It is that time of the year again. We’re in the hangover of 2012 and trying to remember all the reasons it was so good. There were countless live music events that made it a historic year for British music, the Olympic ceremonies and Jubilee concert to name just two, and so now it’s time to look back over the appearances, festival slots and set lists and decide who was the best. The Brit Awards are back.
The Brit Awards are a very unique awards show, and, despite my musical preferences not being at all represented by it, I find the whole ceremony does something that other award shows just can’t. The Brit Awards bring together and generalise music in such a way that, despite there obviously being a winner, shows that good music has no genre. Although the majority of the nominees are always going to be the most popular pop artists from the year (X-Factor winners and the most media-friendly boy bands), there is still a sense of equality with the Brits and a feeling that anyone can win one and everyone is represented at some level. It just serves to remind us that music is something special and all these people are in the same business, all struggling and creating so that we can all hear their music.
The list of nominations was released last week, and, after a year of mass media hype and constant public spotlight on a number of British artists, it isn’t surprising to see who has made the cut. Here is the full list, and I am going to give you my prediction for each category and see who I think will get each prize this year and why.
British Breakthrough Act
My choice: Alt-J – This choice is not because I think they are the best, or even most accomplished, musicians on this list, but because in terms of breaking through Alt-J have undoubtedly captured the sound of the time, and have really broken through from nothing to become a given on any ‘best of 2012’ list.
British Female Solo Artist
Bat for Lashes
My choice: Emile Sandé – Since winning the Critics’ Choice Award last year, Emile has truly proven herself worthy of it. Her Olympic performances showed that she has the confidence and ability to become one of the biggest female stars across the world, let alone just Britain.
British Male Solo Artist
My choice: Calvin Harris – Even though we probably all know him best for ‘Acceptable In The ’80s’, Calvin Harris has been producing and creating music non-stop this year, and everything he does still sounds incredibly powerful. To add to that, his list of collaborators must prove that he’s a very sought after male artist.
Mumford & Sons
My choice: One Direction – Though there are bands which I (much) prefer on this list, and considering I have never listened to One Direction by choice, I think it would be naive to say that they haven’t made a massive impact, bigger than the others for sure, on British pop music. They are more versatile, universal and accessible than other bands in this category.
Olly Murs ft. Flo Rida, Troublemaker
Alex Clare Too Close
Coldplay & Rihanna Princess of China
DJ Fresh Ft Rita Ora Hot Right Now
Emeli Sandé Next To Me
Florence & The Machine Spectrum
James Arthur Impossible
Jessie J Domino
Labrinth Ft Emeli Sandé Beneath Your Beautiful
Rita Ora Ft Tinie Tempah R.I.P.
Rizzle Kicks Mama Do The Hump
Robbie Williams Candy
Rudimental Ft John Newman Feel The Love
Stooshe Black Heart
My choice: Emeli Sandé Next To Me – Looking through this list, there were a few that came to head in a way that I now know won’t leave for a few days, but the most standout tune was Next To Me. Obviously, with a songwriting expert like Emile Sande behind the lyrics, a maddeningly catchy hook and her perfect vocals to match, this song really has no room for improvement.
International Female Solo Artist
My choice: Lana Del Rey – This was the toughest category for me to decide upon, but I think in terms of sudden impact and popularity, then Lana just about takes it. She came, seemingly out of nowhere, and immediately dominated British music, from festivals to radio stations. So, though she divides opinions, she’s done something right.
The Black Keys
My choice: Alabama Shakes – Here in Britain we were near to begging them to play some British gigs after hearing about the live music they were producing across the pond. Since they arrived, they haven’t failed to disappoint, and their album still hasn’t lost its powerful edge.
International Male Solo Artist
My choice: Frank Ocean – There wasn’t one ‘best of 2012’ list that this guy didn’t crop up on at the end of last year, and deservedly so, because 2012 was the year Frank Ocean really broke through into the public eye. It seems all his hard work collaborating and writing for the likes of Bieber and Beyonce has really paid off.
British Album of the Year
Alt-J An Awesome Wave
Emeli Sandé Our Version Of Events
Mumford & Sons Babel
Paloma Faith Fall To Grace
Plan B Ill Manors
My choice: Alt- J An Awesome Wave – After their Mercury win, it is obvious that Alt-J have really hit a nerve with their debut. The album really is a great showcase of what British alternative music can do at the moment, and it is nice to see an indie act who are striving to last in and grow with British culture.
British Live Act
Mumford & Sons
The Rolling Stones
My choice: The Rolling Stones – I think if anyone else were to win this award above The Rolling Stones then they would get a serious God-complex, either that or feel very, very undeserving. After their 50 year anniversary, and after proving that they are still as rock and roll as ever, and still one of the greatest bands ever, I think it would be unfair to deny them any award.
Critics’ Choice Award
My choice: Tom Odell – I first became aware of Tom Odell a few months ago when he was still just making bedroom demos, and I was surprised to see him on the last so quickly. He really has come from nowhere, which is a credit to his work ethic and his commitment to music. As well as all that, he has an incredible voice and music which gets right down to your soul.