Harry Styles has cleaned up at the Brit Awards, winning all four prizes he was nominated for – and paying tribute to female stars as he collected the trophy for best artist.
Styles is only the second-ever recipient of the award – merged from the best male and female act prizes in 2022 – and he was handed it this year amid controversy as no women were shortlisted.
Acknowledging this in his acceptance speech, the former One Direction star said he was “aware of his privilege”, and paid tribute to female stars including Charli XCX, Mabel, Rina Sawayama and Florence & The Machine, who were among those eligible for the gong.
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He also thanked his mum “for signing me up for The X Factor without telling me, so I literally wouldn’t be here without you”, as well as his former bandmates Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne and Zayn Malik, “because I wouldn’t be here without you either”.
As well as best artist – beating Stormzy, George Ezra, Fred Again and Central Cee – Styles, 29, picked up the awards for best song for As It Was, best album for Harry’s House, and best pop/RnB act – which was voted for by the public.
Wet Leg were the other big winners at the ceremony, taking home the prizes for best new artist and group of the year. Before the ceremony, they joked about rivalry with Styles to Sky News – but are actually due to open for the star on his upcoming tour dates.
It was also a big night for Beyonce, who sent video messages to accept the prizes for best international artist and best international song, for Break My Soul.
“Thank you so much for this incredible recognition,” the star said in her first speech, before thanking her British fans and adding: “The renaissance begins!”
Some of the biggest names from the world of music attended the ceremony at London’s O2 Arena, which took place on a Saturday night for the first time.
Comedian Mo Gilligan hosted the show for the second year in a row, opening with a skit in which he arrived via a helicopter organised by Lizzo.
Styles gave the first performance of the night, while stars including Stormzy, Lizzo, Cat Burns, Lewis Capaldi and Sam Smith also performed.
In the other genre categories, all voted for by the public, rapper Aitch took home the award for best hip hop/grime/rap act, while Becky Hill won the dance prize for the second year in a row, and The 1975 were named best rock/alternative act.
Hill, whose vocals have featured on numerous top 10 dance-pop singles, was tearful as she told the Brits audience how she felt she was getting over her “imposter syndrome”.
The Brits 2023 turns into Harry’s House
This was Harry’s house. More than a decade on from The X Factor and his rise to boyband fame, the 29-year-old solo artist is now at the top of his game.
With four trips up to the podium, he became a semi-permanent fixture on the Brits stage.
While this year’s all-male best artist shortlist caused controversy – from Styles, its winner, there was an acknowledgment of his “privilege” and the women noticeably absent from the shortlist.
While the weight of male artists nominated for Brits this year may have dominated the conversation ahead of the ceremony, Styles’ four wins are now the talking point – victory for an artist intent on blurring gender lines and rallying against toxic masculinity.
David Guetta, who closed the show with a medley featuring Hill and stars including Eurovision performer Sam Ryder, was named producer of the year, while girl band FLO were announced as the winners of the 2023 rising star award ahead of the ceremony.
But it was undeniably Styles’ night – and came after he won the award for best album at the Grammys in LA less than a week earlier.
The last time an act secured four Brits in one year was 2016, when Adele swept away the competition following the release of her album 25.