The first months of the year not only represent a fresh start for many people, but a fresh set of award winners when various award ceremonies string into life and unveil their nominations. As some of the biggest awards will be decided over the course of the next few weeks, I will take a look at a selection of categories for one award ceremony with a strong affiliation to music, NME, and give my pick of who I’d like to see win, and who I think will win.
For those of you unaware, NME is the acronym for New Musical Express magazine, although most people will know the magazine by its shorter three letter name. Founded in the 1950s, the first time the magazine distributed awards was in 1952, and it is still soldiering on, despite a major overhaul in 2015 when the magazine decided to go free.
Best British Band
Wolf Alice, The 1975, Bastille, Years & Years, Biffy Clyro, The Last Shadow Puppets
Who I’d like to see win – Bastille. They released latest album Wild World to critical acclaim, and rose to the top of the charts despite almost a three-year absence from commercial music (they dabbled and experimented with their sound through the release of a mixtape on YouTube). Bastille are not afraid to touch deep subjects in their songs, all whilst retaining a joyous feel in their music. As another argument for my case, they were exceptional live when I was lucky enough to see them for my 20th Birthday!
Who I think will win – The 1975. They are arguably bigger in the States than here, so for that alone they will probably snatch the award from a category brimming with big names and even bigger talent. With their name also hovering in the top five in many end of year music polls, I would eat my own hat if they were not given the award.
Best International Band
Tame Impala, Kings of Leon, Green Day, Metallica, A Tribe Called Quest, Tegan and Sara
Who I’d like to see win / think will win – Tame Impala. Whilst Green Day and Metallica had successful years, Tame Impala completely smashed their Glastonbury performance, putting on a brilliant warm up performance for Adele (and outdoing her in the process). Winning the Best International Band at last year’s Brit Awards may also work out in their favour.
Best New Artist
Blossoms, Zara Larsson, Sunflower Bean, Christine and the Queens, Dua Lipa, Anderson .Paak.
Who I’d like to see win – Blossoms. A do-it-yourself group, Blossoms were virtually unknown by the start of 2016 (I only discovered them accidently through a YouTube advert) – suddenly their profile dramatically rose through the release of great songs including a re-release of ‘Blown Rose’ and ‘Getaway’, and in the summer they achieved their first No1 album.
Who I think will win – Zara Larsson. Before NME’s redesign, I would not have predicted Zara to grab the award, but due to her chart success I have a feeling NME will outrage their older readers and lean towards giving the award to her. On another note, Blossoms are the headline act for this year’s NME Awards Tour, so that could be pre-empting award success.
Best British Male
Skepta, Zayn Malik, Kano, Jamie T, Michael Kiwanuka, Richard Ashcroft.
Who I’d like to see win / think will win – Skepta. A true master of the grime genre for over a decade, Skepta (after much hype following release of tracks ‘Shutdown’ and ‘That’s Not Me’ with brother JME) unveiled album Konnichiwa, picking up a Mercury Prize for this release. Never has a moment been more monumental for grime music since ‘Boy in Da Corna’ Dizzee Rascal accepted his Mercury all the way back in 2003.
Best British Female
Adele, Charli XCX, Dua Lupa, Kate Tempest, M.I.A., PJ Harvey
Who I’d like to see win – PJ Harvey. In all honesty, I do not follow British female artists very closely, but PJ Harvey did release another generally critically praised album in The Hope Six Demolition Project. The singer’s first release since her 2011 award winning record Let England Shake, recording commenced under the watchful eye of the public, since she invited fans to watch her record her album at Somerset House.
Who I think will win – Charli XCX. It is no secret that NME are massive fans of the scarlet; I believe she made the cover of the magazine in the last year; personally I find her touching the side of being overrated, but each to their own! Adele may also have a look in, as she completed a sold-out string of worldwide arena shows, and this is a magnificent feat for any performer.
Best Live Band
Bastille, Slaves, Bring Me The Horizon, The 1975, Christine and the Queens, Wolf Alice
Who I’d like to see win – Slaves. Every time I see Slaves live they blow my socks off more; Issac and Laurie hold such stage presence and I have not seen a band interact with their fans as extensively as they do! Concerts are brash, loud and hectic – there’s always a slightly scary mosh pit I make an exception for and join in, as the pulsating energy the band produce encourages me to get involved with the concert atmosphere I usually tend to stay away from. I would recommend seeing at least seeing the duo live once, even if you are not a major fan of the band.
Who I think will win – The 1975. NME have already done a complete turnaround on the band since a couple of years ago – going from absolutely hated to rated, it would not surprise me if the band scooped all the awards they have been nominated for! I have also seen these guys live before, and I was impressed with Matt as a stage-man and the visuals in particular, so I would not be disappointed if they were to win; this is a very strong category with all bands deserving the award.
If you wish to vote in the NME Awards, you have until roughly mid-February to do so! The voting link is featured on this post, so make your decisions wisely! I should add there are many more categories than the ones I have listed, including Villain of the Year, and controversial Worst Band!