Sam Smith on The Tonight Show last week
Sam Smith has voiced their disappointment after the Brit Awards announced the nominees for this year’s ceremony, with only male artists being recognised in the Best Artist category.
Earlier this month, it was revealed that Central Cee, Fred Again.., George Ezra, Harry Styles and Stormzy were all in the running for the gender-neutral category, for which no female artists had been nominated.
The decision was met with a widespread backlash from music fans, including three-time Brit winner Sam.
Speaking to the Sunday Times, the Unholy singer lamented that it was a “shame” to see no women in the running for the Best Artist category, which was introduced in 2022 as a way for the awards show to be “as inclusive as possible”.
“Things are moving forward, but it’s obvious it’s not there yet,” they said. “From seeing that list, there is still a long way to go.”
Sam Smith on stage at the 2019 Brit Awards, where they performed with Calvin Harris
Sam added: “It’s incredibly frustrating. It feels like it should be easy to do.
“They just have to celebrate everyone because this is not just about artists getting awards. Awards are for kids watching on TV, thinking, ‘I can make music like this’.
“When I was young, if I’d seen more queer people at these awards it would have lit my heart. Awards are there to inspire.”
Although no women have received nods in the Best Artist category, indie duo Wet Leg are among this year’s leading nominees, with Cat Burns also nominated for three awards.
Sam has been nominated for two awards – Best British Single and Best Pop/R&B Act – and will perform their recent hit Unholy during the show next month.
Mo Gilligan will host the Brits for the second time in 2023
A Brits spokesperson previously told HuffPost UK: “While it’s disappointing there are no nominations in the Artist of the Year category, we also have to recognise that 2022 saw fewer high profile women artists in cycle with major releases as was the case in 2021.
“These trends based around the release schedule are a feature of the music industry, but if, over time, a pattern emerges, then this puts the onus on the industry to deal with this important issue – and the BPI is already carrying out a major study to identify barriers that may inhibit more women becoming successful in music, so that there can be solutions that result in meaningful change.”
Meanwhile, the Brits faced further criticism when it emerged that no R&B artists had been recognised in the specific Best Pop/R&B Category.
The Brit Awards 2023 will air live on ITV from London’s O2 Arena on Saturday 11 February.