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Live music to take centre stage at the Brits 2020

Organisers of the 2020 Brit Awards have announced changes to the format and content of next year’s ceremony, which will include fewer awards and more live performances to mark the event’s 40th year.

The 2020 Brit Awards, which take place on Tuesday 18 February at London’s 20,000-capacity O2 Arena, will impose no creative limitations on artists performing at the ceremony.

Last year’s Brits saw performances from Hugh Jackman, Calvin Harris, Sam Smith, Dua Lipa, Pink, Jorja Smith, the 1975 and Jess Glynne, among others.

The number of awards handed out on the night will be reduced from 14 to 9, with the removal of the international group, Brits global success, British artist video, best British producer and outstanding contribution to music categories.

All winners will be decided by the 2020 official voting academy, comprised of 1,200 individuals, including artists, promoters, agents, publishers and label representatives. There will be no element of fan vote.

Several categories will also be renamed, with the critics’ choice becoming rising star, best British single restyled as song of the year and British breakthrough act now known as best new artist. All categories will refer to solely British artists, unless otherwise stated.

“We will be putting creativity, British culture and exceptional performances at the heart of the show”

The panel of judges for the new-look critics’ choice category will include live music bookers, songwriters and producers, as well as the traditional music editors, critics and radio station heads.

The recipient of the Rising Star Award will receive a performance slot during the show. The award is open to British artists who have not yet achieved either a recording in the Official Charts UK Top 20 Artist Album Chart, or two recordings in the Top 20 Singles Chart.

“We have had a fresh look at the Brit Awards this year. Most importantly we will be putting creativity, British culture and exceptional performances at the heart of the show to make Brits night a world class celebration,” comments David Joseph, chairman of the Brits Committee for 2020 and chairman and CEO of Universal Music UK.

“The awards should be a global platform for the artists of the year to create moments that live beyond the night itself. We are looking at everything to put on the best possible show.”

Geoff Taylor, chief executive of BPI and Brit Awards Ltd adds that: “The Brits Committee will endeavour to make the 2020 Brits a truly landmark event, highlighting not only another remarkable 12 months in the British music year to a growing global audience, but also paying tribute to many unforgettable Brits moments that are now part of a rich and much loved heritage.”

Winners of last year’s Brit Awards include Little Mix, George Ezra, Jorja Smith, the 1975, Tom Walker, the Carters, Drake, Ariana Grande Ed Sheeran, Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa, Pink and Sam Fender.


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‘It’s rare to see a group work this hard’: Giddings on Little Mix’s road to the Brits

On Wednesday, UK pop superstars Little Mix picked up their second Brit Award, taking home the best video artist prize for ‘Woman Like Me’ featuring Nicki Minaj.

Coming on the back of five studio albums and five years of nearly constant touring, the band’s UK/RoW agent, Solo Agency’s John Giddings, says it’s a well-deserved reward for the hardest-working pop group out there…


IQ: It’s the second Brit award for the band, and the first since 2017, when they won British single of the year for ‘Shout Out to My Ex’. How important is it for you, and the team around the band, to be recognised for your hard work?
JG: I think it’s fantastic.

It’s so rare to see a group who work this hard – I’ve said this before, but pop groups work ten times harder than rock acts when it comes to things like promotion, working the room, meet-and-greets… Little Mix are rightly being rewarded for that.

The band hit the road again this autumn for the LM5 tour, their sixth in six years. That’s a pretty gruelling touring schedule…
It is. It’s amazing to see how hard these girls work.

And they still like each other! They get on, they enjoy each other’s company… and that’s so important. It’s the same with any group – you take away the fun element and nobody wants to be there; they just all want to go home.

You’ve worked with Boyzone, the Spice Girls, Westlife, the Corrs… Is the Little Mix phenomenon a similar vibe to those acts in their heydays?
Very much so. I remember when we opened the gates at Wembley Arena on the Spice Girls’ first tour [in 1998] and I suddenly realised there were mothers dragging their children in, as they enjoyed the music as much as their daughters!

That was the first time I remember selling tickets in sixes and eights, as opposed to twos and fours, because it was proper family entertainment. And that’s definitely the case with Little Mix too.

“It’s amazing to see how hard these girls work”

How has the fanbase evolved since you started working with Little Mix? Is it a case of the fans growing up with the band?
Yes, to an extent. But there are also women of 40, 50, who love their music, too, and not just through their children. So we’re seeing their audience growing in multiple ways; the girls are going from strength to strength.

The group were formed on the X Factor in 2011—
They were, but I think most people have forgotten they’re X Factor winners at this point. They’re not considered a reality TV band – they’ve gone way beyond that.

You’ve obviously played a key part in that growth. Who else has been instrumental in Little Mix’s ascent?
Richard Griffiths and Harry Magee at Modest Management, who have steered the ship incredible well. Their collective experience really came into play in looking after [Little Mix] – they’ve kept them together and took them to the next level.

How did the rate their performance of ‘Woman Like Me’ on Wednesday night?
I thought they were incredible. They’re such athletic performers and that really came across. You can see the stamina [they bring to their live shows].

Two Brits wins under the belt now, then… You must be hoping for a third next year?
Absolutely. It’s important for groups to see their results of their success. They work so hard, and they love getting close to their public.

I’d like to see them win best album – they’d be deserving winners.


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Updated: How the agencies stacked up at the 2019 Brits

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified Little Mix as being represented by CAA worldwide. The band are actually represented by John Giddings at Solo Agency outside North America. IQ apologises to Solo for the error.


Artists represented by talent agencies WME Entertainment and Creative Artists Agency (CAA) took home five and six awards, respectively, at last night’s Brit Awards in London.

The O2 Arena (20,000-cap.) on 20 February played host to the British music industry’s biggest awards night. Hugh Jackman opened the show with a rendition from the actor’s hit film The Greatest Showman. Calvin Harris performed a medley featuring Rag’n’Bone Man, Sam Smith and Dua Lipa, with other performances courtesy of Pink, Jorja Smith, the 1975 and Jess Glynne.

CAA was the biggest winner of the night, with six separate artists receiving awards, including the respective best British and international female solo artists, Jorja Smith and Ariana Grande. The agency represents both artists worldwide.

Other triumphant CAA acts were Ed Sheeran, winner of Brits global success award (represented by CAA for UK and rest of world), Dua Lipa for British single (North America), Little Mix for British video (North America) and Sam Fender for Critics’ Choice (worldwide). Solo Agency represents Little Mix outside North America.

CAA were the biggest winners of the night, with six separate artists receiving awards

Acts represented by WME were also successful on the night, with four artists scooping up awards across five categories. Calvin Harris, represented by WME’s David Levy in Europe and Joel Zimmerman worldwide, enjoyed double success on the night. The Scottish DJ won his first-ever Brit Awards, for best British producer and British single, which he shared with Dua Lipa for ‘One Kiss’. Dua Lipa is also represented by WME’s David Levy in Europe.

The agency also has the international male solo artist and British male solo artist on its roster: Drake (worldwide) and George Ezra (North America).

Paradigm agent Marty Diamond saw success with two artists, representing both best British breakthrough act Tom Walker and Brits global success award winner Ed Sheeran in North America.

Primary Talent’s Matt Bates and Paradigm Agency’s Mike Mori make up the team representing double Brit award-winning the 1975, as the band took home British group and Mastercard British album of the year.

See a full breakdown of 2019 Brit Award winners below.


British Male Solo ArtistGeorge Ezra13 Artists (UK, RoW); WME (North America)
British Female Solo ArtistJorja SmithCAA
British GroupThe 1975Primary Talent (UK and RoW), Paradigm (North America)
British Breakthrough ActTom WalkerCoda (UK, RoW), Paradigm (North America)
International GroupThe CartersLive Nation
International Male Solo ArtistDrakeWME
International Female Solo ArtistAriana GrandeCAA
Brits Global Success AwardEd SheeranCAA (UK, RoW), Paradigm (North America)
British Artist Video AwardLittle Mix ft Nicki Minaj ‘Woman Like Me’Solo (UK, RoW); CAA (USA)/ ICM (UK, RoW); (Maverick (North America)
Best British Producer Calvin HarrisWME
British SingleCalvin Harris & Dua Lipa ‘One Kiss’WME/ WME (Europe); CAA (North America)
Mastercard British Album of The YearThe 1975 A Brief Inquiry into Online RelationshipsPrimary Talent (UK and RoW), Paradigm (North America)
Outstanding Contribution to MusicP!nkMarshall Arts
Announced in December 2018 - Critics’ ChoiceSam FenderCAA


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Brits Week previews UK music’s biggest night

The 5th War Child Brits Week kicked off last Monday, giving fans the opportunity to see leading UK artists in intimate settings across London in the run up to this year’s Brit awards on Wednesday 20 February.

Brits Week, the series of intimate live performances by leading UK acts that precede the Brits are already underway, celebrating the best in British music whilst raising money for non-profit War Child.

British breakthrough act nominees, Idles, opened Brits Week on 11 February, playing at the 350-capacity 100 Club. You Me At Six performed on the same night at Scala (1,145-cap.), followed by performances by AJ Tracey at 100 Club, Nick Mulvey at Wilton’s Music Hall (400-cap.) and Enter Shikari at The Dome (5,039-cap.) throughout the week.

A DJ set from singer-songwriter Frank Turner in conjunction with Xtra Mile Recordings on Friday at 320-capacity Omeara, and a Sunday-night performance from Mabel at Bush Hall (425-cap.) closed out the first week.

Performances still to come include last year’s British group and British album winners, the 1975, who play at Islington’s 600-capacity the Garage this evening (18 February). Jake Bugg and Jade Bird join forces tonight at Omeara, Bring Me The Horizon play on Tuesday at the Dome and Anne-Marie performs the night before the awards ceremony at Omeara. A final performance by Tom Odell on Friday 22 February closes out Brits season.

The Brit awards take place this Wednesday at the O2 Arena in London. The awards ceremony will be hosted by comedian Jack Whitehall and broadcast live on ITV.

“These nominations illustrate what an incredible year it has been for British talent and remind us what a great time it is to be a music fan”

Hugh Jackman opens the ceremony, performing a song from his award-winning film, The Greatest Showman. Calvin Harris will perform alongside multiple Brit award nominee Dua Lipa, Rag’n’Bone Man and Sam Smith. Fans can also expect performances from Little Mix, the 1975, Ms Banks and this year’s outstanding contribution to music winner, Pink.

This year’s Brit awards see four nomination each for UK pop sensations Anne-Marie and Dua Lipa. Anne-Marie is up for British female, British single, British video and British album. Future Forum’s keynote guest, Dua Lipa, has two nominations a piece in the British single and British video categories.

George Ezra and Jorja Smith are up for three awards each, whereas a host of artists including the 1975, Calvin Harris, Jess Glynne and Florence and the Machine have received two nominations each.

Kamasi Washington, Travis Scott and Shawn Mendes are all up for international male against 2017 winner Drake and four-time Brit winner Eminem, whilst international female sees Ariana Grande, Camila Cabello, Cardi B, Christine and the Queens and 2014 nominee Janelle Monáe all shortlisted.

“These nominations illustrate what an incredible year it has been for British talent and remind us what a great time it is to be a music fan, both in the UK and beyond,” says Jason Iley, Brits chairman and chief executive of Sony Music UK and Ireland.

“I’m delighted to see the nominations representing talent across a wide variety of genres – from returning artists to some incredibly exciting new talent – who are set to become the stars of the future.”


The full list of nominees can be found below:

British album of the year
The 1975 – A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships
Anne-Marie – Speak Your Mind
Florence + The Machine – High As Hope
George Ezra – Staying At Tamara’s
Jorja Smith – Lost & Found

British female solo artist
Florence + The Machine
Jess Glynne
Jorja Smith
Lily Allen

British male solo artist
Aphex Twin
Craig David
George Ezra
Sam Smith

British group
The 1975
Arctic Monkeys
Little Mix
Years & Years

British breakthrough act
Ella Mai
Jorja Smith
Tom Walker

Critics’ choice
Winner: Sam Fender
Lewis Capaldi

British single
Anne-Marie – 2002
Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa – One Kiss
Clean Bandit ft Demi Lovato – Solo
Dua Lipa – IDGAF
George Ezra – Shotgun
Jess Glynne – I’ll Be There
RAMZ – Barking
Rudimental – These Days
Siagla and Paloma Faith – Lullaby
Tom Walker – Leave A Light On

British video
Anne-Marie – 2002
Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa – One Kiss
Clean Bandit ft Demi Lovato – Solo
Dua Lipa – IDGAF
Jax Jones ft Ina Wroldsen – Breathe
Jonas Blue ft Jack & Jack – Rise
Liam Payne and Rita Ora – For You
Little Mix ft Nicki Minaj – Woman Like Me
Rita Ora – Let Me Love You
Rudimental – These Days

International male solo artist
Kamasi Washington
Shawn Mendes
Travis Scott

International female solo artist
Ariana Grande
Camila Cabello
Cardi B
Christine & The Queens
Janelle Monae

International group
The Carters
First Aid Kit
Nile Rodgers & Chic
Twenty One Pilots


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