Mumford & Sons, Emeli Sandé and Alt-J lead the nominations for the 2013 BRIT Awards, which were announced today at a launch event at the Savoy Hotel in central London.
Mumford & Sons are nominated for British Group, British Live Act and MasterCard British Album of the Year for their internationally successful Babel. Sandé, who performed at both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympics, is also up for British Album for Our Version of Events, the top-selling album of the year in the United Kingdom. She also earned nods for British Female Solo Artist and British Single for "Next to Me." She won the Critics' Choice gong last year as a relative unknown.
"You go from nobody knowing who you are and then getting to do something like the Olympics," Sandé told Rolling Stone at the nominations event. "The success of the album has been incredible." Her U.S. tour begins in Atlanta on January 12th.
"It feels quite exciting to start from that grassroots level again," she added. "It's all about the fans and about that connection. I hope we can go from state to state and try and build it. People have heard of my name but that's about it. You still have to win everybody over, but that's the pressure which I work best under."
Alt-J, who previously won the 2012 Mercury Prize for their debut album An Awesome Wave, are nominated for British Album, British Group and British Breakthrough Act.
"We want as many people to hear the album as possible," drummer Thom Green told Rolling Stone. "Hopefully this is going to open it up to a different audience and that's amazing."
Muse, Coldplay, Rita Ora and Olly Murs each earned two nominations. Over in the international categories, there were nods for Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey, Rihanna, Cat Power and Alicia Keys for International Female Solo Artist. Alabama Shakes, the Black Keys, Fun., the Killers and the Script were recognized for International Group. Bruce Springsteen, Frank Ocean, Gotye, Jack White and Michael Bublé were nominated for International Male Solo Artist.
Other significant nominations included a shout to the Rolling Stones in British Live Act. The band was last nominated for a BRIT in 1996 and is the only act on this year's list to have been nominated at the inaugural 1977 ceremony. The late Amy Winehouse earned a posthumous nomination for British Female Solo Artist thanks to her album Lioness: Hidden Treasures.
No Outstanding Contribution trophy will be awarded this year, although the charity War Child will receive the Special Recognition Award. There is a new BRITs Global Success Award for the act with the highest international sales during 2012, the winner of which will be announced at the February 20th ceremony. Adele – who won two awards last year and had her acceptance speech for British Album of the Year cut short in a controversial moment – is expected to win the new award. She is also nominated for British Single for her James Bond theme, "Skyfall."
Rising singer-songwriter Tom Odell performed his song "Another Love" live at the Savoy, hosted by BBC Radio One DJ Nick Grimshaw. Sandé also presented Odell with this year's Critics' Choice award. The award has proven a reliable predictor of future chart success, having previously been awarded to Adele, Ellie Goulding, Jessie J and Florence and the Machine. However, Odell told Rolling Stone that he believes the award is no guarantee of longevity.
"I haven't really thought about that that much," said the singer, whose debut album is due later this year and who begins U.S. dates in New York on January 24th. "All the artists that have won it are really good artists and for that reason, I'm really proud to have won it. It's nice that people have liked the music I've released so far and I hope that people continue to like my music."
Another acclaimed British singer-songwriter, Jessie Ware, played live at the nominations event, performing "Running" from her debut album, Devotion. She was nominated for British Breakthrough Act and British Female Solo Artist, though she told Rolling Stone that she isn't expecting to triumph in the latter category against the likes of Winehouse, Sandé, Bat for Lashes and Paloma Faith.
"It feels pretty generous that they've put me up for Best Female," said the singer, who begins a U.S. tour in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on January 14th. "I'm only one year old in music, so I'm really touched by that. It's quite overwhelming, really."
Others attendees at the nominations launch included Rita Ora and Danny O'Donoghue of the Script. Winners will be announced at the BRIT Awards ceremony at the O2 Arena in London on February 20th. Performers include Sandé, Mumford & Sons, Muse, One Direction, Robbie Williams and Ben Howard, with more names to be announced.