Brit awards 2023: Wet Leg and Harry Styles lead male-dominated nominations
A year after the Brit awards abandoned the gendered categories, the nominations for the replacement artist of the year prize are entirely male, comprising Central Cee, Stormzy, Fred Again, George Ezra and Harry Styles.
The awards ceremony, run by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) did away with the best British male and best female awards in 2022 following criticism that the non-binary pop star Sam Smith would not be eligible for either prize despite their massive commercial success.
This year, Smith received a nomination for song of the year for Unholy – their collaboration with German pop star Kim Petras – and pop/R&B act, one of the genre categories first introduced in 2022, which will be decided via a public vote on TikTok from 19 January.
Styles joins first-time nominees Wet Leg in leading the nominations for this year’s Brit awards with four nods apiece. The breakout Isle of Wight indie duo and the ubiquitous pop icon and former One Direction member will go head to head in the category for album of the year, joined by fellow multiple nominees the 1975, Stormzy and producer Fred Again.
Wet Leg had not yet released their debut album at the time of the 2022 Brit awards: their self-titled effort, released on the independent label Domino, was hailed by the Guardian as “a collection of 90s and 00s-era indie that is by turns dreamy, lush, hooky and thunderous, and layered with lyrics saturated with millennial disaffection, anxiety and overwhelm”. They have been nominated for five awards at this year’s Grammys, which takes place a week prior to the Brit awards.
Women-led acts made up 33% of the overall nominations. Following Wet Leg, the only other female artists to receive multiple nods are producer Eliza Rose, whose collaboration with Interplanetary Criminal, Baddest of Them All, was a smash hit in summer 2022, and saw her nominated for song of the year and best dance act; rock duo Nova Twins, nominated for group of the year and best alternative/rock act, and songwriter Cat Burns, nominated for song of the year and best pop/R&B act.
Last year, Little Simz won the best new artist prize, despite having released her debut album six years prior; however, she only became eligible for the award after her 2021 album Sometimes I Might Be Introvert became her first to place in the UK albums chart, reaching No 4. This year, the rapper Kojey Radical appears in a similar position: he has been active since 2014, but his 2022 album Reasons to Smile was his first chart placing, reaching No 11.
The best new artist category is also notable for the inclusion of British-Japanese pop star Rina Sawayama. In 2020, she highlighted that she would be ineligible for the Brit awards and the Mercury prize, both run by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI): born in Japan and raised in the UK since the age of four, she does not hold a British passport but has indefinite leave to remain. In February 2021, the BPI changed the rules to stipulate that artists who have been permanently resident in the UK for five years will qualify for British categories. Sawayama was previously nominated for the 2021 Rising Star award.
There are first-time nominations for Wet Leg, Nova Twins, Bad Boy Chiller Crew, Eliza Rose, LF System, Kim Petras, Blackpink, Fireboy DML, Gayle, Jack Harlow, Lost Frequencies and Bonobo.
In the international categories, Beyoncé, Lizzo and Taylor Swift lead the pack with two nominations apiece.
Other noteworthy nominations include Bradford bassline collective Bad Boy Chiller Crew, up for group of the year – and liable to add some welcome chaos to the live broadcast – Eurovision star Sam Ryder for best new artist, and Ed Sheeran and Elton John’s 2021 festive hit, Merry Christmas, for best song.
British girl band Flo were previously announced as winners of the Rising Star award. The prizes for producer and songwriter of the year will be announced at a later date.
This year’s Brit awards will be presented by comedian Mo Gilligan and take place live at the London O2 Arena on 11 February. Wet Leg and Sam Smith, performing alongside Kim Petras, are the first live acts to be confirmed.
Brit award nominations 2023
Mastercard album of the year
The 1975 – Being Funny in a Foreign Language
Wet Leg – Wet Leg
Harry Styles – Harry’s House
Stormzy – This Is What I Mean
Fred Again – Actual Life 3
Artist of the year
Group of the year
Bad Boy Chiller Crew
Best new artist
Song of the year with Mastercard
Aitch/Ashanti – Baby
Cat Burns – Go
Dave – Starlight
Ed Sheeran and Elton John – Merry Christmas
Eliza Rose/Interplanetary Criminal – BOTA
George Ezra – Green Green Grass
Harry Styles – As It Was
Lewis Capaldi – Forget Me
LF System – Afraid to Feel
Sam Smith and Kim Petras – Unholy
International artist of the year
International group of the year
Drake and 21 Savage
First Aid Kit
International song of the year
Beyoncé – Break My Soul
David Guetta and Bebe Rexha – I’m Good
Fireboy DML and Ed Sheeran – Peru
Carolina Gaitán, Mauro Castillo, Adassa, Rhenzy Feliz, Diane Guerrero and Stephanie Beatriz – We Don’t Talk About Bruno
Gayle – ABCDEFU
Jack Harlow – First Class
Lizzo – About Damn Time
Lost Frequencies/Calum Scott – Where Are You Now
OneRepublic – I Ain’t Worried
Taylor Swift – Anti-Hero
Hip-hop, grime and rap act