Brit awards 2015: Rumer, Huey Morgan, Jessie Ware etc predict winners

Our panel of past nominees, including Kate Nash and Marvin Humes, discuss the good, the bad and the terminally boring at this year’s Brits

Our judging panel

Huey Morgan (nominated for international breakthrough act in 1997 with Fun Lovin’ Criminals)
Kate Nash (won British female solo artist in 2008)
Marvin Humes (won British breakthrough act and British single in 2010 with JLS)
Rumer (nominated for British breakthrough act and British female solo artist in 2011)
Jessie Ware (nominated this year for British female solo artist)

Ed Sheeran
‘The little train that could’ ... Ed Sheeran. Photograph: Frezza Lafata/Rex

British male solo artist

Rumer: “Ed Sheeran should get a prize just for being the little train that could. I’m not necessarily a fan of his music but I am a fan of his tenacity. It’s impressive that he can hold an arena with just a guitar. George Ezra sounds like an elderly man. I quite like him, though, I think he’s cute. Then again, there’s only a couple of good songs on that CD. Oh, Paolo sang to me once, in Italian! He took me outside, he was a bit pissed, and I sat there thinking ‘oh my god, I’m sat alone, in the moonlight, being sung to by Paolo!’”

Jessie: “Sam is one of my besties and I love him, but he should share the love and maybe let Ed have this one. Ed’s got a fucking brilliant reputation, and when I worked with him I realised that it’s true what everyone says: he’s classy and kind and generous.”

Marvin: “This is the toughest year for British male in a long time. The standouts are Ed, Sam and George – they’ve all had incredible 2014s. But for me, Ed Sheeran edges it. A three-date sell-out tour at Wembley … that’s not something you brush to the side, it’s incredible for a solo artist to do that.”

Huey: “A lot of these artists seem pre-conceived and messed with. Ezra and Paolo seem like they know what they’re doing, but they’ve still got stylists and people writing tunes for them. So I can’t take them that seriously. Ed Sheeran does what he does pretty good, he seems like a kid who came out of nowhere and is genuine about what he’s doing. But when you’re looking at some of these lists and thinking ‘Ed Sheeran is the realest motherfucker on there’ … that’s when you know you’ve got a problem.”

Paloma Faith Hootenanny
‘Showbiz sassiness’ ... Paloma Faith. Photograph: Andre Csillag/Rex Features

British female solo artist

Jessie: “Me obviously! Ha, no, although I think it would be jokes if I won because I would be the most inarticulate award accepter! Is that even a word? That’s how inarticulate I am! Anyway, the Brits is our biggest industry award, and you can’t really deny that Paloma Faith has had a big year. God I feel very industry saying “this person’s had a good year” like I’m some fucking A&R or something!”

Huey: “Paloma Faith is pretty awesome. She’s sassy, she’s knows how to sing, and she has that old showbiz sassiness that a lot of kids don’t really have these days. As for the rest … Lily Allen is the beginning of that kind of deadening of the senses in terms of pop music. I think we’ve dumbed ourselves down a little to accept mediocrity.”

Rumer: “I’m afraid Lily Allen will go home empty-handed again, which she will be unhappy about. If I was going to get my red pen out I would say her album was lazy and unfinished. It had some good ideas but she’s contradictory – she talked about not wanting to be objectified, then as soon as she lost 30 pounds she was like ‘look at my six-pack!’ I don’t buy it, she’s the queen of the blag! Ella Henderson has the best voice, let’s be real. It’s natural raw talent. FKA twigs is very cool and beguiling and artistic but then you look at the lyrics and they’re all like ‘I can fuck you better than her’ … I don’t know if it’s that interesting. Is she really hugely popular or more famous for having a famous boyfriend? I think Paloma should probably win – she might not have the voice of the others, but she’s a good showgirl, she’s worked hard and always looks beautiful and interesting. She deserves it for working hard.”

Marvin: “For me there’s not one stand-out like in previous years with your Adeles and Jessie Js. I honestly think it could go to any of the five, but I’d like Paloma Faith to win – she hasn’t been given the recognition for the year she’s had.”

Kate: “I would love to see FKA twigs win, I think that album was incredible. It was interesting, cool and weird but still listenable, it’s not crazy noise music. Is it too experimental for a Brit? It shouldn’t be!”

Clean Bandit. Working class heroes.
‘Punk rock’ ... Clean Bandit. Photograph: Ashley Bird/Rex

British group

Rumer: “Royal Blood make a lot of noise for two people, don’t they? But there’s no tunes! It’s just two guys making a lot of noise. My sister paid hundred and hundreds of pounds to see One Direction and said they didn’t even do a dance routine. So I think Clean Bandit should win it, because they’re musical, they’re obviously very intelligent and they just do what they hell they want. That makes them quite punk rock.”

Marvin: “I’m friends with the One Direction boys and those guys have worked incredibly hard. Without saying, they’re one of the biggest groups in the world. Alt-J have had an incredible year in the States and have represented the UK very well. And Clean Bandit have laid their sound down on British radio. But who will win? I think Royal Blood … because it’s not a public vote, and the people who vote in this category will vote for their unique rock sound.”

Jessie: “I think Coldplay have had it enough, they can pass over the fucking Brits! I loved Magic and they’re national treasures and whatever, but for best band … I think, personally, I’d give it to Alt-j. They make quite emotive music that is thoughtful, with great production.”

Huey: “Royal Blood kicks everybody in the nuts. That’s how it goes. But One Direction is probably gonna win. I always thought British group meant a band, but I don’t think One Direction is a band. Alt-j are a band, I play them on my 6 Music show. Even Coldplay are a fucking band! But One Direction are just five cute kids singing other people’s music to teenage girls. That’s not what you guys want to be exporting to the world!”

British breakthrough act

‘Opinionated’ ... Chvrches Photograph: pr

Marvin: “We won this one – it felt amazing, winning two Brits was hands down the best night of my career. Jay Z was in the room, Noel Gallagher was in the room … it was the stuff dreams were made of. This year it’s a strange category – Sam Smith won critics’ choice last year, which is arguably a newcomer award. But it’s a public vote, so I still think Sam will win it. A year ago most people still hadn’t heard of him – now he’s sold over a million albums across the pond and in the UK.”

Kate: “FKA twigs would be my number one but Chrvches are cool too. They’re a bit different and they’re quite opinionated, which I like. Things seem too safe at the moment, I was thinking that after watching the Grammys. Everyone’s scared of offending someone. Maybe there will be a rebellion against all of this in a year or two – maybe someone will watch this Brits and think ‘why is it all so safe and boring?’ and there will be a reaction to that.”

Rumer: “I think George Ezra should win it, because it’s not easy to break through as a new artist and his label did a really good job. The Budapest song isn’t a traditional radio hit, it’s not that upbeat, so Sony did a good job of letting him be himself and do what he wants to do.”

Jessie: “I think Sam. It’s his first album, first year, and it acknowledges that the Brits chose the right guy for the critics’ choice award last year.”

Huey: “That Sam Smith track went all over the world. It made a lot of men and women cry. But you know what, a lot of people watch the Kardashians on TV too. That doesn’t mean it’s good …”

Mark Ronson
‘A nice break from the stabbing’ … Uptown Funk’s maestro Mark Ronson. Photograph: Sony Music

British single

Kate: “I love Uptown Funk, it felt like a really nice thing to happen to pop music. It felt like real music – funk and soul. Sometimes I feel as if pop music has gone in a direction where it sounds like stabbing music! It’s, like, belting and you can imagine stabbing someone really fast to it! Radio can be really aggressive, so it was nice to hear something fun and soulful and musical. A nice break from the stabbing!”

Marvin: “This has got to be the toughest category … loads of No 1 records, it’s the best of the best. Personally I would go for Speaking Out Loud in terms of how much it means to people around the world. But you can’t overlook Mark Ronson’s Uptown Funk. No 1 for seven weeks … that’s not easily done in this day and age.”

Huey: “Mark Ronson’s Uptown Funk went all over the world, that guy needs a little bit more props. It’s a crazy song, reminiscent of old soul music and also the popular dance music of today. It brings the old and new together on equal footing and I think that’s really cool.”

Jessie: “I like Thinking Out Loud. God, I sound like I’m fucking kissing Sam and Ed’s arse here, but Thinking Out Loud is brilliant. It’s one of the best songs I’ve heard in years. A beautiful, beautiful song.”

Rumer: “Calvin Harris is on there? Oh God I hate that, horrible horrible song! I think it should be Rather Be, it’s a great radio song and I love Jess [Glynne, guest vocalist], she’s a natural star. I love her ginger hair and everything about her.”

Sam Smith
‘His album flows seamlessly’ ... Sam Smith. Photograph: Mike Blake/Reuters

British album

Rumer: “It has to be Sam Smith because I can’t forgive Ed Sheeran for Sing. It’s awful, horrible, I can’t stand it. Why? It’s obnoxious. What’s he talking about? Trying to shag some girl in a club? Just stop it, she doesn’t fancy you, it’s embarrassing! There’s something creepy about it.”

Marvin: “It will be Sheeran and Smith’s night on 25 Feb, it’s just about who will get more. But on the album front it has to go to Sam – it’s a debut record, and it flows seamlessly from start to finish. Plus it sold so much in the US and all the other territories as well.”

Kate: “It’s weird that they’re all male. I think that’s really dumb actually.”

Huey: “People don’t listen to albums no more man, they listen to singles! And now they’re including Spotify streaming towards the UK album charts? People are listening to songs without paying a damn dime and it counts towards an album sale? That just means the charts will be truly false … the charts will be as good as George Bush’s word! Album sales exist about as much as those weapons of mass destruction!”

British producer

‘Inspirational’ ... Goldfrapp. Photograph: Simone Joyner/Getty Images

Kate: “Goldfrapp would be cool. I like her production in general, and I’d like to see a woman win the producer award, because there are fewer female producers out there and it could be inspiring. I’ve found that, as a woman, people often presume you don’t work on your own material. It used to make me really angry and bitter, but it turned into making me more proactive in feminism and activism.”

Huey: “All these guys are good producers, but to me, being a good record producer is about getting out of the way and letting the band do it. And Flood’s probably more that guy.”

Rumer: “That U2 album that annoyed everyone does actually sound pretty good, so I will say Flood. When it accidentally comes on your iPod, once you get past the annoyance that it’s on there, you think ‘that actually sounds all right’. If that album’s bad, then it’s not Flood’s fault.”

Charli XCX
Overlooked? ... Charli XCX. Photograph: Graeme Robertson/PR

British video

Marvin: “This is an easy one for me – Mark Ronson’s Uptown Funk. My 20-month-old baby is obsessed with this song and video. She’s picked up the musical vibe – she plays it on the phone or the TV, she likes all of it! And I think from 20 months old to 80 years old, people across the UK love this record.”

Jessie: “Ed did a good Strictly dance in Thinking Out Loud. But how is Charli XCX only nominated in this category? That’s madness, she’s had such a great year.”

Kate: “I’d go for Charli XCX because I’d at least like to see her recognised in some way at the Brits.”

Rumer: “I really like the Rita Ora one. It’s just Rita in different outfits, but I think she’s really adorable and cute and talented. I enjoy watching her dance around.”

Huey: “Video is a waste of fucking money by the way. It’s true! You’re just putting the band in more debt by making a video. And nobody watches them any more anyway. I think one of the biggest things you can do to fuck up as a musician is to get nominated for best video – it just means you’ve made something that’s glossy and non-challenging, with no storyline. Our videos were never award-winning because there was a lot of thought from the band behind them.”

Happy … Pharrell Williams
More than just a front guy … Pharrell Williams. Photograph: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

International male

Huey: “You have heavyweights in this category like Pharrell who’s coming back again from being on top – his second time running shit. Jack White is maybe the most musical dude I’ve ever come across. And all the others, they know what they’re doing. This is a meaty category. I’d like to see Pharrell win but he made trillions of dollars with that Happy thing so let’s give it to Beck … with the scientology thing he has to pay 10% of his earnings to the church, so I will give it to him just because he’s a scientologist.”

Kate: “Pharrell, definitely … he’s creative rather than just a front guy. Happy really did bring a lot of joy to a lot of people, plus I really got into the Girl album.”

Marvin: “Hozier has come out of nowhere, and Take Me to Church is huge, especially in America. But it has to go to Pharrell. From Blurred Lines to Get Lucky to Happy, he’s had three of the biggest songs in the world in the last two years.”

Jessie: “I do love a bit of John Legend. I think he’s a gentleman. And I like the fact that he’s a career artist, he keeps coming back, and that’s inspiring to me, because I like to think I will be around for a while.”

Taylor Swift
‘Like a royal’ ... Taylor Swift. Photograph: Greg Allen/Invision/AP

International female solo

Marvin: “I’m a big fan of Sia, but I think Taylor Swift will win. She’s performing on the night, and when an American star is doing that it’s always a good indication of if they’re going to win!”

Kate: “Sia, definitely. Oh my god I love that album, and the song Chandelier so much – it hits really hard emotionally, and I love her honesty about the pain she’s gone through. A lot of people aren’t as genuine these days, but she’s so raw.”

Rumer: “I like all these women, but Sia embodies the idea of an artist who is completely independent and follows their whims. I love the fact that she can just put a paper bag over her head or have bananas in front of her face when doing interviews. She doesn’t want to be famous, she just wants to be creative.”

Jessie: “Taylor Swift is the perfect pop star … she’s like a royal or something. I’m jealous that Haim get to be friends with her to be honest. But I’m throwing a fucking spanner in the works here and going for St Vincent. She’s so sick.”

Huey: “There are women out there doing stuff that’s really groundbreaking, but they’re not listed in this category. This is just pop, probably all made by the same cats out in LA. I think Lana Del Rey should get it. Why? I don’t know, it’s more of an arbitrary answer. She’s probably better at being an international female than Taylor Swift or Beyoncé, because they’re not really giving the young women of the world a good role model. It’s all about being very plastic and fake and that’s how we objectify women nowadays. With male solo artists, it’s OK to be older and not so good-looking, but if you’re a woman you have to be pretty and not speak out or talk about women’s rights or anything. It might mean a lot to Taylor about her breaking up with all these guys, but it doesn’t mean anything to me. And you’re asking me!”

International group

Glastonbury bound: the Foo Fighters are the first major act to be announced for this year's festival.
‘Still making good noise’ ... the Foo Fighters Photograph: PR

Marvin: “If it was public vote I would say 5 Seconds Of Summer, who are great guys, but I think the voting panel is a bit less commercial, they go for the cooler acts, so I think Foo Fighters will win.”

Kate: “First Aid Kit should win. I think it’s really cool that two sisters who are just doing their own thing have become so big.”

Rumer: “I really like First Aid Kit, they sound very relaxing. And the Foo Fighters are still making a lot of good noise. But I think the War on Drugs will win, it’s just a hunch. I’ve got a fiver on it.”

Huey: “I’m friends with Dave Grohl and he’s a real motherfucker when it comes down to it. At least with Foo Fighters or Black Keys we will be talking about them next year. Also, international group? There’s no hip-hop. There’s no people of colour … why’s it all from the United States and Canada? Why not people from the subcontinent? When you mean international do you just mean the American guys who will come over? Because there’s a lot of other shit going on in the world.”

• The Huey Show is on BBC radio 6 Music every Saturday from 10am. LuvBug’s single Revive (Say Something) is out now. Kate Nash’s Girl Gang TV is available on YouTube. Rumer’s Into Colour and Jessie Ware’s Tough Love are out now.


Tim Jonze

The GuardianTramp

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