Former Academy student up for MOBO

David Lyttle.
David Lyttle.

Former Banbridge Academy student, David Lyttle, has been nominated for a prestigious MOBO Award.

David, 31, who is up for Best Jazz Act, is the first Irish artist to have been nominated for a MOBO - Music of Black Origin.

David said: “I’m shocked and very grateful and very excited.

“Just to be associated with the artists who are nominated and who have won MOBOs in the past is amazing.”

Former winners of MOBO Awards include Beyonce, Sam Smith, Eminem, Will Smith, TLC, Adele and Tina Turner.

David, who began performing folk music, is also classically trained.

However, he says he “shifted focus” to playing drums and writing music.

“My background has been heavily influenced by black music,” said David.

David’s third album ‘Faces’ was released in March, receiving recogition in music magazine Rolling Stone, which called it ‘one of the best, robust listening experiences you’re likely to have all year’.

“As far as career highlights, this year has been amazing,” David commented.

“It was really big for me to be in Rolling Stone, for them to pay attention to my music is just amazing.

“The MOBO nomination has raised my profile up a level again. It has been really special.

“I’m very happy to get the nomination. I’m not too concerned about winning, I don’t want to feel the pressure of it. I’m up against some heavy nominations, but I’ll bring some friends involved with the album and celebrate.

“I haven’t really celebrated the album, and it’s important to kick back now and again and celebrate and be grateful I’m in a position to do this for a living.”

Voting is now open online for this year’s MOBOs, and David is encouraging everyone to vote for him.

“People can vote online now,” he said. “I’m nominated for the Best Jazz Act.

“It would be great if people voted; everyone has been really supportive.”

David said he was greatly encouraged in his music by his former teachers at Banbridge Academy.

“I had a really good time there,” he stated. “The music department was great; I just lived in the music department.

“I would spend all my time there and just practise.

“My teachers Sandra McCurdy and Diane Robinson would let me miss sports events and I would work on my music.

“They really encouraged me to do that and at 15, 16, 17, 18, those were crucial years for me.

“I always knew I wanted to be a musician and that help was very important to me. A lot of young people don’t get that kind of encouragement.”

David and his family performed at the Academy last year for the retirement of Principal Raymond Pollock and he would relish the opportunity to work with the current crop of music students at his former school.

“I was back at the school for the retirement of my principal and played with my family.

“I would like to maybe talk to the music students and let them know that if you work hard, you don’t have to be in New York, or LA, or London. You can do it here, just as well. If you work hard you can achieve those things.

“I’m still based locally. I enjoy living here and I made the decision not to move away. I like this country and this part of the world.”

Sending some final encouragement for people to vote for him in the MOBOs, David said: “If people can vote and help me reach the next level it would be really special.”