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Brit Awards 2018: Stormzy and Dua Lipa emerge as the big winners


Story by Jack Foley

GRIME artist Stormzy and pop star Dua Lipa have emerged as the big winners at the 2018 Brit Awards.

Stormzy took the night’s biggest prize, beating Ed Sheeran to British Album of the Year for his LP, Gang Signs & Prayer. He was also named best British male solo artist, again ahead of Sheeran.

Dua Lipa, meanwhile, was named British Breakthrough Artist and British Female Artist.

For Stormzy, the win for best album was particularly memorable, given that it took two years for him to complete, following delays with depression and writer’s block. In receiving the award, he said that it was the “hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life”.

The ensuing album mixes traditional grime elements with gospel, soul and R&B.

Stormzy also sprung the night’s first big surprise, when he beat the hotly-tipped global superstar Sheeran to British Male Solo Artist. He chose to thank God for this one, adding: “He’s the reason I do what I do.”

And in what looks set to be a landmark evening for him in terms of global perception from here on in, Stormzy then took to the stage to close the ceremony and performed a memorable set that was shot through with intimate emotion and political point-making.

His performance began with a heartfelt rendition of Blinded By Your Grace. Pt.2, as the rain poured down on him alone, before then evolving into a rapid fire slam of the government and Prime Minister Theresa May over their handling of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

His set then concluded with Stormzy removing his soaked shirt for a bare-chested delivery of his breakthrough hit Big For Your Boots.

Earlier in the evening, the focus was more on Dua Lipa and her two awards. Commenting on her Breakthrough prize, the 22-year-old said: “Wow, you guys have made my dreams come true!”

She also took her younger brother and sister to the stage with her and explained: “They think I’m crazy to bring them up, I told them to believe in magic because it’s real and I wanted them to experience it close hand.”

Of the night’s other main winners, Gorillaz sprang another of the big surprises by being named British Group ahead of the likes of Royal Blood, Wolf Alice and London Grammar.

Frontman and co-creator Damon Albarn also got political when claiming the prize, saying: “I’ve got one thing to say, and it’s about this country. This country is, believe it or not, quite a small little thing, right, but it’s a lovely place and part of a beautiful world. Don’t let it become isolated. Don’t let yourselves become cut off.”

The political messages were a feature of the night, in fact. Liam Gallagher performed a Manchester Arena tribute with a thrilling version of Live Forever – the same song he performed at the Ariana Grande concert held in memory of the Manchester Arena bombing victims.

He described that tribute concert as “an event that epitomised the human spirit… that showed hate will never win and fear will never divide us.”

Another of the night’s top awards went to Rag’n‘Bone Man, who took the award for best British single for his offering, Human. Again, that prize came at the expense of Sheeran, who had to settle for the Global Success Award having gone into the ceremony as the most nominated artist.

Of the international prizes, Foo Fighters were named International Group, Lorde took International Female Solo Artist and Kendrick Lamar the male equivalent. He was among those to stage an impressive live performance on the night.

The full list of winners (and nominees) is as follows (winners appear in bold)…

British Artist Video of the Year
Anne-Marie, Ciao Adios
Calvin Harris Feat. Pharrell Williams/Katy Perry/Big Sean, Feels
Clean Bandit Feat. Zara Larsson, Symphony
Dua Lipa, New Rules
Ed Sheeran, Shape of You
Harry Styles, Sign of The Times
Jonas Blue Feat. William Singe, Mama
Liam Payne Feat. Quavo, Strip That Down
Little Mix, Touch
ZAYN and Taylor Swift, I Don’t Wanna Live Forever

British Breakthrough Act
Dua Lipa
J Hus
Loyle Carner

​British Female Solo Artist
Dua Lipa
Jessie Ware
Kate Tempest
Laura Marling
Paloma Faith

British Male Solo Artist
Ed Sheeran
Liam Gallagher
Loyle Carner
Rag’N‘Bone Man

​British Group
London Grammar
Royal Blood
Wolf Alice
The xx

British Album of the Year
Dua Lipa, Dua Lipa
Ed Sheeran, ÷
J Hus, Common Sense
Rag’n‘Bone Man, Human
Stormzy, Gang Signs & Prayer

British Single
Calvin Harris Feat. Pharrell Williams/Katy Perry/Big Sean, Feels
Clean Bandit Feat. Zara Larsson, Symphony
Dua Lipa, New Rules
Ed Sheeran, Shape of You
J Hus, Did You See
Jax Jones Feat. Raye, You Don’t Know Me
Jonas Blue Feat. William Singe, Mama
Liam Payne Feat. Quavo, Strip That Down
Little Mix, Touch
Rag’n‘Bone Man, Human

International Group
Arcade Fire
Foo Fighters
The Killers
LCD Soundsystem

International Female Solo Artist
Alicia Keys
Taylor Swift

International Male Solo Artist
Childish Gambino
DJ Khaled
Kendrick Lamar

Global Success Award
Ed Sheeran

Critics’ choice
Jorja Smith

British producer
Steve Mac