Raye enjoys a fairytale evening as she dominates the 2024 Brit Awards

It was Raye’s night at the 2024 Brit Awards, an evening which saw the 26-year-old pop artist triumph in several categories.

The Tooting-born singer’s victory at the annual awards show, which was held at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday, was the latest chapter in an extraordinary story of resilience. In 2021, she famously fought back against her former record label, Polydor, whom she accused of refusing to let her release a single album.

Less than two years later, she released her debut, My 21st Century Blues, one of the most commercially and critically successful albums of 2023, as an independent artist.

Accepting her first award of the night, for Song of the Year, the 26-year-old danced onto the stage barefoot, accepting the gong from former postmistress Jo Hamilton and actor Monica Dolan, who starred as Hamilton in the ITV drama Mr Bates vs The Post Office.

“Ahhh! What! Thank you, god. Wow! I’m shaking,” the giddy singer – born Rachel Keen – said. “I don’t really know what to say right now but thank you. Thank you to my team. Wow, I’ve always dreamed of saying that: ‘Thank you to my team.’”

It was the first of many acceptance speeches from Raye, who looked more and more stunned each time a presenter read out her name.

The ceremony opened in dramatic fashion thanks to a performance from Dua Lipa, who is widely rumoured to be one of this year’s Glastonbury headliners.

She certainly proved she was up to the task, strutting up and down the stage flanked by dancers who dropped from the ceiling, Mission Impossible-style, while she sang her latest single “Training Season”.

Dua Lipa opened the Brit Awards in dramatic fashion (Getty)
Dua Lipa opened the Brit Awards in dramatic fashion (Getty)

The ceremony was hosted by Love Island presenter Maya Jama, former Capital Breakfast host Roman Kemp, and the BBC’s Clara Amfo. The trio took over from Mo Gilligan, who hosted for the first time in 2023 after a four-year stint by comedian Jack Whitehall.

Several famous faces turned up to present individual awards across the night, some more unexpected than others.

The first award of the evening was presented by Jo Hamilton, a former postmistress who was impacted by the Horizon scandal, which was brought to the small screen last year in ITV’s Mr Bates vs The Post Office.

It was an otherwise dry ceremony, however, with the only whisper of anything off-script coming from former Drag Race star and singer Bimini, who helped present Best International Song to Miley Cyrus for her break-up anthem “Flowers”.

“Right now in the UK it’s a really difficult time for a lot of people, and trans people and non-binary people more so, and I want you to know that everyone in this room loves you and you are valid, and trans rights are human rights,” Bimini said.

Left to right: Pete Wicks, Zara McDermott and Sam Thompson pose on the red carpet (AFP)
Left to right: Pete Wicks, Zara McDermott and Sam Thompson pose on the red carpet (AFP)

Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding also took the stage to perform their anthemic single “Miracle”, but despite the flurry of confetti and pounding dance beat, the pair couldn’t quite match Dua Lipa’s high-octane delivery.

Meanwhile, Canadian pop star Tate McRae did plenty of hair-tossing but not much singing of her smash-hit pop bop “Greedy”, and Best Group winners Jungle did their best Motown pastiche with “Back on 74”.

Global Icon award winner Kylie closed the ceremony in suitably iconic fashion with a show-stopping medley of her biggest hits, from “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” to “Spinning Around”.

Jo Hamilton, left, helping to present a Brit Award to Raye (ITV)
Jo Hamilton, left, helping to present a Brit Award to Raye (ITV)

Without a doubt, the most memorable moment of the evening was Raye’s performance towards the end of the night.

She opened at the piano with “Ice Cream Man”, a devastating ballad about her personal experience of sexual assault – after which the curtain lifted to reveal a full band and gospel choir who backed her sizzling rendition of “Prada” and then “Escapism” on which the musician channeled the late Amy Winehouse.

Other big wins at the Brits went to Dua Lipa for Best Pop Artist, and Casisdead for Best Rap/Grime/Hip Hop.

Raye was the indisuputable winner of the night (PA)
Raye was the indisuputable winner of the night (PA)

It was undisputably Raye’s evening, though, as she was crowned not only Artist of the Year but winner of Album of the Year, too.

Accompanied by her grandmother, Agatha Dawson-Amoah, Raye struggled to stop herself from crying on stage, visibly overcome with emotion.

“You just don’t understand what this means to me,” she told the crowd. “I want to thank Mike Sabath, executive producer, I love you, my best friend. I wanna thank my grandma for her prayers. My grandma is awake til 3am praying for me and my beautiful sisters, I love you so much. My middle name is Agatha and her name is Agatha Dawson!”

She continued: “I wanna thank all of the writers and the musicians. Is this happening right now?! I’m so sorry. I wanna thank all the writers who were part of this. I wanna thank … I’m ugly crying on national television.

“I’m so proud of this album, I’m in love with music, all I ever wanted to be was an artist and now I’m artist with an album of the year! Thank you so much to the Brits, this is too much, this is too much, really it is. Come on grandma, let’s go!”

You can find the full list of 2024 Brit Award winners here.