Artist of the Week – William Orbit

Time now for another of our archive Artist of the Week features, dating back to early 2005. Some of these do contain errors, and probably contain some plagiarism too. Apologies in advance…

This week’s Artist of the Week was born William Wainwright, and would ultimately go on to become one of the most important musicians in the world of electronic ambient and dance music.

He began his musical career in the early 1980s in the new wave group Torch Song, and while recording with the band started to learn studio techniques, and by the end of the eighties was making a name for himself by remixing and producing the likes of Kraftwerk, The Human League, Erasure, and Madonna.

His first solo album Orbit was released in 1987, but it was with the Strange Cargo project that he started to make a name for himself. The first part of the four-album epic also came out in 1987, and was followed by parts two and three at three-year intervals. It was with these that he kick-started the career of folk singer Beth Orton, who first featured on 1993’s minor hit single Water from a Vine Leaf. The fourth album in the set, Strange Cargo Hinterland, followed in 1995, and features some of his best material to date.

It was at this time he first recorded his legendary Pieces in a Modern Style album, featuring inventive new interpretations of classical pieces, but it initially attracted very strong protests from some of the composers involved, so he re-entered the world of production, apparently never to be seen again.

However, it was with his production work that he truly made a name for himself, being responsible for some of All Saints‘ later material, as well as Ray of Light, one of Madonna‘s best albums to date, and also Blur‘s acclaimed album 13. On the back of this, he returned to the studio to re-record Pieces in a Modern Style, which swiftly made its name as a modern classic thanks to remixes by Ferry Corsten and ATB.

As rumours of a new album continue, he continues to work with the likes of Pink and Eagle-Eye Cherry on production work, and we await his return with baited breath.

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The BRIT Awards 2016

Quite rightly, you were very excited about the BRIT Awards this year, and you flocked in your hundreds to read my latest selection of The Best of the BRIT Awards. What I wasn’t able to do, mainly due to being on holiday, was list the winners for you. So here goes…

British Male Solo Artist

Nominees:

  • Aphex Twin
  • James Bay
  • Calvin Harris
  • Mark Ronson
  • Jamie xx

Winner: James Bay

British Female Solo Artist

Nominees:

  • Adele
  • Florence + The Machine
  • Jess Glynne
  • Laura Marling
  • Amy Winehouse

Winner: Adele

British Group

  • Blur
  • Coldplay
  • Foals
  • One Direction
  • Years & Years

Winner: Coldplay

British Breakthrough Act

  • James Bay
  • Catfish and the Bottlemen
  • Jess Glynne
  • Wolf Alice
  • Years & Years

Winner: Catfish and the Bottlemen

British Producer of the Year

  • Charlie Andrew
  • Mike Crossey
  • Tom Dalgety
  • Mark Ronson

Winner: Charlie Andrew

British Single

  • Adele – Hello
  • James Bay – Hold Back the River
  • Philip George – Wish You Were Mine
  • Jess Glynne – Hold My Hand
  • Ellie Goulding – Love Me Like You Do
  • Little Mix – Black Magic
  • Calvin Harris & Disciples – How Deep is Your Love
  • Olly Murs feat. Demi Lovato – Up
  • Ed Sheeran & Rudimental – Bloodstream
  • Years & Years – King

Winner: Adele

Mastercard British Album of the Year

  • Adele – 25
  • James Bay – Chaos and the Calm
  • Coldplay – A Head Full of Dreams
  • Florence + The Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
  • Jamie xx – In Colour

Winner: Adele

British Artist Video

  • Adele – Hello
  • Ellie Goulding – Love Me Like You Do
  • Calvin Harris & Disciples – How Deep is Your Love
  • Jessie J – Flashlight
  • Little Mix – Black Magic
  • Naughty Boy feat. Beyoncé & Arrow Benjamin – Runnin’ (Lose it All)
  • One Direction – Drag Me Down
  • Ed Sheeran – Photograph
  • Sam Smith – Writing’s on the Wall
  • Years & Years – King

Winner: One Direction

International Male Solo Artist

  • Justin Bieber
  • Drake
  • Kendrick Lamar
  • Father John Misty
  • The Weeknd

Winner: Justin Bieber

International Female Solo Artist

  • Courtney Barnett
  • Björk
  • Ariana Grande
  • Lana del Rey
  • Meghan Trainor

Winner: Björk. Again.

International Group

  • Alabama Shakes
  • Eagles of Death Metal
  • Major Lazer
  • Tame Impala
  • U2

Winner: Tame Impala. I bet U2 were furious – they always win this award.

Critics’ Choice

  • Izzy Bizu
  • Frances
  • Jack Garratt

Winner: Jack Garratt

Global Success

A special made-up award for Adele, because she was robbed in the International Male Solo Artist category and was so upset.

Well, that’s it for another year. See you next January for the latest nominees in the ADELE Awards.

The Best of the BRIT Awards

The 2016 BRIT Awards take place tonight, but unfortunately (well, fortunately, for me) I’m actually on holiday right now, so I’ll have to catch up when I’m back. In the meantime, here’s something I knocked up a few weeks ago – you could call it The BRIT Award Awards, or perhaps The Best of the BRIT Awards.

I’ve gone through each of the previous ceremonies, and worked out the most nominated and winning artists for each category. So here goes! For the most part, we’ll be using the current awards and names.

British Male Solo Artist

  • Phil Collins. Won 1986, 1989, 1990.
  • George Michael. Won 1988, 1997.
  • Cliff Richard. Won 1977, 1982. Nominated 1983, 1984, 1988, 1990.
  • Paul Weller. Won 1995, 1996, 2009.
  • Robbie Williams. Won 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003.

The winner is Robbie Williams, with four wins. Honourable mention to Ed Sheeran for scraping into sixth place.

International Male Solo Artist

  • Beck. Won 1997, 1999, 2000.
  • Eminem. Won 2001, 2003, 2005.
  • Prince. Won 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996.
  • Justin Timberlake. Won 2004, 2007. Nominated 2014.
  • Kanye West. Won 2006, 2008, 2009.

Winner: Prince, and an honourable mention for Bruno Mars, for just missing out on the nominations.

British Female Solo Artist

  • Kate Bush. Won 1987. Nominated 1986, 1988, 1990, 1993, 1995, 2006, 2012.
  • Dido. Won 2002, 2004. Nominated 2001.
  • Annie Lennox. Won 1984, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1996.
  • Alison Moyet. Won 1985, 1988. Nominated 1984, 1986, 2003.
  • Lisa Stansfield. Won 1991, 1992. Nominated 1990, 1993, 1995, 1998.

The winner is Annie Lennox, a tearaway success with six wins.

International Female Solo Artist

  • Beyoncé. Won 2004. Nominated 2007, 2009, 2012, 2015.
  • Björk. Won 1994, 1996, 1998. Nominated 2002, 2006, 2008, 2012, 2016.
  • Madonna. Won 2001, 2006. Nominated 1986, 1987, 1988, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1999.
  • Kylie Minogue. Won 2002, 2008. Nominated 1989, 1995, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2011.
  • Rihanna. Won 2011, 2012. Nominated 2008, 2010, 2013.

The winner is Björk, much loved and much deserved.

British Group

  • Arctic Monkeys. Won 2007, 2008, 2014. Nominated 2012.
  • Coldplay. Won 2001, 2003. 2012. Nominated 2006, 2009, 2015, 2016.
  • Manic Street Preachers. Won 1997, 1999.
  • Simply Red. Won 1993, shared win 1992.
  • Travis. Won 2000, 2002.

The winner, with three wins and rather more nominations than Arctic Monkeys, is Coldplay!

International Group

  • Bon Jovi. Won 1996. Nominated 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990.
  • Foo Fighters. Won 2008, 2012, 2015. Nominated 1996, 2003.
  • Kings of Leon. Won 2009. Nominated 2004, 2008, 2011, 2014.
  • R.E.M. Won 1992, 1993, 1995. Nominated 1997, 1999, 2002.
  • U2. Won 1988, 1989, 1990, 1998, 2001. Nominated 1992, 1993, 1994, 2005, 2006, 2016. Nominated for British Group 1985, 1986.

Winner: with five wins, U2.

British Producer of the Year

  • Brian Eno. Won 1994, 1996. Nominated 1988.
  • Flood. Co-won 2014. Nominated 1994, 1995, 2012, 2013.
  • Trevor Horn. Won 1983, 1985, 1992. Nominated 1984, 1986, 1987, 1993, 1995.
  • David A. Stewart. Won 1986, 1987, 1990. Nominated 1992.
  • Stock, Aitken and Waterman. Won 1988. Nominated 1987, 1990, 1992. Pete Waterman nominated separately in 1993.

Winner: Trevor Horn.

British Single

Adele and Coldplay tie for fifth and sixth place in the nominations, so we have six nominees:

  • Adele. Won 2013. Nominated 2009, 2012, 2016.
  • Blur. Won 1995. Nominated 1995 (again), 1996, 1998, 2000.
  • Coldplay. Won 2006. Nominated 2001, 2009, 2013.
  • Queen. Won 1977, 1992.
  • Take That. Won 1993, 1994, 1996, 2007, 2008. Nominated 1993 (twice more!)
  • Robbie Williams. Won 1999, 2000, 2001. Nominated 1998, 1999 (again), 2002, 2013.

Winner: Take That, with an honourable mention for Robbie Williams for taking part in several of their wins too.

British Artist Video

There are seven nominees in this category, because four artists are tied for the bottom position, with one win and two nominations.

  • All Saints. Won 1998. Nominated 1999, 2001.
  • Blur. Won 1995. Nominated 1996 (twice), 1998.
  • The Cure. Won 1990. Nominated 1991, 1993.
  • Peter Gabriel. Won 1987. Nominated 1993, 1994.
  • One Direction. Won 2014, 2015. Nominated 2016.
  • Spice Girls. Won 1997. Nominated 1997 (again), 1998.
  • Robbie Williams. Won 1999, 2000, 2001. Nominated 1999 (again), 2002 (twice).

Winner: Robbie Williams.

British Album

Six nominees again for this one:

  • Arctic Monkeys. Won 2007, 2008, 2014.
  • Blur. Won 1995. Nominated 1996, 2004.
  • Coldplay. Won 2001, 2003. Nominated 2006, 2009, 2012, 2016.
  • Florence + The Machine. Won 2010. Nominated 2012, 2016.
  • Manic Street Preachers. Won 1997, 1999. Nominated 1997.
  • Oasis. Won 1996. Nominated 1995, 1998.

That’s a decisive win for Arctic Monkeys!

And that’s your lot! If it seems a slightly odd list, think of it as a list of the typical nominees and winners at the BRITs. If you’re more interested in the ceremony that’s about to happen, that would be here.

Anyway, enjoy the ceremony tonight, and we’ll catch up on the results here very soon.

The BRIT Awards 2016 – Nominations

On the 24th of February this year, we’ll find out who has won a BRIT Award this year. Or more likely, who has won five, as that tends to be the way it goes. The nominations are spectacularly dull this year, as you’ll see below if you can bring yourself to keep reading – the only truly interesting thing is that they have changed some of the names this year…

British Artist Video

  • Adele – Hello
  • Ellie Goulding – Love Me Like You Do
  • Calvin Harris & Disciples – How Deep is Your Love
  • Jessie J – Flashlight
  • Little Mix – Black Magic
  • Naughty Boy feat. Beyonce & Arrow Benjamin – Runnin’ (Lose it All)
  • One Direction – Drag Me Down
  • Ed Sheeran – Photograph
  • Sam Smith – Writing’s on the Wall
  • Years & Years – King

British Breakthrough Act

  • James Bay
  • Catfish and the Bottlemen
  • Jess Glynne
  • Wolf Alice
  • Years & Years

That’s the same James Bay who won the Critics’ Choice last year (beating Years & Years), both of whom did pretty well on the charts in 2015, after all.

British Male Solo Artist

  • Aphex Twin
  • James Bay
  • Calvin Harris
  • Mark Ronson
  • Jamie xx

British Female Solo Artist

  • Adele
  • Florence + The Machine
  • Jess Glynne
  • Laura Marling
  • Amy Winehouse

British Group

  • Blur
  • Coldplay
  • Foals
  • One Direction
  • Years & Years

British Producer of the Year

  • Charlie Andrew
  • Mike Crossey
  • Tom Dalgety
  • Mark Ronson

British Single

  • Adele – Hello
  • James Bay – Hold Back the River
  • Philip George – Wish You Were Mine
  • Jess Glynne – Hold My Hand
  • Ellie Goulding – Love Me Like You Do
  • Little Mix – Black Magic
  • Calvin Harris & Disciples – How Deep is Your Love
  • Olly Murs feat. Demi Lovato – Up
  • Ed Sheeran & Rudimental – Bloodstream
  • Years & Years – King

Mastercard British Album of the Year

  • Adele – 25
  • James Bay – Chaos and the Calm
  • Coldplay – A Head Full of Dreams
  • Florence + The Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
  • Jamie xx – In Colour

International Male Solo Artist

  • Justin Bieber
  • Drake
  • Kendrick Lamar
  • Father John Misty
  • The Weeknd

International Female Solo Artist

  • Courtney Barnett
  • Björk
  • Ariana Grande
  • Lana del Rey
  • Meghan Trainor

Björk, the only non-British female who anybody cares about (seemingly) receives her sixty-third nomination in this category.

International Group

  • Alabama Shakes
  • Eagles of Death Metal
  • Major Lazer
  • Tame Impala
  • U2

Oh look, U2 rack up their six thousandth nomination in this category. Because so few other foreign groups are popular in the UK, apparently. It’s a shame R.E.M. haven’t been up to much recently.

Critics’ Choice

  • Izzy Bizu
  • Frances
  • Jack Garratt

The winner of which will be Jack Garratt.

Anyway, good luck to Aphex Twin, who is inexplicably nominated for just the third time ever. Other than that, if you care about any of those nominees, you can vote for some of them at the BRIT Awards website.

Q Awards 2015

So, with only a couple of weeks’ delay, it’s time for us to examine the winners at this year’s Q Awards. Who won the Q Best New Act Who Turned Up in the World Today award, presented by Trebor Extra-Strong Mints? Let’s find out…

Q Best Act in the World Today presented by Queen Bohemian Lager

Nominees:

  • Blur
  • Foals
  • Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
  • Muse
  • Ed Sheeran

Winner: Foals

Q Best Solo Artist presented by Citroën

Nominees:

  • Noel Gallagher
  • Ed Sheeran
  • Sam Smith
  • Taylor Swift
  • Kanye West

Winner: Ed Sheeran

Q Best New Act presented by Orange Amplification

Nominees:

  • Courtney Barnett
  • James Bay
  • The Bohicas
  • Circa Waves
  • Jess Glynne
  • Slaves
  • Soak
  • Songhoy Blues
  • Wolf Alice
  • Years & Years

Winner: James Bay

Q Best Track presented by Absolute Radio

Nominees:

  • Florence + The Machine – What Kind of Man
  • Foals – What Went Down
  • The Libertines – Gunga Din
  • New Order – Restless
  • Mark Ronson – Uptown Funk

Winner: The Libertines

Q Best Album presented by JBL

Nominees:

  • Blur – The Magic Whip
  • Everything Everything – Get to Heaven
  • Florence + The Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
  • Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Chasing Yesterday
  • Jamie xx – In Colour

Winner: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

Q Hero

Winner: Mark Ronson

Q Best Live Act presented by The Cavern Club

Nominees:

  • Catfish & The Bottlemen
  • The Libertines
  • Mumford & Sons
  • Royal Blood
  • Ed Sheeran

Winner: Royal Blood

Q Classic Song

Winner: Queen, for Bohemian Rhapsody

Q Classic Album

Winner: Soul II Soul, for Club Classics Vol. One

Q Innovation in Sound presented by Sony Xperia

Winner: Gary Numan

Gibson Les Paul Award

Winner: Tony Iommi

Q Outstanding Contribution to Music

Winner: New Order

Q Icon

Winner: Duran Duran

Q Best Video

Nominees:

  • Florence + The Machine – Ship to Wreck
  • Foals – What Went Down
  • Miguel – Coffee
  • Muse – Psycho
  • The Weeknd – Can’t Feel My Face

Winner: Florence + The Machine

Nice to see Gary Numan, Duran Duran, and New Order all honoured in one go. I’m not sure I ever thought I’d see Duran Duran turn up in an “icon” category, but there you are. There’s plenty of excellent bonus coverage on the Q magazine website, including Stephen Morris of New Order pretending to be Alan Partridge, Gary Numan and ze Jean-Michel Jarre talking about their collaboration, and Father Christmas talking about his days in Queen.

Q Awards 2015 – Nominees

Apologies for the slight delay, but this year Q decided to drag their heels somewhat about releasing their nominations, so this post got a little lost in the meantime. As always, there will no doubt be a slew of additional awards with near-identical names on the night, but for now, here are the nominees for the 2015 Q Awards:

Q Best New Act presented by Orange Amplification

  • Courtney Barnett
  • James Bay
  • The Bohicas
  • Circa Waves
  • Jess Glynne
  • Slaves
  • Soak
  • Songhoy Blues
  • Wolf Alice
  • Years & Years

Q Best Track presented by Absolute Radio

  • Florence + The Machine – What Kind of Man
  • Foals – What Went Down
  • The Libertines – Gunga Din
  • New Order – Restless
  • Mark Ronson – Uptown Funk

Q Best Video

  • Florence + The Machine – Ship to Wreck
  • Foals – What Went Down
  • Miguel – Coffee
  • Muse – Psycho
  • The Weeknd – Can’t Feel My Face

Q Best Album presented by JBL

  • Blur – The Magic Whip
  • Everything Everything – Get to Heaven
  • Florence + The Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
  • Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Chasing Yesterday
  • Jamie xx – In Colour

Q Best Live Act presented by The Cavern Club

  • Catfish & The Bottlemen
  • The Libertines
  • Mumford & Sons
  • Royal Blood
  • Ed Sheeran

Q Best Solo Artist presented by Citroën

  • Noel Gallagher
  • Ed Sheeran
  • Sam Smith
  • Taylor Swift
  • Kanye West

Q Best Act in the World Today presented by Queen Bohemian Lager

  • Blur
  • Foals
  • Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
  • Muse
  • Ed Sheeran

Since their album only came out the week these nominations were announced, I’m not sure how much of a chance New Order actually have, but you should definitely vote for them in every available category. Which is just one category – pick whatever you want for everything else. The awards take place next week.