- 19 Feb 20
Lewis Capaldi won, Irish nominees missed out, and the Academy came under fire for its lack of female nominees.
Another BRITS Award ceremony has come and gone. This time, rising star Lewis Capaldi walked away with wins for Best New Artist and Song of the Year while homegrown artists Dermot Kennedy and Joy Crookes lost in their respective categories, and nominees, winners and even the host were not afraid to get political.
Lewis Capaldi is on the up-and-up. In what feels like no time at all, the Scottish singer rose from obscurity to selling out shows and topping charts with his debut full-length Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent. He was nominated for British Male Solo Artist, Album of the Year, Best New Artist and Song of the Year (for 'Someone You Loved'), scooping up wins for the latter two categories but losing to the hip hop surge in the first two. He lost out on the British Male award to Stormzy and the Album award to Dave's Psychodrama.
Capaldi retained his signature humility as he accepted the award: "Thank you so much, this has been the best year of my life."
He spoke to Hot Press last year about the sudden rise to fame. "It's a pretty mad. Hopefully it doesn't slow down and I won't become unemployed." He's now set to join Niall Horan on a tour around the U.S. that kicks off in April.
Dermot Kennedy was nominated for International Male Solo Artist, but lost to rapper and producer Tyler, the Creator, who was banned from the UK in 2015 over his lyrical content. He joked about the recently-lifted restriction in his acceptance speech: "I want to give a special shout-out to someone who I hold dear to my heart, who made it that I couldn't come to this country five years ago.
Hot for 2020 Irish singer Joy Crookes was nominated for the Rising Star award, but lost to Brighton soul singer Celeste. Joy Crookes release two EPs last year and told Hot Press, "I was gonna put out a third one this year, but I just thought ‘I’m not gonna be a crazy woman'." She plans on releasing her debut full-length this year.
Billie Eilish also stunned with her performance of new James Bond theme, 'No Time to Die', with Hans Zimmer, Johnny Marr and her brother Finneas O'Connell. The track was just released last week to rave reviews.
The rise of hip hop winners, including Tyler, the Creator, Stormzy and Dave, show a positive change in the diversity of the awards. There was a #BritsSoWhite outcry in 2016, to which the Academy responded by including more women and people of colour in the voting process.
But the praise for hip hop wasn't enough for the Academy to escape criticism. This year, the lack of female nominees became a theme for the evening. Mabel, who won the British Female Solo Artist award, was the only British woman to be shortlisted across the gender inclusive categories.
Foals talked about their desire to see more women in their category next year in their acceptance speech for the British Group award, for which no women were nominated. Host Jack Whitehall also took a jab at the Academy as he introduced the Female Artist nominees: "In the spirit of sustainability, the Brits has been recycling all the same excuses for why so few women were nominated. In this category, though, they didn’t have a choice."
Dave took a jab at Boris Johnson, who he called a "real racist" in a new verse on Psychodrama track 'Black'.
Caroline Flack's death also weighed heavy on the ceremony. The former Love Island host died by suicide on Saturday, sparking a global online conversation about mental health. Ex-boyfriend Harry Styles donned a black ribbon in tribute to Flack and Whitehall opened the ceremony with a tribute, calling her "a kind and vibrant person with an infectious sense of fun".
See the full list of winners and nominees below.
British Female Solo Artist
Mabel - WINNER
British Male Solo Artist
Stormzy - WINNER
Album Of The Year
Dave: Psychodrama - WINNER
Harry Styles: Fine Line
Lewis Capaldi: Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent
Michael Kiwanuka: Kiwanuka
Stormzy: Heavy Is The Head
Best New Artist
Lewis Capaldi - WINNER
Bring Me The Horizon
Foals - WINNER
International Female Solo Artist
Billie Eilish - WINNER
Lana Del Rey
International Male Solo Artist
Tyler, the Creator - WINNER
Song of the Year
AJ Tracey - Ladbroke Grove
Calvin Harris and Rag'n'Bone Man - Giant
Dave feat. Burna Boy - Location
Ed Sheeran feat. Justin Bieber - I Don't Care
Lewis Capaldi - Someone You Loved - WINNER
Mabel - Don't Call Me Up
Mark Ronson feat. Miley Cyrus - Nothing Breaks Like a Heart
Sam Smith feat. Normani - Dancing With A Stranger
Stormzy - Vossi Bop
Tom Walker - Just You and I
Producer of The Year
Fred again... - WINNER
Celeste - WINNER