By Shannon Collins

The BRIT Awards offer us in the States a look into the British music industry and culture.

Celebrities gathered at the O2 Arena in London for the prestigious BRIT Awards ceremony Feb. 20. The BRITs is the United Kingdom’s biggest music industry award event — sort of their version of the Grammys. It’s based on the people’s vote and gives British artists a chance to be appreciated on a more global scale. While most in the United States may not get the opportunity to watch the BRITs live, many do end up seeing performances from their favorite artists the next day. Several musicians debut performances at the BRIT awards, like Justin Timberlake did with his new single “Mirrors.”

Aside from a few awards dedicated to international artists, it’s really British-centered. Big winners of the night included Emeli Sande who won Album of the Year, Mumford and Sons, Ben Howard, and Adele, among others. International winners — many from across the pond here in the States — included Frank Ocean, The Black Keys, and Lana Del Rey.

The BRITs are always interesting to watch because it gives the music industry an idea of what the UK wants from international acts and, also, what the rest of the world might want from British acts. Because British artists — and British culture — are “in” right now, winners of BRIT awards gain a lot more leverage when the world sees the UK claim them as one of their best. Previous winners, such as One Direction, Ellie Goulding, and Adele, have gone on to international success.

Aside from the great live performances put on at the BRITs, it’s important to remember it and any other foreign award show are great ways to discover the music that makes other places tick. In the midst of award show season, it can seem like just a way for artists to perform and push new music onto us. However, we should remember these shows also serve a purpose. They allow us to look back on a year and understand the people and culture of that time that held significance — both the good and the bad.

  • Went home last week and totally heard Emeli Sande on the radio. That warmed my heart so much. And she got Kendrick Lamar to feature on a U.S. version of “Next to Me” wooo!