Brit Awards 2021

Women rule this year’s BRIT award nominations, and it’s about time...

This year’s BRIT award nominations have been announced by Radio 1’s Nick Grimshaw and winner of BRIT’s Rising Star for 2021, Griff. In a rather refreshing plot twist three female artists lead the way in the nominations, with Celeste, Arlo Parks and Dua Lipa taking three each. DJ Joel Corry and rap duo Young T and Bugsey also earn themselves three nominations. The BRIT awards have brought us many iconic moments in the past few years: Madonna being violently dragged down a flight of stairs by the neck of her cape, The 1975 smoking under the table, Este from HAIM becoming a viral meme as a “mystery drunk lady interrupts Liam Payne interview” to name just a few. Now we can look forward to what the 2021 ceremony has in store.

Just like in most industries, men have historically, and still are, the gatekeepers of the music industry, controlling the majority of record labels. There is also a disparate gender pay gap between male and female music artists, male acts make up the overwhelming majority of festival headliner slots and the Musician’s Union stated in 2020 that 81% of songs in the top 100 played on UK radio feature male artists. UK award shows have also been criticised for a lack of racial diversity and a few years ago the BRITs were accused of disregarding grime, the most up and coming genre in the UK at the time, focusing instead on predominantly white artists and genres. Last year’s BRIT awards were also condemned in the press for being male-dominated, with only four women nominated across twenty-five mixed gender slots available. It seems this year the BRITs are eager to disrupt this narrative and have announced the most diverse award show in its forty-four year history. Below we have a closer look at this year’s refreshingly inclusive list of nominees…

Mastercard Album of the Year

Arlo Parks- Collapsed in Sunbeams

Celeste- Not Your Muse

Dua Lipa- Future Nostalgia

J Hus- Big Conspiracy

Jessie Ware What’s Your Pleasure?

Female Solo Artist

Arlo Parks

Celeste

Dua Lipa

Jessie Ware

Lianne La Havas

Male Solo Artist

AJ Tracey

Headie One

J Hus

Joel Corry

Yungblud

British Group

Bicep

Biffy Clyro

Little Mix

The 1975

Young T & Bugsey

Breakthrough Artist

Arlo Parks

Bicep

Celeste

Joel Corry

Young T and Bugsey

British Single with Mastercard

220 Kid & GRACEY – Don’t Need Love

Aitch & AJ Tracey feat. Tay Keith – Rain

Dua Lipa – Physical

Harry Styles – Watermelon Sugar

Headie One feat. AJ Tracey and Stormzy – Ain’t It Different

Joel Corry feat. MNEK – Head & Heart

Nathan Dawe feat. KSI – Lighter

Regard & RAYE – Secrets

S1MBA feat. DTG – Rover

Young T & Bugsey feat. Headie One – Don’t Rush

International Female Artist

Ariana Grande

Billie Eilish

Cardi B

Miley Cyrus

Taylor Swift

International Male Solo Artist

Bruce Springsteen

Burna Boy

Childish Gambino

Tame Impala

The Weeknd

International Group

BTS

Fontaines D.C.

Foo Fighters

HAIM

Run The Jewels

BRIT’s Rising Star

Griff (winner)

Pa Salieu

Rina Sawayama

A Closer Look

Yes you read that right, albums by female artists really do make up four out of five nominations for Album of the Year; the most ever. In fact, in 2020 all five nominees were male. It’s also notable that four out of five of the nominees are also POC and this year’s nominees are overall, officially the most racially diverse ever.

Arlo Parks in perhaps the most notable BRIT nominee this year as she was a predominantly unknown artist this time last year, with successful singles such as ‘Hurt’ and ‘Caroline’ propelling her to fame during the Pandemic. She now has a critically acclaimed debut album and three BRIT nominations to her name. It’s been a pretty good year for this 20 year old and winning best album would surely be the cherry on top. Yet, Celeste’s debut album reached number one in the album charts, and let’s be honest the unstoppable Dua Lipa will take some beating in any category she appears in.

In terms of the British Group category, traditionally dominated by male rock bands, Nottingham hip-hop duo Young T & Bugsey especially stand out in this eclectic category which also includes the Irish electronic music duo Bicep. In fact, the inclusion of artists such as Bicep, Joel Corry and Nathan Dawe in this year’s nominations is notable as the BRIT’s have, in the past, been critiqued for their treatment of electronic music with DJ Jonas Blue slamming the awards for not including a separate category for the genre earlier this year, stating that DJ’s and producers stand little chance against mainstream pop artists. Jonas Blue may just be eating his words now as songs from UK DJ’s 220 KID, Joel Corry, Nathan Dawe and Regard are up for a chance of winning Best Single, indicating the dominance of dance music within the UK music scene right now. This year’s Male Solo Artist nominations also show the diverse range of genres the BRITs are now keen to include with Grime, Afroswing, Pop Punk and Electronic music all represented. Three out of five nominees are rappers, showcasing the power of rap in the UK currently.

This year’s nominations for once actually accurately represent the UK music scene, with widely popular and traditionally underground genres, such as grime and electronic music earning the respect they deserve, and female and racially diverse acts finally stealing the limelight. Now we just need festival organisers to catch up as many line-ups remain dominated by all male rock bands this summer, contrasting strongly with these BRIT nominees.

This year’s BRIT awards will take place at the later than usual date of May the 11th  and will be presented by Comedian Jack Whitehall. The ceremony is currently set to be a “test event” by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport with a live audience to evaluate the safety of gatherings. Dua Lipa is the favourite to be a big winner with her second album “Future Nostalgia” reaching platinum in the UK. But with such an eclectic mix of artists up for a chance of winning at the most prestigious UK music awards and a host of live performances to enjoy you won’t want to miss the show.

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