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Skepta, Bowie and Stormzy nominated – have the Brits got their bite back?

L-R: transgender singer/songwriter Anohni; soul artist Emeli Sandé; grime star Skepta
L-R: transgender singer/songwriter Anohni; soul artist Emeli Sandé; grime star Skepta Credit: Rex/Getty

There is something different about the Brit Awards this year. The annual prize-giving ceremony has long been the most colourful showbiz celebration on the UK music calendar, a cheerful blast of glitter and razzmatazz showcasing pop’s biggest-selling superstars. Yet a glance at this year’s candidates reveals a fairly compelling cross-section of the most edgy, eccentric and experimental artists in the country. Far from a parade of familiar mainstream stars, this really is the full spectrum of British pop in all its weird and wonderful glory.

The 2017 shortlist is the most ethnically diverse, artistically daring and cutting edge selection of nominees in the awards’ history. There are multiple nominations for two artists – Kano and Skepta – who perform grime, a hard‑hitting, homegrown rap genre that has long been overlooked at the Brits. There is a transgender artist (Anohni) in the best female...

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