Adele, Bieber Set For Brit Awards With Bowie Tribute
The British music industry gathers for the annual Brit Awards on Wednesday, with performances by Adele, Rihanna, Coldplay and Justin Bieber and an all-star tribute to late rock star David Bowie. Pop superstar Adele is up for four awards, including in the best solo female artist category, in which soul singer Amy Winehouse is also nominated, this is her second Brits nod since her premature death in 2011 for the soundtrack to the Oscar-nominated documentary “Amy” by Asif Kapadia.
Singer-songwriter James Bay and British electronic trio Years and Years have also received four nods each, while pop dance star Jess Glynne and DJ Calvin Harris each have three.
Grammy winner Ed Sheeran is up for best video and best single for “Bloodstream” with Rudimental, while six-time Brit winners Coldplay are up for best group and best album for their seventh and possibly last LP, “A Head Full of Dreams“. Award organisers have promised a “fitting tribute” to Bowie, the British rock legend who died last month, with rumours of a performance by an A-list super group. Media reports suggest it could include former Britpop rivals Noel Gallagher and Damon Albarn, Bono, Coldplay and Adele, but a spokeswoman for the event would not confirm. Lady Gaga set the bar high with an extravagant tribute at the Grammys that featured a hologram of Bowie, one of the most influential — and flamboyant — figures in pop culture.
Bowie won best British male at the 2014 Brits, 30 years after he first won the award, but sent model Kate Moss to collect it, dubbing her his “representative on Earth“. The Brits have been running for almost 40 years and regularly draw big names, including Madonna, who last year made headlines when she fell off the stage.
This year, Adele will be hoping to avoid a repeat of the Grammys debacle when she veered out of tune after a microphone fell on the strings of the piano that accompanied her. But the event has been criticised for playing it too safe and this year has drawn fire for failing to recognise the broad range of British music, particularly at street level. Alexis Petridis, the Guardian newspaper’s rock and pop critic, accused the Brits of “making British pop music look more boring than it actually is”.
He said the absence of grime artists in particular gave the impression that British music is “an endless sea of rounded-edge singer-songwriters, derivative pop-house and middling, putatively ‘alt’ rock“.
Laura Mvula, a soul singer shortlisted for the critic’s choice award at the 2013 Brits, said she would not be attending this year because of “the diversity issue“.
“The problem for me is knowing that there are young black kids growing up feeling that they’re not acknowledged in society, in media and in mainstream music,” she told the BBC.