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Music Industry

BRIT Awards 2021: Everything You Need To Know

Photograph of the blog post author, Music Gateway Team

Music Gateway Team


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The awards show was back once again with a vengeance. After a year without live music performances, the BRIT Awards 2021 was looking hopeful. The show was an explosive re-invigoration of the music industry and live performance. 

brit awards 2021 logo with statuette

Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive of the British Phonographic Industry and Brit Awards, went on record saying that, ‘This year’s BRIT Awards with Mastercard is one of the most significant in the show’s history’. He goes on to say, ‘Not only will we be celebrating the brilliant music and artists that have helped us through the pandemic, but we hope it will provide a path for the return of live music that fans and artists have so sorely missed.’ It’s safe to say we were with him on this one and it was one of the most important nights in British music of the year!

In this article, we’re going to take you through how to watch the BRIT Awards – for next year now. And who presented it, as well as the performances we saw and more.

We will also take a look at the 2021 BRIT Award Winners. Be sure to stay until the end so you don’t miss anything!

What Are The BRIT Awards?

brit awards statuettes BRIT Awards 2021

The British Phonographic Industry’s annual popular music awards (aka The BRITs) are essentially a pop music award ceremony. They are usually held every year in February. Recognised for competitive award categories, the ceremony includes exclusive performances from huge artists and award presentations from some of the most loved faces in the industry.

The BRIT Awards are the UK’s alternative to the Grammys. Celebrating the best of British music artists while still showing some love for international stars. The nominees are determined by the BRIT Awards voting academy with over one thousand members. The academy comprises of record labels, publishers, managers, agents, media, and previous winners and nominees. The artists securing the largest number of BRIT awards 2021 vote will win the golden goose, or rather a statuette! This leads us nicely to our next point. 

What Was New For The BRIT Awards 2021?

brit awards 2021 statuette BRIT Awards 2021

The 2021 BRIT Awards was fairly similar to previous years but with an interesting twist! 2021 Brit Awards winners were presented with not one but two statuettes, designed by Es Devlin and Yinka Ilori.

They designed a trophy that comes in two parts. This means that winners were encouraged to share with someone important to them as an ‘act of kindness’.

Ilori said the inspiration for the idea came from the experiences of goodwill during the COVID-19 lockdowns of the past year.

Outstanding Contribution Award

The category for Outstanding Contribution is a Lifetime Achievement award. This particular award has been around since the BRIT Awards began in 1977. The very first winners of the award were The Beatles back in 1977.

With this in mind, it’s clear to say this award recognises the best of the best. Taylor Swift Pink is the last artist to win the award back in 2021.

The award was subsequently awarded annually from 1982 to 2010. The award has since been presented intermittently as the BRIT’s Icon Award, with the original name being re-instated at the 2019 Brit Awards ceremony.

Where & When Are The BRIT Awards Taking Place?

o2 arena at night BRIT Awards 2021

The ceremony itself took place in the O2 Arena on the 11th May. In 2021, it took place later than the usual February date due to the pandemic.

Organisers are promising that this will be the ‘first live music event at the O2 in ages’ when it takes place.

Who Presented The BRIT Awards 2021?

Jack Whitehall holding brit award BRIT Awards 2021

Comedian Jack Whitehall has been hosting the BRIT Awards since 2018 and continued to do so in 2021.

Whitehall equalled the record set by James Corden by hosting the ceremony in four consecutive years.

If you’ve ever seen the man in action, you will know Whitehall brought the energy and a barrel of laughs on this night of musical excellence. 

How To Watch The BRIT Awards

itv logo BRIT Awards 2021

It would be a dream to get tickets for one of the biggest nights in British music. However, they’re particularly difficult to come by.

Therefore, if you tuned in remotely, the show was broadcasted live on ITV and ITV Hub.

Hopefully you tuned in all night for some additional glamorous red-carpet content.

Are You A Key Worker?

The aforementioned head of the operation, Geoff Taylor, has said that, ‘As a thank you to the key workers who have kept our country going through the difficult times, we are inviting them to be our audience for the first live performances at The O2 in over a year.’

If you’re a key worker and fancied a trip to the O2, we hope you definitely checked out the BRIT Awards website. Maybe you entered a ballot and got yourselves a pair of sought-after tickets!

Who Performed At The BRIT Awards 2021?

dua lipa performing on stage BRIT Awards 2021

Like every year, the show had some of the top artists performing. So far, Dua Lipa, this year’s Rising Star winner Griff, Headie One and Arlo Parks performed at the BRIT Awards 2021. Here are a few words from some of artists before the show who performed.

Dua Lipa: ‘This has been a long tough year for everyone and I’m delighted the night will honour the key worker heroes who have cared for us so well during that time and continue to do so.’

Headie One: ‘It’s my first live performance in 18 months, and I couldn’t think of a better place to do it.’

Arlo Parks: ‘To be able to share my work and vision with such a massive audience is a dream. I’m excited to create something that feels immersive and inclusive.’

Notable Past Performances 

Live performance is the essence of the music industry and the 2021 BRIT Awards didn’t disappoint.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane and reminisce on some notable performances over the BRIT’s history.

Kanye West

kanye west

In 2015, Kanye took to the stage with a sea of talented artists (and two flamethrowers) to debut his song ‘All Day’.

While most of the performance was censored for national television, the energy on stage for this performance was undeniable. Countless British artists joined Yeezy on stage such as Skepta, Krept and Konan, Stormzy, and others in a chorus of power and attitude. 

West has won three BRITs for International Male Solo Artist in previous years. His last performance at the award ceremony was way back in 2006. This was the time he did a mashup of his hits Diamonds From Sierra Leone, Gold Digger and Touch The Sky.



2006’s BRIT Awards featured performances from Coldplay, Kanye West, Kelly Clarkson, Paul Weller and Gorillaz. An incredible lineup of course, but there’s simply nobody that could upstage the late great Prince.

The Purple One performed alongside Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman of the Revolution. They used the opportunity to play two new songs – Te Amo Corazón and Fury.

Towards the end, they segued into Purple Rain and Let’s Go Crazy which cemented this in history as one of the BRIT’s greatest performances.



Stormzy closed the 2018 show with Blinded By Your Grace Pt 2 and Big For Your Boots. This was after taking home the award for best British male and best British album for Gang Signs and Prayer.

Despite a beautiful rendition of Blinded By Your Grace Pt 2, it was his freestyle rap that caused a stir. Amidst the downpour, he took aim at Theresa May and the Tory government over the Grenfell Tower fire. 

He said, ‘Yo, Theresa May where’s that money for Grenfell? What you thought we just forgot about Grenfell? The artist goes on to say, ‘You criminals, and you got the cheek to call us savages. You should do some jail time you should pay some damages, we should burn your house down and see if you can manage this.’ The sheer venom in his voice expressed his anger and passion for political issues, making this a standout performance for the BRITs.

Florence And The Machine & Dizzee Rascal

dizzee rascal and florence and the machine

2010 saw one of the best BRIT collaborations of all time. Florence Welch and Dizzee Rascal mixed together their tracks ‘You Got The Love’ and ‘Dirtee Cash’ to create ‘You Got The Dirtee Love’.

This mashup blew everyone’s mind in a pairing that shouldn’t work…but it did. The performance was so huge the pair went on to release the song as an official single and even performed it at Glastonbury.

Kaiser Chiefs

Kaiser Chiefs

Having one of the most popular songs of the year, it was only right that the Kaiser Chiefs would perform their hit song ‘Ruby’ back in 2008. The band’s explosive energy tore the roof off the room in an extremely memorable performance. 

In 2006, the band won 3 BRIT Awards for British Rock Act, British Live Act, British Group thanks to their album Themselves so they’re no stranger to the Brit’s stage.

BRIT Awards 2021 Winners

The BRIT Awards 2021 winners are as follows:

  • British female: Dua Lipa
  • British male: J Hus
  • British group: Little Mix
  • Breakthrough artist: Arlo Parks
  • Brit Award For Song Of The Year: Harry Styles – Watermelon Sugar
  • British album: Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia
  • International female: Billie Eilish
  • International male: The Weeknd
  • International group: Haim
  • Global icon: Taylor Swift
  • Rising star: Griff

Our Final Thoughts – BRIT Awards 2021

BRIT Awards 2021

We hope you learnt everything you needed about the 2021 BRIT Awards as well as some of the award show’s history! I’m sure you loved seeing all the BRIT Awards 2021 Nominees faces, mask free, for the first time in what feels like an age.

Jack Whitehall’s razor sharp comedy, with the additional plethora of highly talented artists performing and presenting were just some of the highlights of the night.

Who wee you rooting for? Did your favourite artist win? Just a reminder that – without sounding too much like a school teacher –  no matter who won, the fact we can come together and share some of the best music in the world makes us all winners!


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