Q Awards 2017

The 2017 Q Awards in association with Absolute Radio (for that was the ceremony’s now drearily over-commercial name) took place at the Roundhouse in London on 18th October, hosted by Christian O’Connell. Let’s take a quick look at who won, and probably also a quick chuckle at the ridiculously long commercialised award names while we’re at it.

Of course, on the plus side, the sponsorship of individual awards does help you tell all the almost-identically-named ones apart…

Q Best Breakthrough Act, presented by Red Stripe

Nominees:

  • The Big Moon
  • Formation
  • Girl Ray
  • HMLTD
  • The Moonlandingz
  • Pumarosa
  • Rag ‘n’ Bone Man
  • Sampha
  • Shame
  • Stefflon Don

Winner: Rag ‘n’ Bone Man

Q Best Live Act, presented by Cavern Club

Nominees:

  • Liam Gallagher
  • The Killers
  • Lorde
  • Radiohead
  • Stormzy

Winner: Liam Gallagher

Q Maverick, presented by Roundhouse

Winner: Viv Albertine

Q Innovation In Sound

Winner: Wiley

Q Best Video, presented by Pretty Green

Nominees:

  • Eagles of Death Metal – Nos Amis (Our Friends)
  • Iggy Pop & Josh Homme – American Valhalla
  • The Rolling Stones – Havana Moon
  • Sleaford Mods – Bunch of Kunst
  • The The – The Inertia Variations

Winner: Sleaford Mods

Q Best Track, presented by Flare Audio

Nominees:

  • Liam Gallagher – Wall of Glass
  • Kasabian – You’re in Love with a Psycho
  • Kendrick Lamar – Humble
  • Lorde – Green Light
  • Ed Sheeran – Shape of You

Winner: Kasabian

Q Best Album, presented by The Box Plus Network

Nominees:

  • Gorillaz – Humanz
  • Kendrick Lamar – DAMN
  • Sleaford Mods – English Tapes
  • Stormzy – Gang Signs & Prayer
  • The xx – I See You

Winner: Gorillaz

Q Best Solo Artist presented by Help Musicians UK

Nominees:

  • Liam Gallagher
  • Lana del Rey
  • Ed Sheeran
  • St. Vincent
  • Stormzy

Winner: Stormzy

Q Best Act In The World Today, presented Buster & Punch

Nominees:

  • The 1975
  • Adele
  • Depeche Mode
  • Queens of the Stone Age
  • Ed Sheeran

Winner: Ed Sheeran

Q Icon, presented by BMW

Winner: Liam Gallagher

Q Gibson Les Paul Award

Winner: Kelley Deal

Q Inspiration, presented by Three

Winner: Manic Street Preachers

You can read our coverage of previous years, starting with the 2016 awards here.

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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

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.

The Top Twenty BRIT Award Artists (by nominations)

We covered the top artists (by number of awards) last year. I’ve loaded in a whole load more information now, but inevitably it doesn’t look awfully different. So for a bit of variety, here are the most nominated artists:

  1. Robbie Williams – 25 nominations, 13 awards
  2. Coldplay – 22 nominations, 7 awards
  3. George Michael – 19 nominations, 3 awards
  4. Oasis – 18 nominations, 6 awards
  5. Elton John – 17 nominations, 4 awards
  6. Take That – 16 nominations, 9 awards
  7. Blur – 16 nominations, 5 awards
  8. Radiohead – 15 nominations, no awards
  9. Jamiroquai – 14 nominations, no awards
  10. Annie Lennox – 13 nominations, 8 awards
  11. Simply Red – 13 nominations, 3 awards
  12. Kylie Minogue – 13 nominations, 3 awards
  13. Kate Bush – 13 nominations, 1 award
  14. Craig David – 13 nominations, no awards
  15. U2 – 12 nominations, 7 awards
  16. Lisa Stansfield – 12 nominations, 2 awards
  17. Phil Collins – 11 nominations, 5 awards
  18. Prince – 11 nominations, 5 awards
  19. Pet Shop Boys – 11 nominations, 3 awards
  20. Muse – 11 nominations, 2 awards

Another Five Fascinating BRIT Awards Facts

You may have seen the previous posts: Five Fascinating BRIT Awards Facts, and Five More Fascinating BRIT Awards Facts. Admittedly, they’re not always as fascinating as the title may suggest.

Hedging Their Bets

Every once in a while, an artist will manage to fill up the nominations with several instances of their own name. This has happened a number of times:

  • Adam and the Ants, 1982, Best British Single – Prince Charming and Stand and Deliver. Won by the only other record in the caregory, Tainted Love by Soft Cell
  • Angelo Badalamenti, 1991, Best Soundtrack/Cast Recording – Twin Peaks and Wild at Heart
  • Frankie Goes to Hollywood, 1985, Best British Single – Relax and Two Tribes. Won by Relax
  • Gareth Gates, 2003, Best British SingleAnyone of Us and Unchained Melody. Won by Liberty X‘s Just a Little
  • The Prodigy, 1997, Best British Video – Breathe and Firestarter. Won by Spice Girls (below)
  • Spice Girls, 1997, Best British Video – Say You’ll Be There and Wannabe. Won by Say You’ll Be There
  • Wham!, 1985, Best British VideoLast Christmas and Wake Me Up Before You Go Go. Lost to Duran Duran‘s Wild Boys
  • Robbie Williams, 1999, Best British Single – Angels and Millennium. Won by Angels. Also, the same year, Best British Video – Let Me Entertain You and Millennium. Won by Millennium. Then in 2002, Best British Video – Supreme and Kids. Lost to So Solid Crew‘s 21 Seconds

Just twice, an artist has managed three nominations in a single category:

  • Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers, 1990, Best British SingleSwing the Mood, That’s What I Like, and Let’s Party. All three lost to Phil Collins‘s Another Day in Paradise
  • Take That, 1993, Best British SingleCould it Be MagicA Million Love Songs, and It Only Takes a MinuteCould it Be Magic won

Define “Newcomer”

Logically, it should also be impossible to be nominated for Best Breakthrough Act (or Newcomer) more than once. But a few acts have snuck around that technicality:

  • Atomic Kitten – nominated for Best British Newcomer in both 2001 and 2002
  • Death in Vegas – nominated for the first round of the Best British Newcomer award in both 2000 and 2001
  • Seal – nominated for Best British Newcomer in 1992, despite a nomination for Best British Video (for Crazy) the previous year

Also, in normal circumstances, you might expect a newcomer to keep coming back for more, but a surprising number of acts have won a Best Newcomer award (British or international), and have never received any other nominations:

  • A1 (British, 2001)
  • Belle and Sebastian (British, 1999)
  • Julie Covington (British Female, 1977)
  • Lisa Loeb (International, 1995)
  • Graham Parker (British Male, 1977)
  • PM Dawn (International, 1992)

Best Solo Artist?

  • Roland Gift from Fine Young Cannibals – nominated for Best British Male Solo Artist in 1990, despite not releasing solo material until 2002
  • Mick Hucknall from Simply Red – nominated for Best British Male Solo Artist in 1993, despite not releasing solo material until 2008
  • Annie Lennox – nominated for Best British Female Solo Artist in 1984, 1985, 1986, 1989, 1990, and 1992, despite not beginning her solo career in earnest until 1992
  • Robert Smith from The Cure – nominated for Best British Male Solo Artist in 1991, despite never having released a solo album

A Second Chance

Normally, BRITs rules dictate that you can only be nominated if you released an album the preceding year. But it doesn’t always seem to work like that:

  • Adamski – Killer was nominated for Best British Video in 1991, and then proceeded to win in 1992
  • Craig David – nominated for Born to Do It in the Best British Album category in both 2001 and 2002
  • Dire Straits – nominated for Brothers in Arms in the Best British Album category in 1986, and then again in 1987. It won the second time
  • Alicia Keys – nominated for Best International Album for Songs in A Minor in 2002 and 2003. Neither won
  • Outkast – nominated twice for Best International Album for Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, in both 2004 and 2005
  • Radiohead – nominated for Best British Album for Kid A in both 2001 and 2002

British or not British?

Irish group U2 must have been a little taken aback in 1985, when they were nominated for Best British Group, and also Best British Album for The Unforgettable Fire. The following year, they were nominated again for Best British Group.

Then in 1988, they dramatically ceased to be British, with a nomination (and win) in the Best International Artist category. They proceeded to win that or the Best International Group award for most of the next couple of decades.

Finally, many wins down the line, they were nominated for Best British Single in 2005, thanks to their collaboration (in the loosest sense) with LMC on Take Me to the Clouds Above.

BRIT Award Losers

A number of enormous artists have never won a BRIT, and some have even been tantalisingly nominated a large number of times. Here’s a list of some of the biggest:

Bob Dylan

As with many of the artists on this list, he had completed much of his career prior to the start of the BRITs, and also as an “international” artist he was never going to be quite so favoured, but he’s still received surprisingly few nominations.

Nominated in 2002 for Best International Male Solo Artist, and in 2007 for the same award and also Best International Album for Modern Times.

Gorillaz

Despite being pretty enormous, they have remained almost entirely unrecognised by the BRITs. Nominated in 2002 for Best British Newcomer, Best British Dance Act, Best British Single, and Best British Video (the latter two for Clint Eastwood), then in 2006 for Best British Group and Best British Album for Demon Days, and most recently in 2011 for Best British Group. Each was won by someone else.

PJ Harvey

One of the BRITs’ regulars for the Best British Female award, alongside Alison Moyet and Annie Lennox (nominated in 1994, 1996, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2005, and 2008), she has never actually managed to win. Also nominated in 2012 for Best British Album for Let England Strike.

Madness

Despite being very active during the early years of the BRITs, they managed just three nominations – Best British Group in 1982 and 1984, and Best British Album for Complete Madness in 1983.

Pink Floyd

Nominated just four times – twice for Best British Group, and twice for Best British Album. The first pair was in 1977, for Dark Side of the Moon, and the second in 1995 for The Division Bell. None won.

Pulp

Surprisingly nominated only four times too, all in 1996 – for Best British Group, Best British Album for Different Class, Best British Single for Common People, and Best British Video, also for Common People.

Rolling Stones

Nominated a paltry three times – in 1977 for Best British Group, in 1995 for Best British Video for Love is Strong, and again in 1996 for Like a Rolling Stone.

Bruce Springsteen

Nominated for the Best International Male Solo Artist award eight times – in 1985, 1987, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2011. With no wins, and no other nominations.

Tina Turner

Nominated in 1986, 1990, 1991, and 1994 for Best International Female Solo Artist, plus in 1977 for Best International Pop Single for River Deep, Mountain High, and in 1990 for Best Video for Simply the Best. Again, none of them won.

Stevie Wonder

Not only has Stevie Wonder never Won; he’s barely even managed any nominations. In 1985 he snuck a nomination in for The Woman in Red with Dionne Warwick, in the Best Soundtrack / Cast Recording category. In 2010, he was nominated for a BRITs Hits 30, in duet with Annie Lennox on There Must Be An Angel (Playing with My Heart). In fact, he has managed just two nominations: Best International Pop Album in 1977 for Songs in the Key of Life, and Best International Solo Artist in 1986.

The Top Three

Three artists have been nominated an astonishing number of times, and have also managed to fail an astonishing number of times.

  1. Radiohead – nominated 15 times
  2. Jamiroquai – nominated 14 times
  3. Craig David – nominated 13 times

It was probably Bo Selecta‘s fault.