BRIT Awards 2017

This is one of those all-too-common posts where you probably know more about the subject than I do, but I still feel as though we should pay some lip service to the fortieth anniversary BRIT Awards!

This year’s ceremony was the 37th altogether, and celebrated many late geniuses, with statuette designed by Zaha Hadid, a tribute to George Michael, and several wins for David Bowie. It took place at The O2 in London on 22nd February, and was hosted by Dermot O’Leary and Emma Willis, who stepped in for Michael Bublé at the last minute.

Performances at the show came from Little MixBruno MarsEmeli SandéThe 1975Chris MartinKaty Perry and Skip MarleyThe Chainsmokers and Coldplay, Ed Sheeran feat. Stormzy, and Robbie Williams.

British Artist Video

Presented by Simon Cowell and Nicole Scherzinger. The nominees:

  • Adele – Send My Love (To Your New Lover)
  • James Arthur – Say You Won’t Let Go
  • Clean Bandit feat. Sean Paul & Anne-Marie – Rockabye
  • Coldplay – Hymn For The Weekend
  • Calvin Harris feat. Rihanna – This Is What You Came For
  • Jonas Blue feat. Dakota – Fast Car
  • Little Mix feat. Sean Paul – Hair
  • One Direction – History
  • Tinie Tempah feat. Zara Larsson – Girls Like
  • Zayn – Pillowtalk

Winner: One Direction

British Breakthrough Act

Presented by Nick Grimshaw and Rita Ora. The nominees:

  • Anne-Marie
  • Blossoms
  • Rag ‘n’ Bone Man
  • Skepta
  • Stormzy

The winner: Rag ‘n’ Bone Man

Critics’ Choice Award

Presented by Emeli Sandé. The nominees:

  • Anne-Marie
  • Dua Lipa
  • Rag ‘n’ Bone Man

The winner: Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, which surely must be cheating?

MasterCard British Album of the Year

Presented by Noel Gallagher. The nominees:

  • Davie Bowie – Blackstar
  • Kano – Made in the Manor
  • Michael Kiwanuka – Love & Hate
  • The 1975 – i like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it
  • Skepta – Konnichiwa

The winner: David Bowie

British Female Solo Artist

Presented by David Tennant. The nominees:

  • Anohni
  • Ellie Goulding
  • Lianne La Havas
  • Nao
  • Emeli Sandé

The winner: Emeli Sandé

British Male Solo Artist

Presented by Zane Lowe. The nominees:

  • David Bowie
  • Craig David
  • Kano
  • Michael Kiwanuka
  • Skepta

The winner: David Bowie

British Group

Presented by Maisie Williams and Romesh Ranganathan. The nominees:

  • Bastille
  • Biffy Clyro
  • Little Mix
  • The 1975
  • Radiohead

The winner: The 1975

British Single

Presented by Fearne Cotton and Holly Willoughby. The nominees:

  • James Arthur – Say You Won’t Let Go
  • Calum Scott – Dancing On My Own
  • Clean Bandit feat. Sean Paul & Anne-Marie – Rockabye
  • Coldplay – Hymn For The Weekend
  • Calvin Harris feat. Rihanna – This Is What You Came For
  • Jonas Blue feat. Dakota – Fast Car
  • Little Mix – Shout Out To My Ex
  • Tinie Tempah feat. Zara Larsson – Girls Like
  • Alan Walker – Faded
  • Zayn – Pillowtalk

Winner: Little Mix

International Female Solo Artist

Presented by Alice Levine, Clara Amfo, and Laura Jackson. The nominees:

  • Beyoncé
  • Christine and the Queens
  • Rihanna
  • Sia
  • Solange

The winner: Beyoncé

International Male Solo Artist

Also, presented by Alice Levine, Clara Amfo, and Laura Jackson. The nominees:

  • Bon Iver
  • Leonard Cohen
  • Drake
  • Bruno Mars
  • The Weeknd

The winner: Drake

International Group

Since they were still around, this was also presented by Alice Levine, Clara Amfo, and Laura Jackson. The nominees:

  • Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds
  • Drake & Future
  • Kings of Leon
  • A Tribe Called Quest
  • Twenty One Pilots

The winner: A Tribe Called Quest

BRITs Global Success

Presented by Naomi Campbell and Jonathan Ross

The winner: Adele

BRITs Icon Award

Because this is getting like the Q Awards with its multitude of identically-named awards. Presented by Take That.

Winner: Robbie Williams. Which I can’t help but feel reflects his success at the BRITs more than it does his performance generally, but well done to him anyway!

BRIT Awards 2017 – Nominations

The nominations for the BRIT Awards occasionally exhibit some interesting characteristics (only occasionally, though). Let’s take a quick skim through this year’s, to see if there’s anything worth talking about.

British Artist Video

  • Adele – Send My Love (To Your New Lover)
  • James Arthur – Say You Won’t Let Go
  • Clean Bandit feat. Sean Paul & Anne-Marie – Rockabye
  • Coldplay – Hymn For The Weekend
  • Calvin Harris feat. Rihanna – This Is What You Came For
  • Jonas Blue feat. Dakota – Fast Car
  • Little Mix feat. Sean Paul – Hair
  • One Direction – History
  • Tinie Tempah feat. Zara Larsson – Girls Like
  • Zayn – Pillowtalk

British Breakthrough Act

  • Anne-Marie
  • Blossoms
  • Rag ‘n’ Bone Man
  • Skepta
  • Stormzy

MasterCard British Album of the Year

  • Davie Bowie – Blackstar
  • Kano – Made in the Manor
  • Michael Kiwanuka – Love & Hate
  • The 1975 – i like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it
  • Skepta – Konnichiwa

British Female Solo Artist

  • Anohni
  • Ellie Goulding
  • Lianne La Havas
  • Nao
  • Emeli Sandé

British Male Solo Artist

  • David Bowie
  • Craig David
  • Kano
  • Michael Kiwanuka
  • Skepta

British Group

  • Bastille
  • Biffy Clyro
  • Little Mix
  • The 1975
  • Radiohead

British Single

  • James Arthur – Say You Won’t Let Go
  • Calum Scott – Dancing On My Own
  • Clean Bandit feat. Sean Paul & Anne-Marie – Rockabye
  • Coldplay – Hymn For The Weekend
  • Calvin Harris feat. Rihanna – This Is What You Came For
  • Jonas Blue feat. Dakota – Fast Car
  • Little Mix – Shout Out To My Ex
  • Tinie Tempah feat. Zara Larsson – Girls Like
  • Alan Walker – Faded
  • Zayn – Pillowtalk

International Female Solo Artist

  • Beyoncé
  • Christine and the Queens
  • Rihanna
  • Sia
  • Solange

International Male Solo Artist

  • Bon Iver
  • Leonard Cohen
  • Drake
  • Bruno Mars
  • The Weeknd

International Group

  • Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds
  • Drake & Future
  • Kings of Leon
  • A Tribe Called Quest
  • Twenty One Pilots

It looks as though the main headlines this year are that we all miss David Bowie, Drake is so good that he’s both a male and a group, and somehow Craig David still has a career. The awards will be, err… awarded at The O2 in London on 22nd February, and you can read more and vote for some of the categories here.

Mercury Prize 2016

Like me, you might have missed this year’s Mercury Prize, which took place on 15th September at London’s Hammersmith Apollo. Last year’s was much later in the year, and so I hadn’t quite expected it to happen yet, but it has, and here we are.

The Nominees

For those who aren’t familiar with the Mercury Prize, it’s just one award, and there is a shortlist of twelve nominees each year. This year:

  • Anohni – Hopelessness
  • Bat for Lashes – The Bride
  • David Bowie – Blackstar
  • The Comet is Coming – Channel the Spirits
  • Kano – Made in the Manor
  • Michael Kiwanuka – Love and Hate
  • Laura Mvula – The Dreaming Room
  • The 1975 – I Like It When You Sleep, for You are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It
  • Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
  • Savages – Adore Life
  • Skepta – Konnichiwa
  • Jamie Woon – Making Time

According to the BBC’s analysis, David Bowie received the highest critical rating, and was also one of several of the acts whose album topped the UK charts, as well as Michael Kiwanuka, Radiohead, and The 1975. Kano‘s album received the lowest critical rating, and The Comet is Coming, whose album was self-released, were the only act who didn’t make the charts.

As always, this was a real mixture of styles and approaches. Anohni, also known as Antony of Antony and the Johnsons, and now working on her own solo material, switches chamber pop for electronics, while other releases include “a baroque concept album about a woman whose fiancé is killed on the way to their wedding”, R&B, grime, pop-rock, and cosmic jazz.

The Shortlist

Just to add a bit more excitement, there was a public vote, which chose The 1975, and carried it through to the shortlist on the night, along with the five chosen by the judging panel, giving a shortlist of six. That list looked like this:

  • David Bowie – Blackstar
  • Michael Kiwanuka – Love and Hate
  • Laura Mvula – The Dreaming Room
  • The 1975 – I Like It When You Sleep, for You are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It
  • Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
  • Skepta – Konnichiwa

This process made The Comet is Coming rather upset, but never mind

The Winner

Ultimately, in Jarvis Cocker‘s words, David Bowie would have chosen Skepta as the winner, and so he wins the Mercury Prize for 2016. Congratulations to him, and remember to look up his mum dancing at the podium.

The Coverage

You can read the BBC’s coverage of the nominations here, and some additional detail here. NME looked at the winner here, and the fallout here. This is the official Mercury Prize website.