Brit awards: Tinie Tempah shines with four nominations

The xx up for best album as awards overhauled to add 'jeopardy' and give votes to last year's contenders

The BRIT Awards 2011 - Nominations Announcement
Tinie Tempah is up for four Brit awards this year, including best single and British album of the year. Photograph: Dave Hogan/Getty Images

Until a year ago Tinie Tempah was just one of a gaggle of urban artists hoping to emulate the commercial success of the likes of Dizzee Rascal, but he has now demonstrated that while his stature may be diminutive, his ambition is anything but.

The rapper continued an astonishingly successful run tonight, when he was nominated for four Brit awards including best single and the most coveted prize of all: British album of the year. And nominations both for best breakthrough act and best male solo artist reveal just how dizzyingly fast his ascent has been.

This year's overhaul of the Brits, which the new chairman, David Joseph, has said he wants to make more about music and less about showbiz, seems to have had some effect.

Indie minimalists The xx are nominated for three awards – best British breakthrough act, best British group and the best British album award – arguably a result of the decision to allow artists to vote for the first time.

The voting academy, previously a group of 1,000 industry experts including critics, executives and publishers, this year brings in last year's winners and nominees. "There are certain artists' artists, people they respect. It will have a more left-of-centre influence," Joseph said in a recent interview with the Guardian.

With their understated style, eerie dreamscape songs and undeniably indie sound, The xx are an unlikely fit with the awards' pure pop mould. They would become the first band to win both the Mercury award, which prides itself on its leftfield, cutting-edge choices, and then best album at the Brits.

They will have to see off competition from Mumford & Sons' Sigh No More, Plan B's The Defamation of Strickland Banks, Take That's Progress and Tempah's Disc-Overy.

Organisers have scrapped the lifetime achievement award, traditionally the last award of the evening, to introduce more "jeopardy" into proceedings, said Joseph, and focus attention on the album of the year.

The prize of best international album will be fought out between Canuck indie rockers Arcade Fire, American singer and rapper Cee Lo Green, Eminem, US rock giants Kings of Leon and California girl Katy Perry.

Mumford & Sons, who broke on to the pop scene last year thanks to Sigh No More, have also put in a strong showing with three nominations: best breakthrough act, best British band and album of the year.

Another of the biggest acts to break into the charts last year was hip hop artist turned soulster Plan B, whose The Defamation of Strickland Banks was one of the biggest albums of 2010.

Plan B, real name Ben Drew, is nominated for three awards: best British male solo artist, best British album and best British single.

It may be his first, and last chance, to win a clutch of awards using the character of Strickland Banks and a soul sound, after the 27-year-old has said he wants to move into other genres such as punk rock, hip hop or dubstep for his next album.

The shortlist was revealed at London's O2 Arena, the new home of the Brit awards, which will be hosted there next month. The winners will be announced on 15 February at Docklands music venue, with performances by Tempah, and US hiphop star Rihanna, who is also in the running for best international female solo artist.

The hotly tipped newcomer for 2011 Jessie J was voted critics' choice, beating James Blake and The Vaccines to become the only sure-fire Brit winner thus far. She performed at the nomination event last night alongside Tempah, Ellie Goulding and The Wanted.

The nominations

British male solo artist Mark Ronson; Paul Weller; Plan B; Robert Plant; Tinie Tempah

British female solo artist Cheryl Cole; Ellie Goulding; Laura Marling; Paloma Faith; Rumer

British breakthrough act Ellie Goulding; Rumer; Mumford & Sons; Tinie Tempah; The xx

British group Biffy Clyro; Gorillaz; Mumford & Sons; Take That; The xx

British single Alexandra Burke ft Pitbull All Night Long; Cheryl Cole Parachute; Florence & The Machine You've Got The Love; Matt Cardle When We Collide; Olly Murs Please Don't Let Me Go; Plan B She Said; Scouting For Girls This Ain't A Love Song; Taio Cruz Dynamite; Tinie Tempah Pass Out ; The Wanted All Time Low

Mastercard British album of the year Mumford & Sons Sigh No More; Plan B The Defamation of Strickland Banks; Take That Progress; Tinie Tempah Disc-Overy; The xx xx

Your IP address will be logged

Comments in chronological order (Total 126 comments)

  • This symbol indicates that that person is The Guardian's staffStaff
  • This symbol indicates that that person is a contributorContributor
Showing first 50 comments | Show all comments | Go to latest comment
  • tarisai

    13 January 2011 7:14PM

    Quite a decent line-up of nominations this year actually; very pleasantly suprised to see Robyn and Paloma Faith up for an award. They stand no chance of winning when up against the inevitable Katy/Rihanna/Cheryl brigade but it's something.
    Dissapointed at no Marina & The Diamonds though.

    A dire line-up for British Single though. Scouting For Girls? Oh dear.

  • naturalcynic

    13 January 2011 7:18PM

    the nominations don't look that different to any other year - best british band looks p samey. and take that seem to be nominated in every category.

  • rurib24

    13 January 2011 7:20PM

    who cares about the brits? same people nominated every year... and winners are decided by a school of teenagers? hilarious

  • yesnomaybe

    13 January 2011 7:24PM

    Nice one Brit Awards - last year's cash cows (sorry, music) to avoid.

    How about the remnants of the music industry spends its time and money on trying to break new artists? Having emerged in 2009, the xx and (unfortunately) Mumford and sons are well and truly broken in.

  • mjfoley

    13 January 2011 7:28PM

    If there were any justice in the world, Laura Marling and The xx would sweep their categories.

    Alas, there is not, and it is likely that the winner of song of the year will be F+tM. A cover version, which was already old news when she played it at last year's Brits.

    And Cheryl Cole? Really?

  • DafadDdu

    13 January 2011 7:43PM

    The Bubblegum awards hove into view once more. I'm baffled why any artist who considers themselves to be a serious musicians would accept a nomination for this corporate jamboree sponsored by Mr Kipling. ?

    This stuff does your head in...just say no kids!

  • AlternativeTentacles

    13 January 2011 7:52PM

    I papped my former hero Paul Weller last spring in Golders Green park, but almost didn't recognise him, for the massive improvement of a haircut. let's hope that hasn't changed.

  • Speranza86

    13 January 2011 8:15PM

    Tinie Tempah is awful.

    I hate when people complain about the "state" of modern music, I really do, but looking at that list makes me despair.

  • johnnw

    13 January 2011 8:29PM

    BIggest puzzle of all is why the Guardian thinks the BRIT nominees story should replace the Tuscon shootings aftermath on it's front page as the biggest news story we are "supposed" to be interested in?.

  • Mark42

    13 January 2011 8:37PM

    Best male Paul Weller; female Rumer; breakthough Tinnie Tempah; group Biffy Clyro; single none of them; album The xx.

    Sad state of affairs for UK music though looking at the nominations.

    International group and album to Arcade Fire hopefully.

  • ninjawarrior

    13 January 2011 8:41PM

    ha ha !
    "to introduce more "jeopardy" " ...scuse me while i kiss the sky ...whoops while i choke on my ginger cake - 'jeopardy' - are you havin a larf ??? The industry is in a mess and is re-arranging the deckchairs as it keels over.. what a joke. Anyone on the nominations a surprise ?? Nah . Thats how full of jeopardy it is. Snore.

  • jonflynn

    13 January 2011 9:09PM

    When the music was great there were no awards. Guess they have to give something to these, generally, talentleess people to pretend there is still an industry and music.Dire.

  • aphrsk

    13 January 2011 9:15PM

    Hope Plan B wins something. Guy really deserves some recognition. Hardcore rapper - turned gentle soul artist - turned harcore rapper. He crosses genres with such an ease. Also great lyrics.

  • sjr1983

    13 January 2011 9:48PM

    To be fair isn't the Best british single category based on the highest selling singles?

    Actually that is more depressing than if it were chosen by panel.

    I've only heard of about half of the people on the list and i'm in my 20s. Not sure whether this is a damning indictment of me or the Brits though.

  • adamlee1990

    13 January 2011 10:32PM

    Must we continue to reward all the karaoke acts that x factor churns out? Cherly Cole, Alexandra Burke, Olly Murs, Matt Cardle ... it would be nice for the Brits to have some sort of prestige and reward those who create music for music's sake (and not Simon Cowell's pocket's sake).

  • tipatina

    13 January 2011 10:34PM

    i believe they've got a little strip of red carpet and a cat flap for teeny tinie temper....don't make him angry you won't like it when he's angry...well you won't mind him actually...his tempers only tiny...lickle wickle ....thats his brother...nice man...2 foot six in his mothers shoes...big family...except they're all small...tinchy strapon another little rapper...2 foot four in his mothers tights...keep it real ..keep it grimie(don't wash behind ya earphones)

  • pete2ndbest

    13 January 2011 11:15PM

    13 January 2011 9:25PM
    xx was out in 2009

    Yeah, I was wondering about this too. Shouldn't this year's Brits be about the music of 2010?

    It's like in the Grammys now: they always give out awards to stuff that has been out for 2 years, like U2's "City of Blinding Lights" off their 2004 album winning a Grammy in 2006.

  • TND78

    13 January 2011 11:19PM


    Lets go to the Brit Awards next, we'll be graced with the worst acts known to man.

    Just trying to stay on-topic.

    No pressure whatsoever...x

  • keyserchris

    13 January 2011 11:27PM

    I think I'm the only one, but really, the xx album is stultifying to say the least. They sound like they don't actually understand music & have just noodled away some piss-poor demo tracks in their spare time to send to some idiot A & R exec, who in a coke-fuelled haze decided he'd found "the new sound"

    A perfect musical storm, if you will

    Still, the Brits haven't turned into the never-ending ceremonial monotony backslappery of the Grammy's. Yet. I think I actually won won in 2007 for "Record Listener of the Year based in North Oxfordshire"

  • Winstone1975

    13 January 2011 11:32PM

    What a load of rubbish. Also, can someone tell me when Take That became musically valid? They used to be a shite boy-band and are now being treated like they are the feckin' Beatles!

  • JonSwan4

    14 January 2011 12:01AM

    I quite like rap sometimes but is there any possible way that we can have some grown up names? Tinie Tempah FFS? Please tell me it's not his real name.

  • TheBigBadWolf

    14 January 2011 12:27AM

    Good to see them trying to shake up the format a bit, especially the often cringeworthy "lifetime achievement" catagory. But I feel The xx album has just been flogged to death now and become the indie album it's ok for people who don't usually buy music to like. Omnipresent at dinner parties and on those BBC documentaries where there need music to accompany shots of a night time cityscape.

  • Caffeinejunkie

    14 January 2011 1:09AM

    God be with the days when all Lisa Stansfield had to do was fart to get a best female nom! I see there's still some desperate choices to pad out the category. Cheryl fucking Cole? How left of centre is that? I'm sure at this rate, Peter Andre was up for the lifetime achievement. No wonder they scrapped it!

  • 3rdWorld

    14 January 2011 4:50AM

    look, i'm not knocking his hustle - good luck to the guy. but that single was ABSOLUTELY sh*te! how some1 can receive a brit award for such watered-dwn, A-B-C, bublegum lyrics is beyond me.

  • Loztralia

    14 January 2011 7:38AM

    Complaining about the Brit Awards is precisely nine times more boring than the Brit Awards themselves. By 2013 complaining about people complaining about the Brit Awards will be equally as boring as the Brit Awards but still only one fifteenth as boring as complaining about the Brit Awards (as that will have got even more boring by then).

    I like some bands, you like some bands, the music industry has product to sell, blah blah blah blah. Throw it a bone for christ's sake.

  • RazmarDingle

    14 January 2011 8:17AM

    This comment has been removed by a moderator. Replies may also be deleted.

Showing first 50 comments | Show all comments | Go to latest comment

Comments on this page are now closed.


Sorry, commenting is not available at this time. Please try again later.

Music from the Guardian shop

Latest reviews

  • Gesualdo: Madrigals Book 2 – review

    4 out of 5

    Gesualdo wasn't yet a mould-breaker, but his second madrigal collection is still very beautiful, writes Andrew Clements

  • LSO/Gergiev – review

    4 out of 5
  • Glasvegas – review

    3 out of 5
  • Il Barbiere di Siviglia – review

    3 out of 5
  • LSO/Previn – review

    5 out of 5

Latest news on

Guardian Bookshop

This week's bestsellers

  1. 1.  Man Who Recorded the World

    by John Szwed £16.00

  2. 2.  Bloody Mary

    by Mary Coughlan £7.19

  3. 3.  Paradoxical Undressing

    by Kristin Hersch £15.19

  4. 4.  Little Girl Blue

    by Randy Schmidt £15.96

  5. 5.  Finishing the Hat

    by Stephen Sondheim £21.00