Brit Awards: Anne-Marie, Dua Lipa, Jorja Smith and George Ezra lead nominations

“Here’s to more women on these stages,” said Dua Lipa as she won best female at last year’s Brit Awards.

“Here’s to more women winning awards, and more women taking over the world.”

One year later, the music industry seems to have taken note, with female artists dominating the shortlist for 2019’s ceremony.

Dua is up for four awards, including best single for One Kiss; tying with pop star Anne-Marie as the year’s most-nominated artist.

And for only the second time in Brit Awards history, more women than men are up for the night’s biggest prize, album of the year.

Former winner Florence + The Machine is joined by newcomers Jorja Smith and Anne-Marie in that category; with singer-songwriter George Ezra and pop group The 1975 completing the shortlist.

Ezra is undoubtedly the strongest contender: His feel-good second album, Staying At Tamara’s, was the biggest-selling new release of 2018, and the music industry will be keen to underline his arrival as one of Britain’s biggest talents.

The 25-year-old is also up for best male and best single, for his summer anthem Shotgun.

“It’s a bit nerve-wracking,” said the star on ITV’s nominations show The Brits Are Coming. “It feels like the World Cup of music.”

Best male is one of the stranger categories this year, with a belated nomination for Sam Smith, who was snubbed at last year’s ceremony, and another for Peckham MC Giggs, who hasn’t released any new material since 2017.

With the other nominations going to dance artist Aphex Twin and R&B star Craig David, the category is Ezra’s to lose.

The shortlist for best female will be more hotly contested, with multiple nominees Jorja Smith, Anne-Marie, Jess Glynne and Florence + The Machine joined by Lily Allen, whose confessional, heartbreaking fourth album No Shame was one of 2018’s most surprising and welcome comebacks.

Arctic Monkeys may have been overlooked in the best album category, but they will be firm favourites for best group; where they square off against last year’s winners Gorillaz, pop architects Years & Years, Matty Healy’s The 1975 and girl group Little Mix – who receive the ninth nomination of their career.

“I don’t think people ever thought we’d last this long,” laughed singer Leigh-Anne Pinnock.

Disco legend Nile Rodgers gets his first ever Brit nomination at the age of 66, with Chic up for best international group alongside Beyonce and Jay-Z, who get a joint nomination for their collaborative album Everything Is Love.

Janelle Monae and Christine + The Queens, whose albums both tackled themes of gender identity and sexual politics, lead a particularly strong field for best international female.

Their competition comes from larger-than-life Bronx rapper Cardi B; breakout star Camila Cabello; and the slick pop of Ariana Grande.

The 2019 Brits Ceremony will take place on Wednesday, 20 February at London’s O2 Arena.

Comedian Jack Whitehall returns as the host, after a successful try-out at last year’s ceremony.

“I know what it is now, I know the game,” he said. “You need to be able to think on your feet, throw a few punches, and embrace the chaos.”

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