With the Brit Awards soon approaching, let’s shine a light on this year’s controversial nominations…
Last year, the Brits swapped the gendered categories for more progressive (at least we thought) non-gendered categories to be more inclusive. Despite the attempted step forward, they ended up taking three steps as the coveted ‘Artist of the Year’ submissions are all in fact MALE.
The artists that are nominated include: Central Cee, Fred Again.., George Ezra, Harry Styles and Stormzy. Although each artist is great in their own right, I believe some are stronger than others. Harry Styles who has become a worldwide pop superstar is a justified pick and I predict he will win every award he is up for. And despite both being relatively new artists, both king of electronic music Fred again and rapper Central Cee have gone global finding huge success in the US.
Regardless of Stormzy’s incredible past projects, I don’t think he had an extremely standout year in 2022. His newest album, ‘This is what I mean’ although beautiful, for me fell a little flat especially in comparison to the work of Little Simz or Loyle Carner bringing a more refreshing sound. Lastly, George Ezra seems like an odd pick for a Top 5 artist of 2022 as his third album ‘Gold Rush Kid’ sounds extremely similar to the other two with no real excitement or change.
Due to the all-male list not representing the talent and diversity of the UK music industry, here are some of the women I believe deserve to be in this category and why:
- Florence + The Machine: Her 2022 album ‘Dance Fever’ earnt her a fourth UK Number 1. Emotive lyrics collided with blissful choruses to create a powerful record. Singles such as ‘Free’ and ‘My Love’ standout with a new refreshingly euphoric sound. The combination of exciting new music, excellent singles, and Number 1 charting in 2022 surely should have earnt Florence and the machine a BRIT nomination.
- Little Simz: At the very end of the year, she released a surprise album ‘NO THANK YOU’. A complex project where she airs her frustration with the music industry and choosing to become an independent artist. Her unique voice, flow and lyricism highlight that she is a force to be reckoned with and if not nominated for artist of the year she should have been considered for the Hip Hop/ Grime category
- Charli XCX: It has been an exciting year for Charli, as she reached number 1 on the UK charts for the first time with her 5th studio album ‘CRASH’. It is an incredibly fun, experimental, and well produced album that really embodies the genre of pop. Charli also released successful singles including ‘Hot In It’ and ‘Beg For You’ and collaborated with a variety of noteworthy artists such as Rina Sawayama, Tiesto and Caroline Polachek.
Brit award academy judges when deciding the best artist of 2022: (52) Name A Woman (Billy on the Street) – YouTube
Another extremely disappointing thing to see was the category of ‘Best pop/R&B Act’ being full of ONLY pop acts. Personally, I think it’s insulting to the genre itself as well as any British R&B act as they don’t even get a look in being paired with UK’s most POPular genre. The nominees were Cat Burns, Charli XCX, Dua Lipa, Harry Styles and Sam Smith, all exceptional pop artists, although I find it surprising that they couldn’t add a single R&B artist despite three out of five not releasing an album in 2022. British singer songwriter and producer MNEK took to Twitter to share his frustration on the matter. He said: “OK this is silly now. we get it. UK industry doesn’t know what to do with R&B but there’s enough R&B artists to have their own category at LEAST”.
My last bone to pick (I know there’s been a few) is with the ‘Best Hip Hop/Grime/Rap Act’ as in my opinion they have added Stormzy and Dave perhaps due to popularity reasons rather than purely being based off music completed in 2022. For example, Dave had a huge year in 2021 with an extraordinary album, winning him Best Hip Hop act as well as the most prestigious award – ‘Album of the year’ – which was completely well-earned. However, in 2022 Dave only released 2 singles with only ‘starlight’ gaining success, is this enough to take a spot in this category?
Personally, I would love to see Knucks being recognised for his incredible talent in this category and possibly even ‘Album of the Year’ as ‘ALPHA PLACE’ is such a strong album with great storytelling, and unique style.