he heard him perform at the pub he worked in, the Low Lights Tavern in North Shields, adding that if it was not for him he does not know if he would have made it in the industry.

Fender said: “I think there needs to be a lot more work done, especially after the pandemic.

“The pandemic’s economically destroyed parts of this country and it’s going to make it even worse and harder for kids from places like where I’m from to get to this sort of place.”

He added: “You do walk into these rooms and very few of us here didn’t go to private school, not that there’s anything wrong with going to private school but it definitely makes it harder.

Ivor Novello Awards 2022
Sam Fender said he was honoured to be nominated alongside global music stars (Yui Mok/PA)

“It’s down to things that people don’t actually even think about like train tickets or travelling to gigs and stuff like that, I would never have been able to afford gigging outside of my hometown if it wasn’t for him (his manager) so, I think there needs to be a lot more work done with that.”

The singer faced tough competition from global music stars in the best song musically and lyrically category including Adele, who was nominated for her hit track Easy On Me, which won the 2022 Brit Award for British single.

He was also up against All You Ever Wanted by Rag’n’Bone Man, Haunted House by Holly Humberstone and Let’s Go Home Together by Ella Henderson and Tom Grennan.

Fender said it felt “insane” and “an honour” to win the award, adding: “To be honest, I don’t actually feel like anything’s real any more.

“Just to be in these rooms in the first place is bizarre enough, never might not be nominated and never mind a win.”

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