2014 is not the year of the horse, as we have been told, but the year of Damon Albarn. With his first solo album on the immediate horizon (Everyday Robots will be out April 28), several London and festival dates lined up, and the distant promise of a follow-up to Blur’s 2003 Think Tank, now is an ideal time to celebrate the man’s career, which spans nearly twenty-five years.
The NME is doing just that. The magazine recently announced that it will honor Albarn with its Innovation Award at this year’s NME Awards ceremony. The award is bestowed upon groundbreaking artists whose musical legacy has had a major impact on the state of music today. Previous winners of the Innovation Award include Gorillaz in 2006 and Radiohead in 2008.
Albarn will be recognized for his influential work with his internationally-acclaimed bands Blur and Gorillaz, as well as the many diverse and fearless projects and collaborations that have rounded out his musical career. The singer, songwriter, producer, and composer has been named ‘one of the UK’s most influential and consistently groundbreaking musicians,’ and a statement from the NME continues, ‘the NME Award for Innovation not only recognizes Albarn’s past, but equally celebrates him as one of the world’s heavyweights of 2014.’
NME editor Mike Williams says of Albarn: ‘Damon’s enduring popularity is a testament to his unrivalled talent. He is somebody who is always pushing things forward, always operating in his own sphere and forever innovating via experimentation and collaboration. Britain rarely produces songwriters of Damon’s calibre, which is why he’s been so popular with NME’s readers for the past two decades. I don’t see that popularity waning any time soon, just as I don’t see his ability to write life-affirming, jaw-dropping songs disappearing either. We’re lucky to have him, and it’s an absolute honour for us to be giving Damon the NME Award for Innovation.’ Click here to read more at the NME about their celebration of Damon Albarn’s enduring influence on modern music.
Albarn will accept his award in person at the ceremony which will take place on Wednesday, February 26 at the O2 Academy, Brixton.