Photo Credit: Brit Awards 2021
It’s time to get your Spotify playlists in order and keep an ear out for the radio – the BRIT Awards are back! The awards ceremony was delayed from its usual date of February to May 11th, due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Returning host, Jack Whitehall, will be presenting the show for the fourth year running.
Leading the pack with three nominations each are Dua Lipa, Arlo Parks, Celeste, Young T & Bugsey, and Joel Corry – a prompt turnaround from 2020’s male domination of the show’s categories.
Last year, the BRIT Awards were embroiled in controversy over the lack of female nominees – an error which highlighted the prominent lack of support for women in the industry. This year, the organisers of the awards have gone above and beyond to address the concerns surrounding all areas of inclusivity; for the first time in history, four out of five of the nominees for the British Album category are women, and over half of the nominees in key categories are non-white artists.
The 2021 ceremony also made headlines earlier this year, when the British Phonographic Industry amended the rules with regards to the eligibility criteria. With the new rules in place, artists who have been a resident in the UK for more than five years can now qualify for the main prizes. The change was brought to fruition when Japanese-British artist Rina Sawayama was told she could not compete for prizes last year under the Mercury Prize or the BRIT Awards – despite having been a resident in the UK for twenty-six years. Sawayama won her case to be included, and has since been nominated for the BRIT’s 2021 Rising Star Award.
Nevertheless, critics have still been vocal on other areas of the show that lack inclusion. Three-time BRIT Award-winning artist Sam Smith has previously condemned the awards for the use of gendered categories altogether. After coming out as non-binary last year, Smith said they felt the BRITS left little room for people who did not identify as either male or female. In a now-deleted Instagram post, the singer commented:
“One of my earliest achievements was winning Critics’ Choice in 2014… Music for me has always been about unification not division. I look forward to a time where awards shows can be reflective of the society we live in. Let’s celebrate everybody regardless of gender, race, age, ability, sexuality, and class.”Sam Smith
A spokesperson from the awards show has since said in a statement that the BRIT Awards are still deciding on the direction needed to be inclusive of all genders in their nomination system.
The international categories for Best Male Solo Artist and Best Group, in comparison, have been praised for their diversity. Male solo artists include Nigerian musician Burna Boy, Australia’s Tame Impala, and Canada’s The Weeknd, while the groups category has opened its doors for the first time to K-Pop with a nomination for boyband BTS. However, it should be noted that American artists still dominate the Female Solo Artist category.
The first performers for the event were announced just before the nominees, with global pop star Dua Lipa and 2021 Rising Star Award-winner Griff kicking off the line-up. They will be performing at the event on May 11th, although the venue has yet to be confirmed. You can keep up to date with upcoming news on the show here.
See the full list of nominees below!
BRIT AWARDS 2021: THE NOMINEES
2021 Female Solo Artist (in association with Amazon Music):
Lianne La Havas
2021 Male Solo Artist (in association with Amazon Music):
2021 British Group:
Young T & Bugsey
Young T & Bugsey
2021 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?’
2021 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 & 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’
2021 International Female Solo Artist:
2021 International Male Solo Artist:
2021 International Group:
Run The Jewels
2021 Rising Star Award:
Griff – WINNER
Words by Charlie Colville