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MEET THE "NEW" BRITS

Artists Up for Awards at the U.K. Fest

What’s not to love about the Brits? I worshipped Daniel Radcliffe at a young age, but that faded when I hit puberty and realized I was a nearly a foot taller than him in heels.

Later, I felt a sense of betrayal when I adored Chuck Bass on guilty pleasure show Gossip Girl until I found out that he just played a Yank on TV and that he was actually a Hertfordshire-bred punk singer in a band called The Filthy Youth. Come on… What’s better than that when you’re 16?

The latest deed to my heart has belonged to Russell Brand.  And, of course, there will always be Mick. There’s just something about those accents and the usage of the word “cheeky” that really gets me going.

Oh, right. And then there’s The BRITs. My bad. Blame the mind-wandering on post-V Day PTSD and an abundance of red wine.

As for The BRITs, they’re pretty enticing on their own. The thing about the U.K. is that the chaps over there have a phenomenal ability to predict trends and influence minds, particularly in music. If you take a peek at the nominees for this year’s BRITs, you’ll see some mighty powerful names like four-time Grammy winner Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran, heart-stealing phenoms One Direction and Pop radio record-breaker Mark Ronson.

Blame it on the time difference for making them forever one step ahead of us, but it’s undeniable, so we should probably start by pulling our heads out of our asses and paying attention. For christssake, take The Beatles and The Rolling Stones and their influence on rock music.

There are some lesser-known names up for awards that have already achieved strong success in the U.K. and yet have fallen under the radar stateside.

Duke Dumont is an English DJ and EDM producer who owns his own label, Blasé Boys Club. His smash single with Jax Jones“I Got U”, was nominated for a Grammy this year and is nominated for two BRITs, one being Best British Single. The track peaked at #2 on Spotify’s U.K. Viral 50 and #2 according to Radiomonitor’s charts. It’s earned over 1.1b impacts to date, which is nearly all of One Direction’s titles combined and is close to Ed Sheeran’s number for his international hit, “Thinking Out Loud.” It’s also earned over 82k total plays. As for sales, it topped the iTunes singles chart and Official Charts’ overall Singles Chart, along with their Dance Chart. Its corresponding video is just south of 100m views online, which would make it steps away from being VEVO certified. “I Got U” and follow-up single, “Won’t Look Back,” were both A Listed at BBC Radio 1 for multiple weeks in 2014. Both actually enjoyed stays at #1 on the iTunes U.K. chart.

21-year-old indie DJ Route 94’s track with Jess Glynne, “My Love,” was also A Listed at BBC Radio for seven consecutive weeks. Its video has over 76m online views. According to Radiomonitor’s charts, it peaked at #4 with over 1.2b impacts to date and 70k+ total plays. The track, which is certified Platinum in the U.K., has also topped Official Charts’ Singles Chart and the iTunes U.K. chart.

RCA songstress Paloma Faith is nominated for Best British Female Solo Artist. She garnered a decent amount of recognition when her soulful vocals were featured on Sigma’s “Changing,” which was A Listed at BBC Radio 1 for three weeks in September. Her most recent album, A Perfect Contradiction reached #2 on the U.K. Album Chart. Its second single, “Only Love Can Hurt Me Like This,” is her highest-charting single to date, reaching #6, while “Changing” reached #1. However at radio, “Only Love” has earned 900m+ total impacts and 96k+ total plays, while “Changing” has seen 620m+ total impacts and less than half the amount of total plays. Regardless, Faith’s voice is consistently as delectable as chocolate fondue and I just want to bathe in it.

Columbia’s buzzing singer-songwriter George Ezra is up for FOUR awards this year, tying with Ed Sheeran and following only Sam Smith for most noms. He held #1 at Triple A radio for 11 weeks out here. He and his track “Budapest” are also #13 at Alternative radio at #20 at Hot AC. His debut album, Wanted on Voyage, which was Top 10 for 31 weeks, is 2x Platinum in the U.K.; it peaked at #1 on the iTunes chart, while "Budapest" peaked at #4. The song reached #3 on Official Charts and #6 on Radiomonitor. His video with Sir Ian McKellen for "Listen to the Man" is jolly good and, I must say, Gandalf looks quite dapper in tight white pants and pink pocket square. Listen to McKellen and listen to the man, damn it.

Lastly, FKA Twigs is trippy as hell. Every time I hear her music, I have vivid flashbacks to the first time I took Molly. She may still be under the radar, but with 220k+ Facebook likes, 105k+ Twitter followers and astoundingly receptive fans, she’s ready to make a statement. She also encourages me to douse myself in face paint and glitter and dance about the office, so that’s much appreciated. The twisted neo-R&B siren was signed to Young Turks of Martin Mills' Beggars Group. Debut album LP1 peaked at #6 on the iTunes U.K. chart. Her most recent single, “Video Girl,” was A Listed at BBC Radio 1 for a few weeks in Oct./Nov. Before that, lead single "Two Weeks" spent three (not two) consecutive weeks A Listed as well. The latter topped Spotify's Viral 50 over the summer. In December, Spotify chose to highlight her more closely as an artist on the Spotlight on 2014 list. She was already nominated for the esteemed Mercury Prize and BBC's Sound of 2014. The same single was listed in Rolling Stone's "50 Best Songs of 2014." The buzz force is strong with this one.

Get all that? Good, because those are my picks to rise, and obviously my word is law.

More BRITs coverage:

A Bit o' the BRITs: The Basics on U.K. Music's Biggest Night

Karen Glauber's The BRITs: An Alternative View

Bangers and Smash: Michelle S. on the New British Invasion

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