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Brit Awards 2024: The rise of Raye, Queen Kylie, and a red carpet giraffe: What everyone’s talking about after the Brits | Ents & Arts News

When you break a record jointly held by three of the biggest British music acts of the last 30 years, you know you’re doing something right.

Before tonight’s Brit Awards, only three artist had ever won four prizes in one ceremony – Harry Styles last year, Adele in 2016, and Blur in 1995.

Raye, who just a few years ago was contemplating a very different future after leaving her record label, went not one but two better last night – picking up a history-making six trophies in total, including the big awards for best artist, best song and best album.

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Raye on ‘miracle’ night

Speaking to Sky News on the red carpet beforehand, she said she had been left “heartbroken” a few years ago and could only describe her multiple Brits nominations as “a miracle” – and this was before she had won a single prize.

Her Brits record caps an incredible year for the star, which started with her first number one single, Escapism featuring 070 Shake; this was followed by the release of her debut album, My 21st Century Blues, a Glastonbury performance, a Mercury Prize nomination, and Ivor Novello and MOBO awards.

Among the awards won by the star at this year’s Brits was the prize for best new artist, but in fact, despite only being 26, she has been around for quite a few years already.

Raye, whose real name is Rachel Keen, signed to Polydor Records as a teenager and later featured as a vocalist on top five hits by David Guetta and Jax Jones. She also wrote lyrics for the likes of Beyonce and Rihanna.

Despite her talent, her own solo work never seemed to get off the ground. From the outside, she appeared to be flying high with her collaborations, but in 2021 she released a series of tweets claiming she had been stifled and prevented from releasing her solo album.

The journey from ‘heartbreak’ to making history

Raye (right) on stage with her grandmother after winning the Mastercard Album of the Year award during the Brit Awards 2024 at the O2 Arena, London. Picture date: Saturday March 2, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story SHOWBIZ Brits. Photo credit should read: James Manning/PA Wire
Raye was joined by her grandmother, Agatha, on the Brits stage as she collected her final award. Pic: PA

“Imagine this pain. I have been signed to a major label since 2014… and I have had albums on albums of music sat in folders collecting dust, songs I am now giving away to A list artists because I am still awaiting confirmation that I am good enough to release an album,” she posted.

“I’m done being a polite pop star. I want to make my album now, please that is all I want.”

By the end of 2022 she had struck out on her own and her dance track Escapism featuring US rapper 070 Shake had gone viral on TikTok.

At the beginning of 2023, the song topped the UK charts. “[I feel] like anything is possible and I was right to back myself,” she told Sky News at the time. “Never give up on your dreams. For someone who [felt] so, like, mediocre and… such a disappointment, actually, for so long, to just receive all the affirmation in the world that I was right to back my music is just…

“For someone who puts words together for a living, I don’t necessarily really have the best words to describe how crazy this is.”

Escapism went on to win the award for best contemporary song at the Ivor Novello Awards. Now, it is song of the year at the Brits – one of six gongs for Raye in 2024, and it feels like this is just the beginning.

Read more on the Brits:
The best of the Brits red carpet
Kylie the global icon to Raye’s record – the Brits as it happened
Raye on the fight for her album: ‘It’s been a real wild journey’

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Kylie Minogue reflects on her career

‘The eternal Queen of Pop’

Back in 1987, everybody was doing a brand new dance now – who would have thought back then that Kylie would still be leading the way almost 40 years later?

The 55-year-old Australian megastar has sold more than 80 million records worldwide and in 2020 became the first female artist to score a number one album in five consecutive decades in the UK.

Could there have been a more worthy global icon?

Speaking to Sky News on the red carpet before the ceremony, she reflected on her lifetime of “chipping away” in the industry, “and just learning the craft… that’s an achievement I’m really proud of – highs and lows and everything in between”.

She also recalled her “ultimate” Brits moment – “being ejected from a CD player” for her Blue Monday mash-up of Can’t Get You Out Of My Head in 2002, and added: “The Brits are always fun and I did not imagine all those years ago that I would be having a night like tonight.”

On stage, she was announced as “quite simply, the eternal Queen of Pop” – and she showed exactly why that is with a performance including a medley of songs and several costume changes.

Across her career, Minogue has had seven UK number one singles, including Spinning Around and Can’t Get You Out Of My Head. Last year, she announced her first Las Vegas residency and released her 16th studio album, Tension – including the viral dance hit Padam Padam.

Girl power

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Dua Lipa: ‘We need more girl energy’

Female stars dominated this year’s Brits, and not just because of Raye (although her six wins definitely helped).

Of the 17 prizes dished out this year, 12 were won by female acts – among them, Dua Lipa, who picked up the prize for best pop act, and also opened the show with a high energy, acrobatics-infused performance of her latest single, Training Season.

“It’s wonderful to see so many incredible female artists, who I love and I admire and I listen to their music,” Lipa told Sky News on the red carpet before the show. “To be alongside them feels really special. We need more girl energy!”

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Raye makes Brits history with six gongs

Lipa’s Brits win comes after the huge success of her recent single Dance The Night, from the Barbie soundtrack – and also a cameo in the film.

Charli XCX, who was up for best pop act alongside Lipa, also spoke about this being a strong year for for the female nominees when she chatted to Sky News on the red carpet – giving a shout-out to Raye, saying she was “so happy” to see an independent female artist taking the reins and showing others how to do it.

Post Office scandal victim presents award

Jo Hamilton and Monica Dolan present the award for Song of the Year during the Brit Awards 2024. Pic: James Manning/PA
Pic: James Manning/PA

Hosted by Maya Jama, Clara Amfo and Roman Kemp, the majority of the ceremony was a light-hearted affair, with skits including a kisscam and The Traitors mother and son stars Diane and Ross revealing their predictions.

But there was a serious note ahead of the first award of the night, which was presented by Jo Hamilton, a former subpostmistress who was a victim of the Horizon IT scandal, and actress Monica Dolan, who portrayed her in ITV’s hit series Mr Bates vs The Post Office.

Mrs Hamilton, 66, told the crowd at the O2 Arena: “I want to thank everyone in the country for the love and the support they have given the postmasters. Please can you keep on supporting us because, despite what the government says, they’re not paying the postmasters.”

Rob Beckett turns up as a giraffe

Rob Beckett attending the Brit Awards 2024 at the O2 Arena, London. Picture date: Saturday March 2, 2024. Pic: Ian West/PA
It’s called fashion, look it up. Pic: Ian West/PA

That’s it, that’s the story. Comedian Rob Beckett turned up on the red carpet dressed in an inflatable giraffe suit.

We can confirm that Green Day in particular were very taken with him, posing for photographs on the red carpet right in front of the Sky News spot.

The reasons behind Beckett’s sartorial choice are unconfirmed, but we suspect it may have something to do with his recently announced upcoming tour, titled Giraffe. Yes, that’s probably it.

Publicity stunt or not, we really, really hope he made all the best-dressed lists.

Willow the cat among awards finalists after saving the life of diabetic owner | UK News

A cat who saved its diabetic owner’s life is among the finalists at the National Cat Awards.

Amanda Jameson, 51, from Liverpool, lost consciousness after going to bed one night with dangerously low blood sugar.

Willow the cat bit the leg of Ms Jameson’s partner Ray Sherwood, 57, who had fallen asleep in front of the television and paced around to wake him up.

Willow then led Mr Sherwood upstairs, where he found Amanda unresponsive and called for an ambulance.

Mr Sherwood said: “I had fallen asleep in front of the TV and then around 4am, I was woken by Willow biting at my legs and jumping at me.

“It was very out of character for her and made me get up to see what all the fuss was about. She was running between me and the stairs, looking back at me. I followed her up the stairs and she kept looking back at me to make sure I was coming.

“When I went into the bedroom, Willow leapt onto the bed, and I could see Amanda slumped over.

“She was unresponsive and I called an ambulance straight away.”

Willow, owned by Amanda Jameson from Prescot, is announced as a finalist in the 'Moggy Marvels' category of this year's Cats Protection National Cat Awards. Issue date: Friday April 21, 2023.
Willow and her owner Amanda Jameson

‘A total hero’

Mr Sherwood added: “She was very unwell and rushed to hospital where, fortunately, they were able to treat her.

“I was absolutely stunned – Willow had saved her life.

“She’s an incredible cat, a total hero.”

Ms Jameson said she had been told she was “very close” to falling into a diabetic coma, and then the outlook “could have been very bad”.

“Willow is amazing, I just think she’s incredible,” she added.

‘I think she’s checking I’m breathing’

“Since I came home from hospital, she has become very protective of me. I’ve noticed how she puts her nose to my mouth a lot, I think she’s checking I’m breathing,” she added.

There are four categories in the National Cat Awards – cat colleagues, family fur-ever, moggy marvels and social star.

Willow is in the moggy marvels category, alongside Dali, a cat which was missing for a month before being found marooned on a small group of rocks in a river, and Beau, which supports its owner David, who was diagnosed with incurable blood cancer.

‘Cats can have a huge impact on wellbeing’

The public will have until 30 June to vote and the winners will be announced on 17 July, at a ceremony hosted by writer and TV presenter Dawn O’Porter.

Cats Protection’s awards organiser, Ashley Fryer, said: “Cats can have a huge impact on wellbeing and mental health and it’s clear that each of our finalists brings something really special to their owners.

“We’ve whittled down nearly 3,000 entries to just 12 remarkable felines and we can’t wait to see who the public chooses as their winners.”

Murderer who confronted Fishmongers’ Hall terror attacker honoured in Queen Elizabeth’s final bravery awards | UK News

A convicted murderer who tackled a terrorist during the 2019 London Bridge attack is among those being awarded for their bravery.

Steven Gallant confronted terrorist Usman Khan as he carried out his attack at a prison education conference at Fishmongers’ Hall.

The attack occurred while Mr Gallant was on licence from prison after being one of two men convicted of killing Barrie Jackson in Hull in 2005.

Khan murdered Cambridge graduates Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, and injured three other people before running on to London Bridge.

Embargoed to 0001 Tuesday January 7 Handout photo issued by Steve Gallant of himself (left) with Jack Merritt (right, who died in the London Bridge attack) pictured at the end of a Learning Together training course in April 2018. The convicted murderer has revealed how he "did not hesitate" to help fight off a terrorist on London Bridge. PA Photo. Issue date: Tuesday January 7, 2020. Serving prisoner Steve Gallant told how he took on Usman Khan as he embarked on a killing spree armed with two kn
Steve Gallant (L) pictured with Jack Merritt (R) who died in the 2019 attack

Another former prisoner, John Crilly, hosed Khan with a fire extinguisher before communications manager, Darryn Frost, jabbed him with a narwhal tusk, sending him off balance.

This came after a fourth man, Lukasz Koczocik, used a ceremonial long pike taken from the walls of Grade II listed Fishmongers’ Hall to disarm the terrorist.

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Bystanders chase Usman Khan with narwhal tusk

Mr Gallant, Mr Crilly, Mr Frost and Mr Koczocik all feature on this year’s Civilian Gallantry list, the last to be approved by the late Queen Elizabeth II.

Prison officer Adam Roberts, who escorted Mr Gallant to the event on day release, also features on the list, having given first aid to Ms Jones after she was stabbed.

Saskia Jones was killed by terrorist Usman Khan
Saskia Jones was killed by terrorist Usman Khan

Read more:
Harrowing accounts of Usman Khan’s deadly rampage
Man who fought off terrorist says authorities have ‘blood on their hands’

Mr Roberts said that it was “really important” for everybody that contributed to be recognised in some way.

He said: “I feel sort of mixed, it’s very difficult to celebrate when it’s for something that had an outcome that was so bad.

“It finished with Saskia literally dying in front of me as we tried to keep her alive, so it’s really difficult to celebrate at all when my thoughts are with her.”

Also on the list is John Rees who was killed as he attempted to stop a mentally ill woman carrying out a knife attack in a Co-op shop in May 2020.

The 88-year-old was stabbed and bludgeoned with two wine bottles and a fire extinguisher during the attack in South Wales.

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Oliver Dowden, said they were all “extremely worthy winners”.

He said: “We all hope we’d react with courage in the face of danger. These people have lived through that test, and responded in the most admirable way.

“Their selfless actions have saved lives, and I want to express profound thanks for their willingness to put themselves in danger to protect others.”

Harry Styles joins Brit Awards performer line-up | Ents & Arts News

Harry Styles has joined the line-up of performers for the 2023 Brit Awards, organisers have confirmed.

The former One Direction star will share the bill with Sam Smith, Kim Petras and rock duo Wet Leg for this year’s ceremony at The O2.

It follows a stint of success for the 28-year-old, who has been nominated for four awards, including album of the year for Harry’s House, song of the year for As It Was, artist of the year, and best pop/R&B act.

Harry’s House debuted at number one on the UK album charts, US Billboard 200 and more than 12 countries around the world after its release in May 2022.

Since then, it has remained in the UK Top Ten Album Chart.

Last year also saw Styles nominated for the prestigious Mercury Prize, and an expansion of his acting career after landing roles in the films My Policeman and Don’t Worry Darling.

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All top 10 best-selling singles of 2022 were recorded by British artists – a first in pop charts history

However, he is not the only one to receive four Brit Award nominations this year, with Wet Leg also being put up for album of the year, group of the year, best new artist and best alternative rock act.

Read more:
Everything you need to know about the Brit Awards
Harry Styles addresses rumours he spat on Chris Pine
Should R&B get more attention?

The Isle of Wight duo, comprised of Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers, have won plaudits for the sardonic lyrics and angular riffs that feature on their self-titled album.

Wet Leg are among the 2022 Mercury Prize nominees. Pic: Hollie Fernando
Wet Leg. Pic: Hollie Fernando

Who else has been nominated for an award?

Building on the decision to go gender-neutral last year, the Brits have nominated 20 female artists – the most in a decade.

Elsewhere, Stormzy, The 1975, Cat Burns and dance music DJ Fred Again all received three nominations.

Artists including George Ezra, Arctic Monkeys, Nova Twins, Aitch and Dave claimed two.

FILE PHOTO: British artist Stormzy performs on the main stage at Reading Festival, in Reading, Britain, August 27, 2021. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/File Photo
Stormzy has received three Brit nominations this year

Debut nominations went to K-pop girl group Blackpink, Eurovision star Sam Ryder, Kentucky rapper Jack Harlow and British grime and hip-hop artist Kojey Radical.

In the international artist of the year category, three of America’s biggest female acts – Beyonce, Taylor Swift and Lizzo – will battle it out for the prize.

Singer Lizzo performs on NBC's "Today" show in New York City, U.S., July 15, 2022. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Lizzo is up for the international artist of the year award

This year four genre categories will be decided by the public via a vote on TikTok – alternative rock act, hip hop/rap/grime act, dance act and pop/R&B act.

R&B girl group Flo were previously announced as the winners of the Rising Star award.

The Brit Awards 2023 will take place on Saturday 11 February and will be broadcast live on ITV1 and ITVX from London’s The O2 arena.

Sky News named News Provider of the Year in the British Journalism Awards 2022 | UK News

Sky News has been named News Provider of the Year in the British Journalism Awards 2022.

The judges praised the team for its “brave” reporting from Ukraine as well as leading the way on other stories like the cost of living crisis, Partygate and climate.

They added that Sky News “has a brave record when it comes to chronicling the wars of the 21st century and Ukraine has been no exception”.

“It has had correspondents in Ukraine for every day of the conflict and secured a memorable first exclusive interview with President Zelenskyy when it seemed that Kyiv was soon to fall,” they added.

“It has also led the way on coverage of the cost of living crisis, Partygate and climate.”