Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Brit Awards 2013: Predictions, Preferences and General Ramblings of a Layman

Well I see that the Brit Awards are upon us again, which provides a handy reason for me to return to this blog. That telltale sign that we are all getting older as not only does it seem with each passing year as though we have bought/downloaded barely anything from any of the nominees, but increasingly it seems as though there are a few nominees that I haven't even heard of! With some admittedly patchy knowledge of some categories, here's what I reckon this year:

British Breakthrough Act Nominees:
Top 5 selected by Voting Academy. Winner identified by public vote promoted by and BBC Radio 1
• Alt-J (Infectious Music)
• Ben Howard (Island / Universal Music)
• Jake Bugg (Mercury / Universal Music)
• Jessie Ware (Island / PMR / Universal Music)
• Rita Ora (Columbia / Roc Nation / Sony Music)

Some great names in this category. Jessie Ware, I know her sister called Della. Come to think of it, I think I've come across Rita Ora's sister Kia. Or are they a car manufacturer? I digress. Going by what I have seen and heard this year, Rita Ora has been quite big in the airplay on the radio and done decently in the charts while Jake Bugg has had good write-ups in the music press and toured with Noel Gallagher and the Stone Roses. That suggests to me that it is between these 2 but the lovely Rita's greater commercial will probably just sway the vote in her direction.

My prediction: Rita Ora My selection: Jake Bugg

British Female Solo Artist Nominees:
• Amy Winehouse (Island / Universal Music)
• Bat for Lashes (Parlophone / EMI Music)
• Emeli Sandé (Virgin / EMI Music)
• Jessie Ware (Island / PMR / Universal Music)
• Paloma Faith (RCA / Sony Music)

I look forward to the acceptance speech if the first name is the one that is read out of the envelope. Has anyone ever won a Brit Award posthumously before I wonder? I know it's been done in the Oscars on a couple of occasions, most recently by Heath Ledger if I recall correctly. As much as the Amy Winehouse album that was released after her death had a couple of gems on it, I can't really see her coming out on top of the pile here. Paloma Faith and her array of crazy headgear has gathered quite a gathering over the past year and I liked her cover of the old INXS song that was used in an advert (John Lewis?). She has a chance but Emeli Sande had the best selling album of last year and was everywhere last year, even tinkling the ivories at Sports Personality of the Year. A big-up to Brightonian Bat For Lashes, but Emeli's winning this one I think.

My prediction: Emeli Sande My selection: Paloma Faith

British Group Nominees:
• Alt-J (Infectious Music)
• Mumford & Sons (Gentlemen of The Road / Island / Universal Music)
• Muse (Helium 3 / Warner Bros / Warner Music)
• One Direction (Syco / Sony Music)
• The xx (Young Turks / XL / Beggars)

This one's a bit of a mixed bag with boybands mixed in with guitar bands as well as electronica and a spot of folk too. Can't really see Alt-J or The xx prevailing here and I think Muse's glory days were a few years ago when they brought out their 'Black Holes and Revelations' album. So it really boils down to whether the One Direction juggernaut is bigger than Mumford & Sons' surprising popularity as a live band. I think that 10-15 years ago this award would always have been the preserve of the latest indie wonder, but Take That have won this award in recent years off the back of shifting lots of records and gaining mass appeal and One Direction seem to have conquered America which is no easy feat. Sorry banjo lovers, but I think Harry Styles et al have this one in the bag.

My prediction: One Direction My selection: Mumford & Sons

British Live Act Nominees:
• Coldplay (Parlophone / EMI Music)
• Mumford & Sons (Gentlemen of The Road / Island / Universal Music)
• Muse (Helium 3 / Warner Bros / Warner Music)
• The Rolling Stones (Polydor / Universal Music)
• The Vaccines (Columbia / Sony Music)

Not sure what it says about the strength in depth of live music acts over the past year when the Rolling Stones receive a nomination now that they enter their geriatric period. Coldplay, M&S and Muse are always regulars in this category and probably not much to choose between the 3 of them. Coldplay were touring with their previous year's material whereas Muse and Mumford & Sons had some fresh stuff out and so this might just steer things in their favour. I think this might be where M&S get their gong.

My prediction: Mumford & Sons My selection: Mumford & Sons

British Male Solo Artist Nominees:
• Ben Howard (Island / Universal Music)
• Calvin Harris (Columbia / Sony Music)
• Olly Murs (Epic / Sony Music)
• Richard Hawley (Parlophone / EMI Music)
• Plan B (679 / Atlantic / Warner Music)

Not really an expert on these things, but did Olly Murs release very much last year? If he did then he probably stands a good chance of winning. I'd say it is going to be between him and Calvin Harris. Good to see Richard Hawley has been nominated though as he's been releasing some good material for the past few years and he has a very distinctive, old-school voice. We won't get to hear him use his voice this time though as the acceptance speech will most likely be Calvin's.

My prediction: Calvin Harris My selection: Richard Hawley

BRITs Global Success Award
The winner of this Award will be announced at the Show on Wednesday 20th February.

Presumably an extra award added to the bill to give to Adele?

British Producer of the Year Nominees:
In association with The MPG Awards Identified by a panel overseen by MPG.
• Damon Albarn
• Jake Gosling
• Paul Epworth

Damon Albarn's a new face in the Producer category. By comparison, Paul Epworth is an old hand. Expect experience to win the day here.

Special Recognition Award Winner:
War Child UK

Presumably a Special Recognition Award this year rather than a Lifetime Achievement? Either way, a justified award.

Critics’ Choice Award :
In association with War Child Identified by a panel made up of media music critics
• Tom Odell (Columbia / Sony Music) - Winner
• AlunaGeorge (Island / Universal Music)
• Laura Mvula (RCA / Sony Music)

Don't have a lot to add on this one, other than whoever wins it is going to have a good chance of winning best breakthrough act next year. I'll go for Mr Odell.

International Group Nominees:
• Alabama Shakes (Rough Trade / XL / Beggars)
• The Black Keys (Nonesuch / Warner Music)
• Fun (Atlantic / Fuelled By Ramen / Warner Music)
• The Killers (Vertigo / Universal Music)
• The Script (Epic / Phonogenic / Sony Music)

I'd usually say that The Killers are a cert for this award whenever they are nominated, but their last album was a bit underwhelming and they are also up against some stiff competition. Alabama Shakes and Fun have both attracted good write-ups and The Script always do well commercially. But the best album I bought last year was El Camino by The Black Keys and they also just did well in the Grammy Awards. 2 of their songs - Lonely Boy and Gold On The Ceiling have been used quite regularly on adverts and trails over the past year which is a sure sign of appreciation. I think they will be further endorsed here.

My prediction: The Black Keys My selection: The Black Keys

International Female Solo Artist Nominees:
• Alicia Keys (RCA / Sony Music)
• Cat Power (Matador / XL / Beggars)
• Lana Del Rey (Polydor / Universal Music)
• Rihanna (Def Jam / Universal Music)
• Taylor Swift (Mercury / Universal Music)

Alicia Keys is something of a veteran in this category these days, but probably stands little chance of winning this year. Rihanna and Taylor Swift have shifted lots of records/downloads as per usual and both stand a chance but Lana Del Rey was one of the big sellers in the UK last year and did well in the charts making a major breakthrough in 2012 and on that basis I think she gets to win this award.

My prediction: Lana Del Rey My selection: Lana Del Rey

International Male Solo Artist Nominees:
• Bruce Springsteen (Columbia / Sony Music)
• Frank Ocean (Def Jam / Universal Music)
• Gotye (Island / Universal Music)
• Jack White (XL Recordings / XL / Beggars)
• Michael Buble (Reprise / Warner Music)

You know the apocalypse will be upon us if Michael Buble wins this award. Fortunately I think we will be reprieved for a while longer. Springsteen must be catching Neil Young up for the prolific number of studio albums he's recorded as he seems to get nominated nearly every year. Haven't heard anything Jack White has released as a solo artist but Gotye had one of the most played songs of last year which gained him notoriety which should see him win this one.

My prediction: Gotye My selection: Errr....Jack White I suppose

British Single:
Top fifteen British singles based on the biggest sales success in 2012 - With Capital FM and iTunes
• Adele ‘Skyfall’ (XL Recordings / XL / Beggars)
• Alex Clare ‘Too Close’ (Island / Universal Music)
• Coldplay & Rihanna ‘Princess of China’ (Parlophone / EMI Music)
• DJ Fresh Ft Rita Ora ‘Hot Right Now’ (Ministry of Sound / Ministry of Sound Group)
• Emeli Sandé ‘Next To Me’ (Virgin / EMI Music)
• Florence & The Machine ‘Spectrum’ (Island / Universal Music)
• James Arthur ‘Impossible’ (Syco Music / Sony Music)
• Jessie J ‘Domino’ (Island / Lava / Universal Music)
• Labrinth Ft Emeli Sandé ‘Beneath Your Beautiful’ (Syco Music / Sony Music)
• Olly Murs Ft Flo Rida ‘Troublemaker’ (Epic / Sony Music)
• Rita Ora Ft Tinie Tempah ‘R.I.P.’ (Columbia / Roc Nation / Sony Music)
• Rizzle Kicks ‘Mama Do The Hump’ (Island / Universal Music)
• Robbie Williams ‘Candy’ (Island / Universal Music)
• Rudimental Ft John Newman ‘Feel The Love’ (Asylum / Black Butter / Warner Music)
• Stooshe ‘Black Heart’ (Future Cut / Qworks / Warner Bros / Warner Music

The usual mixture of stuff in this category. There is about 2/3s of the nominees that can be readily eliminated as having a chance of winning. In fact, I think the destiny of this award is really between 4 female vocalists - Adele, Rita Ora, Emeli Sande and Florence. 'Spectrum' was one of my favourite songs last year and Flo and her Machine might stand a chance here, but I think the success of 'Skyfall' as a movie and Adele's subsequent success in the Grammys suggests this award is heading for her mantelpiece. Even as someone that doesn't like Bond themes or Adele particularly, I'd have to admit this was a good song.

My prediction: Adele My selection: Florence & The Machine

MasterCard British Album of the Year Nominees:

Supported by The Sun Bizarre Column
• Alt-J ‘An Awesome Wave’ (Infectious Music)
• Emeli Sandé ‘Our Version Of Events’ (Virgin / EMI Music)
• Mumford & Sons ‘Babel’ (Gentlemen of The Road / Island / Universal Music)
• Paloma Faith ‘Fall To Grace’ (RCA / Sony Music)
• Plan B ‘Ill Manors’ (679 / Atlantic / Warner Music)

I bought only one of these albums, which was Mumford & Sons' album 'Babel'. It's not a bad album at all as it goes and they triumphed when they released their previous album so they could well be successful again. The only reason to bet against them is that Emeli Sande had the best selling album of last year and given that the award is endorsed by The Sun, you would imagine that the populist vote will win the day. Expect some grateful record execs that have been kept in a job to applaud when she scoops this award.

My prediction: Emeli Sande My selection: Mumford & Sons

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