With four nods, British newcomer Lily Allen leads the way for the 2007 Brit Awards, nominations for which reflect Britain's bumper crop of new talent.
The pop singer is up for British breakthrough act and British female solo, while her U.K. platinum-certified (300,000 units) debut album "Alright, Still" (Regal) is up for British album. "Smile," the summery tune lifted from "Alright, Still," is up for British single, a category that for the first time will be voted on by the public.
Newcomers James Morrison and Corinne Bailey Rae each scored a trio of nominations. Polydor-signed Morrison is in the running for British male, British breakthrough and British single awards, while Good Groove/EMI's Bailey Rae garnered nominations for female, breakthrough and single categories.
Fiction-signed Scottish/Irish alternative rockers Snow Patrol is up in the album and single categories, and will contend for the coveted group award with Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian, Muse and Razorlight.
The Killers, Scissor Sisters and Gnarls Barkley figure strongly in the international categories.
Industry executives say the nominations, unveiled at a launch party today (Jan. 16) at the Hammersmith Palais in London, indicate that Britain's musical future has arrived.
"With so many new faces listed, and quite a few established names absent, this has to be one of the freshest Brits lineups since the awards began over 25 years ago," comments HMV U.K. head of music Gary Rolf.
Veteran singer Robbie Williams will have only one chance to extend his lead in the all-time winners list, with a nod for British live act. Williams' former boy band Take That capped its 2006 comeback with a nomination in the single category for the U.K. chart-topper "Patience" (Polydor).
Since its inauguration in 1977, the Brit Awards have matured into a ceremony
widely considered the jewel in the British record industry's crown.
"Alongside the Grammys, it's the show that excites the artists, the industry and the consumer -- starting with the nomination process and leading to speculation about the results and what's going to happen on the night," Universal Music Operations president David Joseph tells Billboard.biz. "This all results in genuine uplift in sales and profile that can last for many weeks."
The Brit Awards are set for Feb. 14 at Earls Court 1 in London.