LONDON (Reuters) - A busker who self-funded his first album before going on to sell 6.5 million records received the recognition of the British music industry on Thursday at the Ivor Novello awards.
Mike Rosenberg, who performs under the stage name "Passenger", won in the Most Performed Work category at the 59th Ivor Novello awards with his best-selling song "Let Her Go".
"It's pretty surreal for me to be here," said Rosenberg, accepting his award at a ceremony in London.
"For the last five or six years, I've been busking and independently releasing music.
"I never dreamt that I would be invited to a place like this, let alone win the flipping thing," he said.
Rosenberg's song, inspired by the ending of a long relationship, has almost 290 million views on YouTube.
"How amazing, in a lifetime, to have a song that's got this big. I'm so happy," Rosenberg, 30, told Reuters. "That's a story to tell my grandkids, you know. I was Number One in Luxembourg."
The Ivor Novello Awards are judged by the music-writing community and presented by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors. They are widely regarded as the most important awards for British music writers.
This year, winners of all the shortlisted categories were first-time nominees. Singer-songwriter James Blake won best contemporary song with "Retrograde" and Tom Odell was awarded songwriter of the year.
Band London Grammar, who have previously won the praise of British Prime Minister David Cameron, took best song musically and lyrically with their piece "Strong".
Singer John Newman, who lost out to London Grammar in their winning category, said the Ivor Novello awards recognized the songwriters and musicians who support commercial artists.
"It's the people who stay behind the scenes, if them people go, if them people aren't congratulated, then the whole music industry will fall apart," Newman told Reuters on his way in to the event.
Other winners included veteran rocker Nick Cave for his album "Push the Sky Away", while folk-rock quartet Mumford and Sons won the international achievement award.
Veteran musician and producer Nile Rodgers won the special international award and ex-frontman of The Specials, Jerry Dammers, was presented with the Ivors Inspiration Award by Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page.
Following is a full list of winners:
PRS for Music Most Performed Work
"Let Her Go" - Written by Mike Rosenberg, performed by Passenger
The Ivors Classical Music Award
Best Television Soundtrack
"Ripper Street" - Composed by Dominik Scherrer
Best Contemporary Song
"Retrograde" - Written and performed by James Blake
Ed Dwane, Ben Lovett, Winston Marshall and Marcus Mumford -Mumford & Sons
Best Original Film Score
"The Epic of Everest" - Composed by Simon Fisher Turner
The Ivors Inspiration Award
"Push the Sky Away" - Written by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis
PRS for Music Outstanding Contribution to British Music
Best Song Musically and Lyrically
"Strong" - Written and performed by Dominic Major, Hannah Reid and Daniel Rothman - London Grammar
Songwriter of the Year
Outstanding Song Collection
Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons - The Chemical Brothers
PRS for Music Special International Award
Reporting by Jack Stubbs