Entertainment & Arts

Sam Smith leads Brits nominations

Sam Smith Image copyright AP
Image caption Smith's hit singles include Stay With Me and Money On My Mind

Pop star Sam Smith leads the charge at this year's Brit Awards, with five nominations, it has been announced.

The 22-year-old is up for best British male, breakthrough artist and best album, for In The Lonely Hour.

He is closely followed by guitar-toting singer-songwriters Ed Sheeran and George Ezra, who each receive four nominations, and rock duo Royal Blood, who have three.

This year's ceremony takes place in London's O2 arena on 25 February.

See the full list of nominations.

Smith, who won the BBC's Sound of 2014, was the only artist to sell more than a million albums in both the UK and US last year.

He will go up against Sheeran, Ezra, Damon Albarn and Paolo Nutini in the best British male category. It is Albarn's first solo nomination - 20 years after Blur swept the board and won four Brit awards in 1995.

Smith's tally of five nominations - which also includes best British single and video of the year for Stay With Me - has only been bettered by Robbie Williams and Craig David who got six apiece in 1999 and 2001.

But Smith will be wary of emulating the latter - who left the ceremony empty-handed.

Black artists 'overlooked'

The coveted best British album category will be fought between Smith, Sheeran's X, Ezra's Wanted On Voyage, Alt-J's This Is All Yousrs and Royal Blood's self-titled record.

But pop group Clean Bandit, whose dance anthem Rather Be is up for best single, said the dominance of "white boys" in the main categories was "a bit weird and a problem".

"It's bizarre," Neil Amin-Smith told BBC Radio 1's Newsbeat, suggesting black artists like MNEK, Labrinth and Kwabs had been overlooked.

"The Oscars [nominees] were announced today and it was all white men doing everything.

"I think there is something that needs talking about there."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Royal Blood, who will play at February's ceremony, have received three nominations

Jessie Ware, FKA Twigs and Clean Bandit, who played at a London ceremony announcing the nominations, all walked away with nominations; whilst fellow performer James Bay has already won the Critics' Choice award for emerging artists.

Ware, who released her second album Tough Love last year, is up for best British female.

"It's really reassuring as an artist, you feel like maybe you're doing something right," she told the BBC News website. "Like a big old hug."

Ware will compete against X Factor alumni Ella Henderson, FKA Twigs, Lily Allen and Paloma Faith.

Taylor Swift, whose fifth album, 1989, marked the completion of her shift from country music to pop, was among the nominees in the best international female category alongside Beyonce, Lana Del Rey, Sia and St Vincent.

Up-and-coming singer Jess Glynne is also up for three awards, thanks to her guest appearances on other people's records.

The 25-year-old is the voice behind Clean Bandit's string-laden dance track Rather Be, which is up for best single; and Route 94's My Love, nominated for best single and best video.


Mark Savage, entertainment reporter, BBC News

Sam Smith's heartbroken torch ballads have struck a chord around the world, making his dominance at the Brits all but inevitable.

His five nominations come close to matching the six he's received at the Grammys. By the end of February, he's going to need a bulk order of Mr Sheen.

Smith began his career as a featured artist on hits like Latch, by dance act Disclosure, and others have taken note of his path to fame.

Newcomer Jess Glynne received three nominations for singing on other people's singles - but she said she'd insist on taking home a Tracey Emin-designed trophy if any of them won. .

"I'll make sure I get one," she told me. "There's a reason my name's on there. You wouldn't have the song if there was no vocal."

But in a year where the best album category is entirely male, it's interesting to note that the artists making the most experimental, cutting-edge music - FKA Twigs, Sia, Beyonce, St Vincent - were all female.

Image copyright PA
Image caption X Factor finalist Ella Henderson is nominated for both best British female and best single for her number one single. Ghost

This year's ceremony will be hosted by I'm A Celebrity... stars Ant and Dec, who replace James Corden after three years in the role.

Swift, Sheeran, Smith and Faith are all set to perform, and winners will receive trophies designed by artist Tracey Emin.

Last year, David Bowie was named best British male, sending Kate Moss to collect his award, while Arctic Monkeys won both best group and best album for the third time.

Ellie Goulding won best British female, while pop act One Direction were honoured for their global success for the second year running.

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