Yesterday, the nominations for the 2018 Brit Awards were announced and while many expected stars received numerous nominations (including Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran, Rag’n’Bone Man, Little Mix and Liam Payne), many were left surprised as certain artists were completely snubbed.
Most surprising was Sam Smith. After achieving a UK chart-topping single in 2017 (with ‘No Good at Goodbyes) and having the third biggest UK album of the year, his absence from the nominations was startling, especially given he lost out in the singles category to several songs that had not reached the chart peak, and to Loyle Carner in the ‘Best Male’ category despite his lack of commercially successful music. Smith was expected to be Sheeran’s toughest competition. Now it seems Ed will have a clean-sweep in several categories.
But the surprises did not end there. ‘International Female’ saw BOTH Katy Perry and Camila Cabello shunned, despite Cabello topping the UK-Charts for several weeks with ‘Havana’, which has become the most streamed single by a female artist in history.
Yet Bjork – whose latest album only managed to make no. 25 on the UK charts – took the nomination alongside Pink, Lorde and Taylor Swift. Other shocks came from Harry Styles being ignored for ‘Best Male’ and ‘Best Single’ (again with chart-topping track ‘Sign of The Times) and Post Malone (ignored for ‘International Male’ despite his track ‘Rockstar’ being one of the best-sellers of the year).
So why all the surprises? Perhaps this shows the Brits have lost connection with public consumption of music? It seems nominations do not reflect listening and selling habits, but rather the musical biases of the critics selection committee. Perhaps it is ‘forced’ diversity: placing hip-hop or rap artists into nominations despite them not being as successful as others? (Though, notably, Stormzy and J Hus fully deserve their nominations). Whatever the issue, the Brits have done themselves a disservice. If the awards are meant to represent the biggest achievements in British Music, and international musics effect on Britain, then why sideline several stars who have made the biggest impact?
The Brits will air on ITV, live from the O2, on Wednesday 21st February.