The 2013 BRIT awards are fast approaching. We therefore decided to choose our own winners from the nominees ahead of Wednesday’s ceremony at the O2 arena. Sorry Emeli Sandé, it’s nothing personal.
British Breakthrough Act: Jessie Ware
The divide between appeasing critics and actually charting has never seemed so grand, so Jessie Ware’s deft ability to successfully satisfy both camps is something in itself. Her career has evolved organically – look ma, no BRIT School! – from working with the likes of SBTRKT and Julio Bashmore to being dubbed by broadsheets across the land as “the new Sade”. Her buttery voice and emotional frankness may not be especially novel, but in today’s club-orientated climate, they prove all the more arresting and enticing. A no-brainer.
British Female Solo Artist: Bat for Lashes
With a cross-cultural style punctuated by icons of the isle’s glittering pop history (Kate Bush, Pet Shop Boys) Natasha Khan, better known as Bat For Lashes, represents the vibrancy and diversity of the modern UK music scene with a celebratory nod to its past. Over the last six years Khan has consistently churned out records of intricacy and intimacy, each overflowing with radio-friendly hooks, yet she has failed to earn a mainstream break. Over the last twelve months she has strengthened her position among the UK’s most alluring female artists, releasing her finest album to date The Haunted Man, which featured Impact’s top track of 2012, ‘Laura’.
British Group: One Direction
2012 was undoubtedly the year of the boy-band and One Direction took the world by storm. Dubbed the next Beatles by many, in the last year the patchwork five-some have sold more records than Mumford and Sons, Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian and Noel Gallagher put together. Though we think One Direction should palm off all other nominees in this category, Tom Meighan of Kasabian doesn’t quite agree calling the beautiful boys “five little dicks”.
British Live Act: Muse
Muse don’t just play gigs, they throw enormous, extravagant spectacles that delight and inspire. This is a tradition that hasn’t escaped their recent tour for their latest album The 2nd Law, known to most as the “dubstep album”. Six albums into their career and they still deliver a famously bombastic and thrilling live experience.
British Male Solo Artist: Richard Hawley
Despite missing out on The Mercury Prize for a second time, 2012 was still very much Richard Hawley’s year. After releasing his seventh studio album Standing at the Sky’s Edge, the Sheffield crooner couldn’t move without being surrounded by critical adoration for combining his trademark rich vocals with heavier instrumentation. It is only right that he tops off these achievements by upsetting the odds and winning Best British Male Solo Artist at the BRITs.
Global Success: Adele
In a relatively quiet year for Adele, she has still managed to find herself with two nominations. For the second year running, 21 was the top selling global album by a UK artist, racking up another 10 million sales and also became top selling album in the US for a second successive year. The album of lost love is now the fourth biggest selling of all time. Another messy break up and Adele could be the biggest selling artist of all time, ever, forever.
British Producer of the Year: Damon Albarn
One of Britain’s most charismatic figures, Damon Albarn, may only have produced one album in the last year, but Bobby Womack’s Bravest Man In The Universe certainly justified its audacious title. Albarn’s disciplined rhythms and clarity in production provided the ideal backdrop for Womack’s inimitable vocals. The transatlantic dynamic was a surprising one, but Albarn proved that his talents are no less remarkable when behind soundproof glass as a producer.
British Single: Rizzle Kicks – Mama Do the Hump
I’ve always thought of myself as a man of the people, so I thought I’d let The Rissle Kick’s most vocal fans of YouTube do the talking:
“I love them a lot because this is my type of music. And the dance is so…. so… you want to dance it. It’s really captivating.”; “I’ll be doing the hump until I die”; “THESE SEXY MEN ARE SINGLEHANDEDLY TO BLAME FOR RUINING MY OVARIES AT THE DETROIT SHOW LAST NIGHT”; “No Haha They Been About For Time”; “after hours of googling “whats the song that goes like nanananana na na na na na na na hi nana nooo nooooo nah nah” I found it”; “James Corden pops up on British television like a floater in a toilet bowl.”; “am i the only one that hears the scratching at the start saying ” f*ck em up” ???”
Can you say “voice of the people”?
Special Prize: War Child
War Child are an NGO founded in the UK in 1993, they have since set up divisions across the world and played a key role in repairing the damage done by the Bosnian War and subsequent crises all over the globe. War Child are best remembered in the musical world for releasing The Help Album in 1996. Featuring a plethora of artists including Radiohead (with a pre-OK Computer release of ‘Lucky’) Blur, Manic Street Preachers, The Stone Roses, Suede, Massive Attack, Portishead and supergroup Smokin’ Mojo Filters (Paul McCartney, Paul Weller, Noel Gallagher, Steve Cradock, Steve White and Carleen Anderson). This was followed by four further compilation albums, the proceeds from which went to their humanitarian work in Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Congo, Darfur and Ethiopia, but to name a few.
Critics’ Choice Award: Tom Odell
Chichester born youngster Tom Odell is an acoustic star who draws influences from Elton John and Bob Dylan. After also being nominated for MTV’s Brand New and BBC’s Sound of 2013, he will now join previous winners Jessie J and Adele in collect the prestigious Critics’ Choice Award. Look out for this man coming into this new year with his debut LP Long Way Down being released in April.
International Female Solo Artist: Taylor Swift
This year saw a new turn in the career of Taylor Swift. Although she continues to maintain the image of a love-struck teen, on this year’s Red, she grew up. For example, hit single ‘We Are Never Getting Back Together’ saw Swift being more assertive than previously, comparing favourably to the placid Swift of years gone by. This new mature image is much to Swifts benefit, and for that reason she is deserving of best international female solo artist.
International Group: Black Keys
In a similar vein to Biffy Clyro in the UK, The Black Keys have outlasted almost all their peers in the USA over the past decade, shifting from garage rock revivalist also-rans to global festival headliners with millions of sales under their belt. Their brand of retro-fried rock isn’t overtly complex but has proven dependable, powerful and supremely enjoyable. All that hard graft should earn them their first BRIT.
International Male Solo Artist: Frank Ocean
Frank Ocean crooned his way into Impact’s Top 10 albums of 2012 with Channel Orange. Ocean’s smooth, modernized but soulful version of R n B has made this member of OFWGKTA one of the most exciting vocalists at the moment to watch.
British Album of the Year: Alt-J – An Awesome Wave
Many people have likened the winners of this year’s Mercury prize to previous winners The XX, but there is so much more to Alt-J (named after the triangle function on Apple Macs): they are The XX2. One year ago you would have scoffed at the idea of some triangle lovers from Leeds being favourites for British Album of the Year, but that is the reality now after Alt-J’s luscious art rock debut An Awesome Wave. “Triangles are my favourite shape”, they sing on Tesselate, well Triangles are now many people’s favourite band and anything but a BRIT for Alt-J would be a travesty.
Be sure to come back to the Impact website on Wednesday evening for our live blogging of the event.
Gabriel Sattin, Jack Dixon, Adam Keyworth, Emily Shackleton, Liam Coleman, Ben James, Dan Jones & Fran Ozanne