Brit Awards to increase nominees for artist of the year as new trophy unveiled

The 2024 Brit Awards will see the number of nominees for British and international artist of the year increase from five to 10.

This year’s award ceremony sparked criticism over a lack of female representation in the gender-neutral British artist category, with the prize going to Harry Styles.

The international artist of the year category saw Beyonce triumph over Taylor Swift, Lizzo, Burna Boy and Kendrick Lamar.

The design of the 2024 Brit Award has also been revealed, with British visual artist and painter Rachel Jones making a colourful and “chaotic” design for the trophy.

The 2024 BRIT trophy designed by British visual artist and painter Rachel Jones
The 2024 Brit trophy is designed by Rachel Jones (John Marshall/JMEnternational/PA)

Explaining the change to the artists of the year categories, along with the introduction of a new R&B award, the event said it followed a consultation.

Views from equality, diversity and inclusion groups and the industry were heard and an internal discussion took place, the Brit Awards said, before changes were made.

Jo Twist, chief executive of the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the body which organise the awards, said: “The Brits is committed to making the show as inclusive and representative as possible, the changes to this year’s categories are part of an ongoing process of evolution, and we will continue to review, listen and learn.”

In 2024, R&B will join the other genre prizes – alternative/rock, dance, pop and hip hop/grime/rap – at the ceremony.

The Brit Awards 2023 – Arrivals – London
YolanDa Brown hailed the changes (Ian West/PA)

YolanDa Brown, musician and BPI chairwoman, said: “British music is special, the secret ingredient is its rich diversity of genre bending sounds created by the most eclectic artists of all backgrounds.

“It was this that prompted the Brit Awards to introduce genre-based awards in 2022, and we are delighted to continue this with the addition of a new standalone R&B category to join the four other genres that we will celebrate in 2024. Our best wishes to all the artists who are eligible.”

Eligible potential nominees for the R&B prize need to have released music in the new category in a 24-month period, instead of the usual year-long timeframe, the Brit Awards said.

When the awards went gender-neutral for the first time in 2022, 18 female artists or all-women groups were nominated overall – the most in a decade – and this increased to 20 in 2023.

Despite this, the artist of the year category this year was made up entirely of men – Central Cee, Fred again.., George Ezra, Styles and Stormzy.

Artist Jones, who has had exhibits at the Hayward Gallery in London, the Chisenhale Gallery, London, and the Long Museum in Shanghai, called designing the new trophy “a major legacy”.

She said it also allows people to see her outside of “just” being a painter, as she said she has done work on opera Hey, Maudie with composer Joseph Howard and poet Victoria Adukwei Bulley.

Jones added: “I’m finally starting to enter different spaces and develop new perspectives on my work. It’s really incredible that this is part of that journey.”

Explaining her design process for the trophy, she said “I worked from the base up, I covered up to the chest in a variety of colours and then I started to focus on how to develop certain patterns, textures and colour combinations.

The Brit Awards 2023 – Show – London
Lizzo performed during the Brit Awards earlier this year (Ian West/PA)

“I feel like it’s my voice in the form of a trophy, it’s colourful and chaotic, and this was really important because all the other trophies were so distinctive, and you know immediately who made them.

“I’m really happy that what we’ve ended up with is a reflection of my visual language.”

Previous designers of the award have included fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood, artist Damien Hirst and sculpturer Anish Kapoor.

The Brit Awards will be held at the O2 Arena on Saturday March 2.

The shortlisted three artists for the rising star award will be announced early next week.