The nominees for one of the biggest nights in British music were announced on Thursday, with some of the world’s most famous music superstars making their way onto the shortlist alongside some exciting rising talent.
Former-One Direction Harry Styles finds himself nominated for four awards, including the prestigious ‘Album of the Year’, ‘Song of the Year’, and ‘Artist of the Year’ categories. Joining him on four nominations is indie-rock duo Wet Leg. Off the back of their critically acclaimed self-titled debut, which was released in April 2022, this weird and wonderful double act are nominated alongside Styles in the ‘Album of the Year’. Their other nominations come in the ‘Best Group’, ‘Best Alternative/Rock’, and ‘Best New Artist’ categories.
The nominations have not been announced without controversy, however, with the list being heavily tilted towards male artists. All five nominees for ‘Artist of the Year’, including relative newcomers Fred Again and Central Cee, are men. The BRITs merged the ‘Male’ and ‘Female Artist of the Year’ categories in 2022 to include artists who identified as non-binary or genderfluid, a progressive step towards inclusion within the music industry.
A BRITs spokesperson stated that, whilst it was “disappointing” to see no female artists nominated for ‘Artist of the Year’, the awarding body were simply representing “trends based around the release schedule”. The lack of nominations for artists such as Mercury Prize nominee Self Esteem, as well as Mercury Prize winner Little Simz, were central to the critical reaction the BRITs received on Twitter.
R&B singer Mahalia also questioned why Pop/R&B had been grouped together into one category for the second year running, noting that this simply marginalised a British R&B scene which “right now is THRIVING”; all five nominees in both 2022 and 2023 are pop acts, meaning artists such as Raye, who’s new single 'Escapism' debuted at Number 1 in the UK Chart, miss out.
Outside of the controversy, however, some of the best global music talent has been recognised. Girl group Flo are the recipients of this year’s ‘Rising Star’ award, fighting off intense competition from South London songstress Cat Burns and DIY DJ-prodigy Nia Archives. A mix between Little Mix and Destiny’s Child, Flo are tipped for great things in 2023, having already won BBC Radio 1’s ‘Sound of 2023’.
From an international perspective, there are few surprises in the nominees announced on Thursday. Fresh from his jaw-dropping Glastonbury headline set, rap god Kendrick Lamar is nominated for ‘Best International Artist’. Pop legends Taylor Swift and Beyoncé, as well as newer but just as impressive acts Lizzo and Burna Boy, complete that list.
Blackpink have made history by becoming the first K-Pop group to ever be nominated for a BRIT award, with Sweden’s First Aid Kit, Los Angeles-born Gabriels, Canadian/American rap stars Drake & 21 Savage, and Ireland’s-own Fontaines DC providing them with stiff competition.
From the world of rock and alternative, the global successes of both The 1975’s Being Funny In A Foreign Language and Arctic Monkeys’ The Car, see both bands nominated for two awards each. Punk rock rising stars Nova Twins, who were a shock nominee for the 2022 Mercury Prize, find themselves nominated in the same categories as the above bands, making them the dark horses for this year’s BRITs.
Some of the UK’s hottest new talents have also been recognised in this year’s nominations. Eurovision star Sam Ryder, who has ridden the wave of his success with remarkable ease, finds himself up against Mercury Award nominee Kojey Radical, pop powerhouses Rina Sawayama and Mimi Webb, and the aforementioned indie tour-de-force Wet Leg.
As always, the categories that are hardest to call are ‘Song of the Year’ and ‘International Song of the Year’. Elton John and Ed Sheeran face stiff competition from grime star Dave, folk-pop star George Ezra, and TikTok famous LF System and Eliza Rose for the British Song of the Year, whilst the ‘International Song of the Year’ category contains hits from Jack Harlow, David Guetta, and OneRepublic, amongst others.
The BRIT Awards will be handed out on 11th February.
Cover image available from Brits
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